Friday, May 7, 2010

Cooking 101

I grew up in a family of cooks, really good cooks.  Some had catering businesses and others were cake bakers and decorators (my Mom).  I hated cooking.  Baking I liked, but that was due to my sweet tooth more than the fact that I liked doing the work. 

I did the requisite cooking when I got married.  I've even held every holiday dinner with four exceptions (one time I had food poisoning) that I can think of over the last 35 years or so.  I had a subscription to Gourmet magazine and still use the April 1974 copy when I cook Greek food.  But it has only been in more recent years that I have learned to LOVE cooking. 

I do not know what caused this other than over the years our interests change.  I started going to Sunday morning demonstrations at Williams-Sonoma about five years ago.  I met someone who retired from teaching and enrolled at Schoolcraft College in Culinary Arts.  She suggested that I look into the Continuing Education classes there.  I have enjoyed them immensely and have met some very talented and interesting folks.

Which brings me to my Cooking 101 pet peeve.  If a recipe needs one teaspoon of garlic, why do the authors write one clove?  Is that the large clove or the smaller clove in the head?  Exactly how much chopped onion is in one medium onion?   One green pepper chopped equals?  This all comes from the recipe I have for Chicken Burritos.  The recipe is from 'Bon Appetit' magazine.  I imagine that two people could end up with two different tasting recipes.

And while the different tasting burritos might not matter, messing up measurements in baking are a disaster.  I have to agree with Alton Brown that metric measurements in baking are a whole lot easier to follow when you are weighting ingredients, as I prefer to do.  Much easier to weigh grams than 1/8th of an ounce.  Baking recipes are more precise.  It would be nice if cooking recipes were too. 

Now, back to the kitchen.

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