I am married to a magician in the kitchen. While he may look at a recipe, the norm is that he opens up the spice cabinet or spins the rack (yes we have both.) Then it’s throw this that and whatever together and it works. I think we’ve had something end up too spicy maybe once. He’s also managed to throw together a better version of TGIFridays cajun chicken and shrimp pasta.
I can make things work by winging it in the kitchen but getting the same thing twice is a different story. I can get it close but not exact. If something turns out really well, of course I want to repeat it. Ditto w the opposite if something goes wonky. Sometimes one aspect can ruin a dish and of course finding that out after the fact sucks. Adding too many ingredients that are “(something) salt” is usually a dead giveaway. Others are more stealthy.
So I am making a point to start writing things down when I am making something from scratch, sans recipe. Once I can get it to turn out well then I’ll move it to a recipe card. (I picked up a recipe box not too long ago and am determined to use it.) I make it a habit to make notes in cookbooks so it makes sense to do it that way. I’d rather a final version on the card and not the beginning recipe with misc scratch offs and rewrites.
One of the big reasons this all came to mind was a recent dinner at The BFFs. She has her grandmothers and mom’s recipes. One of the things her mom did when she got sick was make sure all the kids had the family recipes. Even though we lost her to thyroid cancer a few years ago, I can still remember her standing in the kitchen with her binders and folders. It’s a good memory.
My mother has family recipes going back to great-great (possibly great-great-great) and while I might not have known these family members personally, their food is part of my life. We have my great-grandfather’s stuffing every Thanksgiving and cookies made from a recipe of an aunt (or cousin, I can’t remember exactly now) several generations back every Christmas.
My latest goal is to figure out the chicken soup that I made probably last year that turned out amazing. I recently got it close but not exactly the same. I have the notes written down and still need to tinker with it. This last time it was too much broth and the bay leaf amount is slightly off. I know it will take a few more tries but eventually I’ll get it.
Maybe if it is liked that much it’ll become a family recipe someday.
Are you a write-it-down or a wing-it person?
Music for this post: Blue Crush soundtrack