The pros and cons of cooking with a recipe
COOKING IS ACTUALLY PRETTY SIMPLE. OF COURSE THERE’S THE FANCY SCHMANCY STUFF THAT HESTON AND THE LIKES DOES. BUT YOUR DINNER ON A TUESDAY NIGHT IS NOT A HESTON MEAL. IT SHOULD BE SIMPLE, FUN, DELISH AND RELAXING TO MAKE. AND IF IT’S NOT, IT CAN BE! EVEN IF YOU’RE BUSY.
- A chicken
- A pasta.
- And a bake.
- And a one pot recipe.
- And the perfect salad.
- Why is my rice gluggy.
- Why didn’t my skin crisp up.
WE’VE BEEN TRAINED NOT TO THINK FOR OURSELVES IN THE KITCHEN ANYMORE. AND THIS BREEDS THE NEED FOR MORE MORE MORE RECIPES. LET’S CLARIFY WHAT IT ACTUALLY MEANS TO COOK WITHOUT A RECIPE.
Watch the video: The pros and cons of cooking with recipes
Read the transcript: The pros and cons of cooking with recipes
Some believe a good recipe should give the reader visual cues to look for. EG: sear the chicken until its a charred brown colour.
No matter how many cues you give. There are so many nuances to cooking that will lead you astray, even with the best instructions. Things like: oven, timing, season, ingredient freshness
If you’re not careful a recipe can make you complacent and unconscious.
Which is exactly where we are today in our modern day world. We’ve forgotten our skills and we *think* recipes are the answer but they’re making us worse cooks. It’ll zap your confidence and have you second guessing something you’ve always done and known.
The porridge debacle
In winter I make porridge. I like to batch cook but when I forget, it’s a morning ritual. And using my Thermomix guided recipe function makes this easy.
Except when you don’t have internet. I have porridge recipes on my site. I know how to make porridge. But this winter I became complacent, using the Thermomix guided recipe function so often that I forgot my own skills. And when my internet wasn’t working and I couldn’t access that function, I suffered. And then I laughed, learnt my lesson and now I get to share the story with everyone who graces my page as another reason why recipes can do more harm than good.
This is one of my biggest issues with the new Thermomix guided recipe feature. Don’t get me wrong. I love it my Thermie and i use the guided recipe function. And I encourage so many people to purchase one. But when i’m not paying attention to those visual cues and how i love to cook – i can still cook a bad meal – because the Thermie recipes aren’t made for MY Tastebuds.
And my recipes aren’t made for your tastebuds.
Your tastebuds are different.
Your kitchen is different.
Where you get your produce and ingredients is different.
All of these variables make different results.
Let’s start with the pros and cons of cooking WITH a recipe
PRO: You’re set with what you need and don’t need anything else
Con: You may not have the ingredients. Or what happens when you forget an ingredient and can’t pivot and adapt.
PRO: You don’t need to think as much
This is the massive benefit of recipes. If you gather a bunch of trusted recipes, you’re good.
Con: If the recipe isn’t correct or you’re using different equipment (even ovens can cause drastically different results) – you may not end up with a similar product. And if you can’t pivot, adapt and troubleshoot on the spot, you’re going to end up with a bland, undercooked or burnt meal. Which will reinforce that you’re not the best cook and make you hate the process even more.
PRO: You can learn new processes and new flavour combo’s
I’m not a trained chef. I learnt to cook via basic recipes. I honed my flavour skills and flavour shortcuts through trial and error.
Con: You lose your confidence to ever step away from following a recipe and begin to believe you don’t know flavour combo’s and you couldn’t ever freestyle.
PRO: You can buy a good recipe book and you’re pretty much done for a year or so
$37 for one recipe book and if it’s a good one. You’re done.
Con: Who has only one recipe book? And the average person cooks 3-5 recipes from a recipe book they buy. You buy the book to solve your problems and inspire you, but it ends up exhausting you because it has random fancy ingredients in it that you have to pay an arm and a leg for. Then you’re too used to following recipes, become complacent, can’t see a recipe for what it is (a thought process). You lose your confidence, collect even more recipe books but never take action and wonder what the problem is
the pros and cons of cooking WITHOUT a recipe
PRO: You’re very free to cook whatever you want, using what you have on hand
Con: You may overthink the whole process and feel like all you can come up with is fried rice and a slow cooker meal
PRO: You save money by cooking from your pantry and fridge first before you need to go to the shops
Con: You could get so dedicated to cooking from your pantry that your meals are plain weird and inedible.
PRO: You save so much time. You don’t need to find recipes, check for trustworthiness, collate them, write a shopping list. Or so much time referring back to them for the next step.
Con: To get to this point, you do have to dedicate time. But you’re doing it anyway, so the time spent in the initial weeks (usually about a 6-8 week process) is gained week on week thereafter for the rest of your cooking time.