I was rummaging through the rec room Saturday night looking for a bottle of white wine.
Lee was cooking paella and was doing that deep sighing thing that wives do when they’re frustrated and they want their husband to ask what’s the matter. Men do it too, but my wife anyway, is really good at ducking the hint.
All we had was a cabernet, some sweet peach wine and then the usual bottles of Jameson. I cook with it.
My wife cooks with recipe. I never really got that.
When she sees me cooking, she always asks, “Are you using a recipe”.
I laugh. “No.”
I have images of things that sound good in my head. I have a cupboard full of seasonings and herbs, another cupboard on the other side of the kitchen with cooking wines, sherries, and vinegars.
Do great artists have a template? Do you ever see Bobby Flay working out of a book? Tell me they’re educated cooks, experienced – and I’ll say “me too”.
I’ve grilled, baked, broiled and I’ve marinated, seasoned, toiled.
Recipes take the fun out of it. I worked 20 years for KFC and was food safety proctor. So we’re covered their.
The rest is all feel and imagination.
I made a mushroom risotto a couple weeks back that could be marketed. I needed a little help with the risotto, but the rest was me. It was my Mona Lisa. I know this because my daughter Taylor had half a smile as she at it.
Here’s the problem. I can never repeat it. That’s where I need the recipe, and that’s the only reason. It bums me out if I have to sit there scrolling on my phone through a recipe when I cook. I’d rather be checking ESPN.
For example, I like salmon but I never can repeat the success. How do I know it was a success? My wife is the barometer. Happy wife… happy life. Even if it’s over a plate of fish and veggies. But I can always tell when I miss. It’s a definitive facial expression. Nothing disappointing, just – blank.
“How’z the salmon?”
“Oh it’s good. My eyes were just bigger than my stomach.”
I’m getting better with the seasonings. We do Blue Apron’s a couple times a week, because if I’m gonna eat healthy, it better damn well taste good. There’s just no guarantee with me. But hey, that’s what makes me – me.
Sure it’s a gamble in the kitchen, but it’s 3-1 that it ain’t gonna suck and 2-1 that I’ll get the half smile from Taylor. She’s not picky. As a matter of fact we’re usually poo-pooing the flavor and the kid from Manhattan who’s learned that ramen noodles are the poor man’s carbohydrate, is telling us how good everything is.
I think I’m rambling about food because it’s Easter Sunday and we’re getting together as a family for the first time in more than a year to enjoy a meal. We put off last Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Most of my family lives within a half hour so we’ve missed being together as a group.
So whatever you’re cooking, it certainly feels like families are starting to get back together again.
We need to make sure we’re adhering to all the expected safety guidelines. We just don’t need to adhere to recipes – but that’s Beside the Point.
Happy Easter everyone.