A Recipe For Disaster - Home on the Range Blog at Allrecipes.com - 256496

Home on the Range

A Recipe for Disaster 
Nov. 10, 2011 11:58 am 
Updated: Nov. 14, 2011 4:54 pm

I have been contemplating the differences in people. I, personally, have never been comfortable around people much, but find myself feeling more at home and welcome in the company of animals. Hard to believe, but I know there are people who don’t care much for them and others who are even afraid of them. 

There are people who are very self confident and self assured (I’m not one of those either) and those who second guess themselves or are painfully shy. (believe it or not...I actually fit that description!)

There are those who will push their way up to the front of the line and others who quietly stand at the end, saying nothing when someone else cuts in front.

There are those who climb fences or run through closed gates to look for a new adventure, and those who would not step foot on someone else’s property without express permission on pain of death.

Some people value family and honor above all things, others value possessions and popularity. Some define themselves by who they believe in, others by what they do. Some folks make great efforts to give you a hand up, others will grind you under their heel. Some are self sacrificing, others are self serving. Some are self aggrandizing, others are self promoting. I think the differences in people are far more vast than the differences in animals of a species. I find them difficult to understand, for the most part, but then, I can’t honestly say I really understand myself either. I have noticed a couple of things about myself though.

Today I have been contemplating the differences in people who cook.

I have my own theories about cooking. My mom was a good cook, but she never taught me anything about it. I bought a cookbook when I was 16 because I wanted to know how to bake a potato. There are a lot of people who laugh and scoff at some of the really basic recipes on AR, but there are probably a lot more people today who haven’t got the first clue how to make something than there ever has been before, considering that so many families eat on the run and grab fast food.

I have a dear friend, much younger than I, who once told me she could not cook. She was quite adamant about it. I asked her “Can you read?”

She said “Of course I can read”.

I said, “Then you can cook. All you need to do is read the recipe. It’s not rocket science”.

I bought her a cookbook. She dove in and today, a couple of years later, she not only cooks for her family, she bakes bread, makes pies, cans her own spaghetti sauce and a plethora of other things.

Reading is a good thing. There are folks who like to read and others who avoid it at all costs.

There are folks who can’t and those who won’t. 

Then there are those who rigidly follow a recipe as though it was law and those who find recipes to be a mere suggestion.

I am the former. I cannot bring myself to stray from the written directions, I cannot ‘eyeball’ an ingredient, it must be measured, I cannot substitute and I cannot experiment. It’s like a sickness. I absolutely know that if I do not obey and follow the directions exactly as written, there will be a terrible disaster, perhaps even a mushroom shaped cloud emanating from my kitchen. Once I have successfully done so, if I find the results pleasing, I then OWN the recipe and am free to do as I wish.

Others CANNOT bring themselves to follow a recipe, but find they must embrace their creativity and throw themselves into the dish with substitutions, additions and variances of quantity in ingredients. These are the folks that often CREATE the recipes to which I am so dutifully bound. In the wake of disaster, they nonchalantly proceed through life, remaking, rebaking, re-creating as though the universe itself did not depend on their success.

What kind of recipe person are you??

