A recipe based on simplicity rather than complexity

My grandmother rarely had a recipe for her cooking. No, it was always a dash of this, a pinch of that and though it always tasted pleasing to the pallet, it was never the same thing twice.

I’m just the opposite. I need step by step recipe instructions in order to create anything worth eating, and even then it can be a coin toss.

The other night while meandering through a bookstore, I came across this acrylic box which housed five books – each about the size of a large encyclopedia volume – for those of us who still remember what that is.

It was called “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking”.

“The authors have created a six-volume, 2,400-page set that reveals science-inspired techniques for preparing food that ranges from the otherworldly to the sublime. The authors and their 20-person team at The Cooking Lab have achieved astounding new flavors and textures by using tools such as water baths, homogenizers, centrifuges, and ingredients such as hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, and enzymes. It is a work destined to reinvent cooking.”

The cost for recipe reinvention? $500 – you’re not misreading that.

While I understand there is an art to cooking, one that I have yet to master, I think there’s something to be said for chefs like my grandmother and even my great-grandmother who cooked amazing food with simple techniques, and ingredients.

They didn’t have fancy kitchen gadgets or cooking labs to achieve astounding new flavors. They just knew what tasted well together by using the best tools in the kitchen – their hands.

I think we sometimes get away from the simplicity of cooking, believing we need cutting edge technologies and even science to prepare a healthy, mouth-watering meal for our families. But many times the old-school approach to cooking produces the best results with a simple recipe.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story