I don’t really like cookbooks.. and (for the most part) I don’t really dig recipes. I think that may be part of the reason that I dislike baking so much. It’s a fairly finite science that I have no desire to master and using recipes just ain’t my cup of tea.
I own 5 cookbooks. I have used said cookbooks (in the 3 plus years I’ve owned them).. maybe 10 times? 100% of those times can be attributed to my Julia Child cookbook. I have referenced techniques from time to time from my Jacques Pepin technique driven cookbook, but.. following a recipe to the letter? I only do that when making cheese, curing something, or baking something.. The first two I follow recipes strictly to the letter so don’t kill people. The latter I follow because things turn out, how you say, not very edible, when I wing it?
The rest of the time, it’s just me.. considering flavor and texture combinations.. what’s going to look attractive to the eye without being too stupidly showy. I am more about how food tastes than it looks. I will never be someone who smears sauce artfully on a plate. If I take a picture, I wipe the edges. That’s all you’re getting. It’s real food, made in my real kitchen. I don’t do squeezy bottles of sauce or inedible garnish. It’s a waste of time and a waste of resources.
Courtesy of http://seriouseats.com
With that said, I’m about to get reallllllly controversial for a moment.
Don’t misunderstand me.. I don’t think that Julia Child is wrong, really.. just .. maybe sometimes, she’s not entirely right?
I mean, I understand the purpose of an aspic but the thought of actually eating a meat jelly quite literally makes me gag. Recipes that she just lightly cooks chicken skin, so it’s firm but has no color.. I find that to be unattractive.
I get what you’re going for there, I guess.. but I just can’t get behind meat that’s pan fried, but looks like it hasn’t been cooked on the outside. It’s not pretty, and the texture of the skin is slippery and fatty (gag). Also, browning of chicken skin adds amazing flavor to it, and to the sauce you’re making with it. Flavor is a good thing.
Image Courtesy of http://vegsource.com
So, no matter what recipe I use or the source, I am gonna most likely ‘fix’ it in some way. Don’t think of it as irreverent bastardization though. Just think of it as ‘fine tuning your recipe to my palate’.