Nov. 10, 2011 12:46 pm
Wow - what a good question. I was brought up in the shadow of a sibling who was the epitome of domestic perfection and I was . . . the opposite. Therefore, I believed there was no hope for me and aspired to achieve scholastically to compensate for my domestic inadequacies. As fate would have it, I ended up working as a front manager for a restaurant. Front managers just need to be brain-smart, not food smart. But this was not your average run-of-the-mill restaurant. This was a place that served excellent gourmet food - - and my culinary love was born. And with it a desire to learn how this wonderful food was made. Three years and an apprenticeship later, I am a chef. Where was once the brand "food failure" burned on my forehead is now changed to "creative culinary activist". Is following a recipe important - sure it is!! Especially if it is a baking recipe as baking is more a science - - and cooking an art. And perhaps that's why I'm a better cook than baker. In looking back on my youth and trying to figure out why I was a failure, I discovered that everything I was trying to do and failing at was of a baking nature - - and I was "fiddling" with the recipe - hence I was failing. Hence I thought I was just a "bad cook" all together and just gave up on cooking. Now I realize, I'm not a bad cook - just not a great baker. If you love to dabble, re-invent, re-make, eye-ball measurements - then your forte is cooking - - - if sticking to the precise recipe, measurements and ingredients is your love, then your forte is baking. I think there could be people out there that are a combination of the two - - I can do some good dessert dishes - - but if you're counting on me for bread on the table tonight - - then I hope the Merita truck breaks down in front of your house. I love the challenge, creative license and forgiving nature of cooking. And although bakers may feel the same passion for their culinary field - I find it to be a lot less forgiving and much more rigid. And that is why the culinary world has cooking chefs and pastry chefs - and rare do the two meet. I seemed to have rambled on here a bit . . . alas, my creative nature has taken over your blog Petey . . . . what was the question again????
Nov. 10, 2011 12:50 pm
>> "I, personally, have never been comfortable around people much" ditto.
Nov. 10, 2011 2:04 pm
I think my father in-laws bumper sticker says it all, The More I Know People The More I Love My Dog. As for cooking, I am adventurous and sometimes we suffer for it! Great Blog!
Nov. 10, 2011 2:13 pm
Great blog, Petey. I have to admit I fall under the category of not being able to follow a recipe to save my life, even if it is my own. I am a recipe tweaker from he!!. Although I do love meeting other people, I'm just as content to putter around my little home, in my pj's, with only my dogs and cat for company.
Nov. 10, 2011 2:36 pm
petey, I have been thinking along your line of thought for the past few weeks. This is a great blog because you just put some very thoughtful thoughts into words. I can follow a recipe to precision or I can eyeball one and tweak it till it suits the family (now just the DH and I) or pantry requirements. I've been giving some thought to a blog that had to do with reviews and trying to remember what is like to be that beginner cook. It's tough after cooking for longer than I care to admit and you are right beginners need basic recipes and they need, if they want it, help from the more experienced cooks. luv2cook brought up something I've also been thinking about-being told or assuming you couldn't do it just because the older sib could. My Mom said my sister was the artist of the family so I never tried really until much later in life. Just recently I drew a cartoon to send my son in bootcamp, he said it was really neat. We just need to believe we can and "have the courage....". Sorry what was the question? The much loved 3 legged cat thinks it is time for his backrub :)(:
Nov. 10, 2011 3:31 pm
You Petey Are PRICELSS! OH My Goodness!! Funny and so insightful too! You have trouble tweeking a recipe the frst time you make it and I try to tweek before I have even attempted it once. I like my own company and am a bit of a loner. I have lots of aqaintances but no Real close friends and no BFF's. I do love animals and seem to get along with all that I encounter. Except for the dog that bit me about 28 years ago. Little Sh!t! LOL Wonderful blog. Hugs, thanks for sharing!
Nov. 10, 2011 4:49 pm
I think Patty Cakes may be my west coast self (except I've never been bitten by a dog) I pretty much can tell from reading a recipe if it will work as written for me. If so, I follow it the first time, but if I can see it will be too sweet or not seasoned enough then I will change things as necessary. There have been some wonderful results and some that we'll just ignore. The downside of being a recipe tweaker is I will never, ever be able to make exactly the same thing twice.
Nov. 10, 2011 7:02 pm
Good question. HMM...I'll have to "ponder a bit" on this one. At my age, I've been in many "seasons" of cooking and baking methods, depending upon the lifestyle at the times. Today, I "tweaked" and "reciped", "no-reciped" and reheated, "scratched" and "boxed" all in 1 meal... I love people, and dislike them, depending, like being with them and like being alone...Most animals are lovable. Hmmm. Be back later!
Nov. 10, 2011 7:13 pm
