It’s been a while since I posted any recipes. “Why?” you ask? First, because I still have my Jurassic-era computer set up on a filing cabinet and I have to sit on a bar stool, unless I borrow my daughter’s desk chair. It’s not a very comfortable set-up. Second, because I have turned into my mother and grandmother and probably every other cooking ancestor leading back to Noah’s son Japheth’s wife. (Armenians are said to be descended directly from Japheth.)
What I mean is that when I cook, I usually don’t follow the recipes. I used to. Oh, believe me, I used to. Word for word, teaspoon for teaspoon. Even though I’ve given some away, I still have a bunch of cookbooks
printed or written scraps of paper with recipes thrown into a folder a recipe scrapbook…or two.
Then there’s my “orange box”, a little plastic file box that has index cards where I’ve written down recipes over the years, most of which I don’t use or even remember that I have.
Then there’s my Southern Man’s Mom’s wooden recipe box, full of handwritten recipes and recipe clippings–you can see it tucked in there next to the Armenian Cookbook and The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (which is not new, by the way). Finally, let’s not forget my computer. There’s a recipe folder on it, plus in my Yahoo notepad, and also my various posts on Facebook. Oh, yeah, and all those pins on Pinterest–must not forget Pinterest!
All those resources and what do I do? I often quip that I “throw a bunch of stuff in a pot and hope it comes out good”. 😀 It usually does, too, probably about 99.7% of the time. My average has gotten a lot better since my early days of cooking, back when I thought that “more is better” when it came to using spices. Nope. Then there was the time I tried to duplicate a soup that my Grandma was famous for. It tasted just like it! Unfortunately, the texture was revolting–curdled milk–blechh–and I ended up feeding it to the Birmingham sewer via the toilet. I have since learned to make the soup, or a variation of it, using an Armenian cookbook. It’s a yogurt (not milk–oops!) soup called “Tutmaj” and is made with yogurt (madzoon), egg, salt, and noodles, topped with onions and mint sauteed in butter. My Grandma’s soup is called “Lu-lu soup” and omits the topping as she has always hated anything with onions or garlic. I have absolutely no idea where the name Lu-lu came from, by the way.
I was talking about this to my Southern Man yesterday afternoon, as we were watching the cooking show, The Pioneer Woman. She was throwing a bunch of stuff in pots, too, but she actually has the recipes that she uses so you can duplicate her scrumptious dishes. I commented that that’s what my problem is when people want to know how to make something I’ve cooked or baked: I don’t know the quantities of the ingredients. It’s always a pinch of this, a dollop of that, about a handful or so of the other, and season it to your taste. Or it’s when it is a certain color, or a certain thickness, or a certain…you get the point. I guess I need to slow down, actually start measuring things, and writing them down so I can share them with you and my children. Then, once you are comfortable with a recipe, you will start doing what all creative people do, whether it’s cooking, writing, knitting, or whatever: make it your own, with your own little twists and preferences added to it. It’s a process. Just remember to write down your adjustments so that when someone asks you for the recipe, you can actually give them a copy, rather than hem and haw about how you just throw a bunch of stuff in a pot. 😉