Friday, July 28, 2006

Recipe Sharing

Although I would love to write a cookbook I have my doubts that I ever will.

My ability to express the method of many of my recipes seems to be beyond my grasp. It is so important to me in sharing a recipe that the resulting dish be as wonderful for the preparer as it is for myself.

Yes, I post recipes here by the bucketful, but I am always on tenterhooks wondering firstly if the recipe was tried and secondly, and most importantly, if it was enjoyed by that person as I enjoy it.

Chef Jacques Chibois expresses so well this recipe sharing frustration in Provence Harvest:

"When chefs cook, all of our senses are at work; first our taste buds and our eyes, of course, but also our sense of smell and even our ears. Our ears hear if something is cooking too quickly. All of this is difficult to explain in a cookbook, or to put in a recipe, and some readers have a better feeling for these intangibles than others. We chefs are often told: "You hide half the recipe, you have your little secrets." My response to this is: "No and yes!" No, because we share our recipes with sincerity, without hiding anything. Yes, because there are certain instinctive things that cannot be expressed easily. Why is it that just hearing a dish simmer or sauté, we know that it is either not hot enough or too hot?...This is a little complicated: in French we call it a "tour de main", a certain know-how or is important to watch, smell, and taste at all times...When we begin to learn to cook, we too frequently tend to read recipes word for word, while the most important thing is to try to understand the whole, to fully grasp what we are going to do."

Much better than I could ever have put it.


Anonymous said...

This is true of almost anything in life. There are the factual elements of an event or task(turn here, cook for so long, glue part A top part B)but, often, it is the little indescribable nuances of an event or task - that which comes from experience- that make it what it is. Maybe one day, someone will invent a brain dump device so we can easily transfer all the necessary knowledge AND experience to make one an instant master. HOw sad would that be- for me the journey- gaining experience - is more than half the joy in life.

Puck said...

Um, if you cook, I'll write... :-D

Then again, you write better than I cook so the trade-off isn't exactly fair.

Anonymous said...

You would do a great job with a cookbook!