A Different Kind of Recipe
Have you ever tried looking up a recipe online and wondered why some websites call for certain ingredients and others don’t? Why one asks for oil and another says butter? Why some say milk and others say water? My recipes are designed to help you read through these variations confidently.
The way I learned how to cook helps simplify my grocery shopping and expenses. Instead of shopping for what a recipe calls for, I shop for what I actually need to make it. Back when I was learning to cook, we didn’t have Google. You either looked up a recipe in a cookbook, your own (or mom’s or grandma’s) personal recipe book, or cooked by memory. Whenever I would want to cook (or bake) something new, I would call someone in my family. Since no one had cell phones back then, I would call their home phones until someone picked up. No matter whether I reached my grandpa, one of my uncles, or my mom, they would all give me the recipe in the same way.
First, I would learn what was NECESSARY. These are the ingredients that you ABSOLUTELY can’t due without. For example, in order to make a pie crust you NEED flour, butter, and water.
Next, I would learn what was OPTIONAL. These are other items that some people might add to a recipe, but aren’t truly necessary for the final product. They usually enhance the final product, making it taste better or bake easier or something like that. In our example of the pie crust, you might add some salt.
Finally, and sometimes most important, what can we SUBSTITUTE? If I didn’t have one ingredient, but didn’t want to drive to the store to buy it, I would figure out what else I had that could be substituted. With our pie crust, we could use shortening instead of butter (although that could impact the flavor). I can’t count how many dollars I’ve saved over the years by substituting ingredients so that I didn’t have to go to the store. What’s most important with substitutions is understanding how it will impact the final product. I once substituted shortening for butter in an icing recipe and it was NOT a good idea!
When I want to make something new, I will usually read at least three different recipes on how to make it. I pay attention to:
- What ingredients all recipes call for
- What substitutions are made between each recipe (oil instead of butter, corn starch instead of flour, etc.)
- What does one recipe call for that the others don’t include OR substitute.
This helps me determine what my NEEDS, OPTIONS, & SUBSTITUTIONS are. Then I can make my final product based on what I have (without having to run to the store), and what I want (what I think will taste good).
Every recipe on my website is designed in this way. I hope that you get something out of each one you read!
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