In August Julia Child would have been 101 years old. One of my favorite quotes from Julia is “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” Julia epitomized the attitude of being bold in the kitchen, she showed us her faults, weaknesses and failures as well as her triumphs. She taught us “The only real stumbling block in the kitchen is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Above it all Julia taught us to be ourselves, enjoy people and carpe diem.
I must confess, I love Julia-she was unique.
I’m frequently asked where I get my recipes and honestly it’s from everywhere; when I have an exceptional meal out, in culinary magazines, in my library of cookbooks, on the Internet, but in each case I want to take the inspiration and make it my own. I may cook a complicated recipe all the way by the book once, but more likely I combine several to create something unique.
Some restaurants build their whole persona around ‘Fusion’, ‘with a twist’ and ‘Nouveau’ something cuisine.
One of my wife’s greatest complaints is I’m always fiddling with a recipe, tweaking it, modifying it just a bit. Admittedly its not always for the better and in these times she tells me you can’t improve perfection. But I’ll keep trying, its just my nature, and besides how do you know its perfect? What if that one touch makes it just a little bit better…
Lets take a very simple example, a grilled cheese sandwich. In 30 seconds how many variations can you come up with? The Internet has retrieves over 8 million in less than 0.2 seconds. Think about that for just one second our of our 29.8 seconds left that’s over seven thousand years, 3 meals a day of a different kind of grilled cheese sandwich.
Why there are over 320,000 recipes for that Southern staple Pimento Cheese, maybe none of those are the way your family makes it, but then again maybe there are a few you might like to try.
This is a long winded way of getting to my cooking motto, ‘Make It Your Own.’ Your Aunt’s Red Velvet recipe may be perfect, but I’ll bet there is a way for you to still make it your own. Maybe painting each layer with a moistener or different moistener, or modifying the frosting, changing the type of coco (there are so many new options on the market from when your Aunt perfected her neighbor’s recipe)or even the number of layers (taste’s the same but look’s different) all to the point, make it your own. Then when you are asked, ‘where did you get that recipe’? You don’t have to answer ‘Its my Aunties’ instead you can say with a sense of pride ‘I created it.’
I’ll post a recipe on line this month at www.gastonalive.com I hope you’ll check it out and leave a comment to let us know what you think and how it might have inspired you to add a twist.
Never be afraid or timid in the kitchen, and till next month Make It Your Own!