Thoughts From An Old Cook.... - From the Ozark Kitchen Blog at - 313954

From the Ozark Kitchen

Thoughts from an Old Cook.... 
Oct. 29, 2013 11:37 am 
Updated: Oct. 31, 2013 10:17 am

I discovered today, after talking to a grandchild, that blogging should be more about things in life than just recipes.  Then I looked back over my own blog, and realized I really don’t have much to say with the exception of the beginning of a recipe, so here goes nothing.
Cooking, is not now and has never been an exact science.  You can give the same recipe to a dozen old cooks and you will get a dozen different dishes.  The reason? Once you have cooked long enough it is extremely difficult not to add your own personal spin to a recipe.  I do it, and if you’re honest you do it, and so does the majority of the cooks out in the world.
Young, beginner cooks get upset when you give them a recipe and when they follow it, it does not turn out right. I have spent a many of times trying to calm a new cook down and explain to them that yes, the recipe can be the same, but if you changed brands of ingredients, left something out, or added something for your own personal taste, which I absolutely 100% approve of, it is going to change the recipe. Stoves, Ovens, the water, etc. can all effect a recipe’s final results. A memory of my grandmother’s biscuits cooked in an old wood stove I still would prefer to this day, even if I have used her same recipes for years.
I always tell new cooks to try every recipe they come across.  Many will be awful and not to your taste at all, while some will be a new favorite you never even considered in the past.
If any cook who has been at it a while tells you they have never thrown out a dish BEFORE they let anyone else see or taste it, then I would seriously doubt their honesty and integrity.  I have many failed experiments over the years that never touched anyone’s lips but mine-enough said on that.
If you love to cook, you can become a great cook. If you really do not like to cook, you can become a good cook, but you will never be great.  To be great you have to try new things and get that certain joy and pride that comes from serving something unique and special that only you came up with.  It doesn’t matter if your kitchen is in New York, New Jersey, California, or simply a family recipe from an old Ozark Kitchen.
Oct. 29, 2013 1:42 pm
Great blog mtgragam the 2nd. My grandmother passed the LOVE of cooking and baking on to me. I relay this very message to all those that I have a chance to mentor. Am I a good cook or a great cook?? My family and friends seem to think I'm great but I suspect it is because of the secret ingredient called LOVE :)
Oct. 29, 2013 1:52 pm
I so agree! If you can read you can produce acceptable food, but once you start to rely on your sense of smell, and taste you can soar!
Oct. 29, 2013 5:27 pm
i agree! i "know" how to cook so i sometimes take short-cuts. i tried a great recipe ( i assume...if i had made it the way as written,) but my short-cuts resulted in me watching the wife say what is this supposed to be? i choked down almost a bowlful before i gave up and thru out the rest. my fault! i will go back to my normal recipe and try not to get fancy ( as i call it...trying to enhance a recipe that i thought i could short-cut the steps.)
Oct. 30, 2013 3:10 am
Nice blog and oh so true! I've been at this cooking thing a while now and I usually try a new recipe exactly as written the first time around. However, the second time around I start adding my touches to it to make it my own. Sometimes I get brave in the kitchen and just start throwing things together - that's when dinner is either very interesting or we head over to our restaurant and let Victor, our cook, make dinner! And, I believe Shearone is correct above in her comment - the secret ingredient to any great cook's food is LOVE.
Oct. 31, 2013 10:17 am
Thanks for all the comments, makes me feel better knowing we can all relate to "destroy after viewing" sometimes creativity needs to be expressed somewhere else-LOL. And we also learn that something's just do not mix well.
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Jacksonville, Arkansas, USA

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Baking, Slow Cooking, Asian, Italian, Southern, Mediterranean, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

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About Me
I have been cooking since i was 12 years old, got my first job in a restaurant when I was 14. I was trained by a professional Cook, also my Mother and Grandmother who had deep roots in the country style as well as the Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.
My favorite things to cook
All though I can cook almost anything, my favorite thing to cook is breads. I have making homemade breads, rolls and baked goods since I was 18 and I am now 50!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Almost all of my Family Recipes center around Country Cooking, with a Dutch flare, or style. My family all comes from the deep country where you cooked what you raised.
My cooking triumphs
I once prepared and served a Banquet for President Bill Clinton when he was Governor of Arkansas. Multiple Blue Ribbons at the Arkansas State Fair as well as the Arkansas-Oklahoma State Fair.
My cooking tragedies
Once cooked a Standing Rib Roast that was so tough you needed a Skill Saw to slice it and it was already on the table.
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