You fill a very important niche on the cooking world, Petey! If it wasn't for you, there would be nobody to tell the tweakers how good the recipes are that they wrote!
Nov. 10, 2011 7:37 pm
Some of my friends are "natural" cooks/bakers----they can just tweak away. I always want to follow a recipe closely because if I really really like it, I want to be able to do that again. My sister is the opposite of me. Her food is better than mine. But I keep trying. I've certainly learned a lot here on AR. I am very comfortable by myself with interruptions from my granddaughters. I've learned a lot from you, petey!
Nov. 10, 2011 11:46 pm
Oh btw, no pics of your criiters Petey? Is everyone in time out? LOL. Your photo are always worth seeing. Love cow faces!!
Nov. 11, 2011 6:31 am
LOL, Petey... People baffle me too. Left to my own devices I'm perfectly happy to be on my own or just with my husband and close family, reading a book, etc. I work with kids, teaching nutrition education, and for this I call on my acting skills- we read a lot of literature that teaches health and wellness- I do lots of character voices. And this is fine. I come in, edu-tain the kids, and go on my way. It's a lot of fun. :) I can get along well with people and most people who know me would say I am very outgoing and personable but on the inside of my head where I can think what I want to, people really frustrate me so much for the same reasons you name. Some people try to take advantage of your good nature and willing spirit. Some people don't step up to take care of their own responsibilities and try to pawn them off on others. Some people don't respect a person's margins and boundaries. I am so glad that those "some people" are not the only people out there in our world! You are a breath of fresh air, Petey. :) While generally speaking I am a direction and law follower, I am a recipe changer... and I'm thinking it's a really good thing you are a recipe follower because cheese and soap require strict adherance to directions and measuring and I'm so in awe of your ability to make both! I'm sure I could do it if I would simply follow the recipes... ;) and had the time. Have a blessed day!
Nov. 11, 2011 6:53 am
In making a recipe for the very first time, unless I spot some aspect of it that I 100% know will not work, I will stick to it like glue. My thinking is that I do not know everything about cooking, therefore I will make it the way described so that I might both learn, and get a new tasty treat. Having made it once though, it is now mine and I can fix it or repeat it at will. Good Question RW
Nov. 11, 2011 7:41 am
I think I am hopelessly legalistic with recipes. Once I make it, following the directions precisely, if I LIKE it, I still don't take liberties, as I am of the mind "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"! :) Submitters...your recipes are safe with me! LOL
Nov. 13, 2011 7:15 am
Oh, Petey I love your blogs and rarely comment. :) At least with animals you know where you stand; my job and lifestyle force a certain amount of sociability (is that a word?) upon me, but I'm usually happier at home or with limited friends. In the kitchen, I'll take the recipe's word for it, then if something isn't working I'll change it. Just like people, I suppose -- I'll take you at your word until you give me reason not to. At that point, I'll change whatever the heck I want or abandon them/it entirely. :)
Nov. 14, 2011 12:59 pm
My Mom never used a recipe as far as I can remember. I do a lot of cooking that way myself. However, I do like recipes and use them a lot for the not everyday things I cook.I have branched out since I discovered AR and made a lot of recipes I would not have otherwise. I am a loner also.I have my friends at work and at church. I don't socialize with them that much outside of church and work though. My husband and kids and grandkids are plenty for me.
Nov. 14, 2011 4:54 pm
Good post :) I guess I am the type of person who has ruined a lot of recipes with too much tweaking! My Husband teases me about it cause I never stick to a recipe.
Click to Change your Profile Picture

Home Town
Tehachapi, California, USA
Living In
Princeton, Oregon, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2007

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Dessert, Kids, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

Knitting, Gardening, Hunting, Photography, Reading Books

Go Pro!

In Season

Fresh Summer Meals
Fresh Summer Meals

Enjoy the bright days of summer with easy recipes.

Do Healthy Your Way
Do Healthy Your Way

Low-fat, low-carb, paleo, vegan. Get recipes for your lifestyle.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and helpful cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for just $7.99!

About Me
Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
My favorite things to cook
Having 2 Jersey cows as well as milk goats, playing with fresh milk is a hobby, making our own butter, yogurt, sour cream, cheeses, soap and all the other great stuff you can do with fresh raw milk.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Homemade from scratch...anything! All traditions are sort of gone by the wayside, as we live so far from family now
My cooking triumphs
Most things from this site, this has been the best thing the internet has had to offer!
My cooking tragedies
A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States