Monday, November 21, 2011

The naming of cookbooks

The cookbook officially has a name -- Cook Until Done: A Collection of Recipes and Stories from Family and Friends.

This sage and elucidative advice was given to me by my father when I called him the first time I decided to make meat loaf on my own.  At least I am pretty sure that it was meat loaf.  It could have been bread.  But it is usually meat loaf when I tell the story, so I am going to stick with meat loaf.

I have come across the same and similar direction in quite a few of the recipes I am collecting.  "Bake in moderate oven."  "Bake at 375" (with no indication of length of time).  Or sometimes the temperature is left out.  "Bake one hour."  There is the occasional admonishment of not overcooking or undercooking, but generally there is an assumed level of kitchen sense.

The more I cook and experiment, the more I understand these vague directions -- you get a feel for how things look and smell at various stages -- but I still understand the wish and need for specifics when approaching a recipe for the first time, so as I write and revise I am attempting to fill in the details and come up with descriptions for what "done" might mean, as well as the methods for achieving it.

I just hope I can do it without testing every single recipe.

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