Where Do Recipes Come From?
Often I am asked where I come up with the recipes I write about and do I make them all up from scratch. Wherever I look I seem to be able to find interesting recipes. Cookbooks, magazines (cooking and non-cooking), supermarket isles, television shows, the Internet and of course newspapers. Just go to any large supermarket or Cosco type store on the weekend and the isles are filled with salespeople hawking their wares handing out samples and recipes.
And if you look closely at the labels on the products you are purchasing, they often have a recipe for some gourmet dish you can prepare. Have you ever noticed how many gourmet meals you can prepare from a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes? Don’t worry, there will be no corn flake recipes here. Not yet anyway.
Do I make up my recipes from scratch?
Not usually, but who does? Go to any Barnes and Noble bookstore and check out the cooking section. At an average sized store, there must be 3 or 4 rows filled with hundreds, more likely thousands of cookbooks.
If each cookbook has fifty to a hundred recipes, I can’t imagine there are too many recipes that haven’t been already written. But it’s the stories and presentation that make each one unique. There may be hundreds of recipes for Italian cooking, yet one may jump out at you and make you say, “I have to try this”.
I have two approaches to preparing a meal. Sometimes I read the recipe, make a shopping list of every ingredient, go to the store to buy each ingredient and follow the recipe to the letter of the law. Good approach and a great way to learn how to cook.
The other approach and one I am more likely to follow is decide what I would like to prepare, research it by looking at several recipes, see what I have on hand and go for it. I can’t say this method always works out as well as following a recipe exactly, but more often than not I come up with something “new” and delicious. It also saves me a lot of trips to the grocery store.