Irreverently Bastardizing Recipes Since Circa 2002

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

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

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’.

About The Confluent Kitchen

I am food obsessed. I love trying new recipes, putzing in the kitchen, making my own cheese and other random kitchen tom-foolery. Follow my exploits.. the good, the bad, and the burnt.
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22 Responses to Irreverently Bastardizing Recipes Since Circa 2002

  1. siannaj says:

    I am soo the same way with savory foods. I read a recipe to get the gist of it then I wing it. 9 times out of 10 its a success. I have my cookbooks more for technique than anything else. Now baking I will adapt after I have mastered a recipe because well it just tastes better with my own twist in my opinion.

    • Absolutely. I vow from this moment out to only purchase technique based cook books. I think once I learn a technique, I can apply it to other things. Thanks for stopping by.

      Feel free to share any good things you come across or things I can adapt through here or Facebook! I am always looking for inspiration and it sounds like we’re on the same page as far as savory stuff goes.

      PS – That icon can’t be Jared, can it???

      • siannaj says:

        Yes that’s Jared! He’s almost 15 months already! They get so big so fast! I was mentioning to my mother how different you and I are as cooks. I adapt down home recipes for my diabetic husband and you make things that look super fancy but easy to make. Hehehehe that and making picture recipes for Little Eddie so he can try some cooking as well.

      • It’s amazing how time flies. Jared is getting so BIG! He’a a cutie. 🙂 No matter what style food we like, we’re still adapting recipes to suit our needs, so essentially it’s the same thing.

        As for Eddie, I don’t guess he’s very little now. 🙂

      • siannaj says:

        Eddie is going to be 18 this summer!!! I feel old…

      • You feel old???? I remember when you were born. :p

  2. I totally feel you, and btw amazing heading!

  3. Ben says:

    To whom it may concern,
    I have been a faithful reader of this publication for nearly three weeks. In that time I have admired frank and honest discussion of foodstuffs and their proper uses. I have come to expect a certain level of discourse on these pages and trusted that here, decorum prevails. The recent slur of Julia Child is a violation of that trust. Why you would publicize such libelous nonsense is beyond me. A full apology, a public retraction, and a humiliating sacking are required. I would hate to have to cancel my subscription and contact your sponsors over this matter.

    Mrs. Reverend Thomas Underhill St. John (Retired)

    • Dear Mrs. Reverend Thomas Underhill St. John,

      We appreciate your loyal weeks as a follower of this fine publication. We feel that if you have come to expect decorum, you might have missed the 7 times within the last 10 posts that we dropped the f-bomb or some similar epithet. (Perhaps also the point of the publication, altogether)

      A worldly, seasoned kitchen veteran such as yourself certainly adds a level of ‘spice’ to our esteemed publication that we would hate to lose, however.. aspic and slippery chicken skin are gross. That is all.

      Hugs and Kisses,
      The Confluent Kitchen

  4. Oooh, I am with you. I cannot use a recipe to save my life! Cannot…will not, whatever. And the baking… totally with you on that one. Cooking is like a love affair where you add spice and flavor and tang and judge what’s right in the moment by the smell and the texture, and baking is just so much less mythical and romantic and more science and measurements. While my cookbooks have been used more than yours, they’re covered in my markings so I can remember how I actually make it. Since again, I cannot use a recipe to save my life!

    • Invariably, I fiddle with things and change them until I come up with something that works.. then I just kind of guesstimate the amounts and fiddle the next time til it’s how I want it. I’m mercurial when it comes to food prep, so even if I perfect something, typically I will want it different the next time. 🙂

  5. Madhu says:

    I am the same too 🙂 Only I don’t write down what I change and it turns out different each time! Not good when you want to recreate something you liked very much 😦

    • Typically I am not a note-taker, so I just keep tweaking things.. and the really bad thing is that I don’t really measure as I put things in. I am more likely to keep adding stuff in small increments until I think it’s right. You’re right though, it can be the pits sometimes if you find something SUPER awesome and then you can’t recreate it.

  6. love this!!! i feel the exact same way! food is beautiful in itself when it’s prepared mindfully and with lots o’ love. 🙂

  7. myspork says:

    Hilarity. I hear you there! That’s both awesome and totally funny. Meat jelly… *shudder*

    I’d love to hear your take on some of my recipes. 🙂

    Michelle Ferris
    Low Amine Recipes

    • I really admire the way that you’ve adapted your lifestyle/diet and overcome some obvious roadblocks. I honestly can’t knock any of your recipes for a couple of reasons.. 1) it would be asshole judgey of me to knock what you’ve developed to keep yourself moving 2) from what I’m imagining, reading your ingredient lists, I bet most of it would be pretty good.

      PS: High five on the no meat jelly!

      • myspork says:

        Aw, thank you! Aye, it’s been a serious challenge working around my low amine diet… It pretty much took all the yummy foods that I normally ate away from me. I thought I was going to have to eat boiled chicken with cabbage and rice for the rest of my life. I’m very grateful that I was given the opportunity to expand on my cooking skills and share them with others so that they might avoid the boiled, boring foods fate!

        If you have any good ideas for substitutions, though, I would love to hear them. Sounds like you do a fair amount of tweaking in your recipes, too!

        Michelle Ferris
        Low Amine Recipes

      • Food is meant to be enjoyed. I will have to go over your low amine grocery list to see what kinds of cool stuff I could make from that. I love a challenge! 😀

      • myspork says:

        Me too. I’m looking forward to seeing what ideas you have!

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