Weeks ago, during a bleary-eyed Internet surfing session before bed, I read something about recipes being too wordy. I wish I had bookmarked the site because it was just spot on.
The article’s point was people lose intrinsic kitchen skills by having each step meticulously spelled out and itemized down to which teaspoon to use.
It resonated with me, a woman who learned to cook primarily by watching her dad in the kitchen. (The Food Network is also to be credited for my kitchen adventures, particularly Ming Tsai, who I had a major chef crush on in the late 1990s.)
Cooking is different learning by text versus learning through imitation, at least to me. While both methods produce successes and failures, watching my father knead dough or cut in butter for biscuits or separate eggs made me unafraid when cooking on my own. Though, to be honest, I still lack any fashionable skill when it comes to separating eggs. I do it in the messiest way possible: whole egg into bowl and remove yolk by hand.
Long story short–I’m really not grasping the “use fewer words” ideal from the article–I’m going to switch up how I present recipes. Most of what I cook is heavy on assembling and light on, say, technical cooking.
Real life example, in the beet salad recipe below, when I say “combine” I would hope it is understood that I mean to do so in a bowl because using a plate would by super hard.
Some recipes will retain specific ingredient amounts and final yields, but the salads and other “throw-at-you dinners”–as my mom calls them–will be more free form. Make the amount you think you’re likely to eat. This route is economical and saves you from making a huge batch of something you may end up not liking.
If anyone thinks they know which article I’m talking about, can you tell me in the comments? I’d really like to find it.
And now onto the food. The recipe–can I even call it that? It’s too easy–is from my grandma. Switch out the beets for cucumber (peeled and 3x squeezed to remove excess water) and you have grandma’s cucumber salad. We’re simple folks.
Beet salad, makes…salad
beets, boiled ’til tender, cooled and peeled
onions, peeled and thinly sliced
salad oil (canola or other veggie, not olive)
salt and pepper
1. Chop beets and combine with onions.
2. Lightly coat veggies in oil and vinegar, or as my grandmother would say, “Until they glisten.” WTF, Gramma?! Start using a two-part oil to one-part vinegar ratio and then adjust to suit your taste. Finish with salt and pepper and enjoy.
You could add some fresh dill, too. Beets and dill go well together. Screw it, dill goes with most things because it’s flippin’ delicious. #TeamDill (On a side note, I recently killed my dill plant. I should stick to tending to cacti, succulents and plastic plants.)
Keeping with the dill-centric rant, here are some older posts with dill, aka the wonder weed: