Monday, August 11, 2008
What I Hate About Recipes
Sometimes I go through my voluminous library of cookbooks. It’s not so much an urge for food porn. It’s more like being a musician and reading scores for songs, which I regrettably can’t do (can’t read music). But I read them for sport, for ideas, for mind-fodder. But sometimes I get really annoyed.
I think I have maybe ten books on Indian cooking alone. Some of them are from the U.S. and some are from the U.K. But every single one of them has a different recipe for basmati rice. If at all.
It’s just gross inefficiency on many levels. It’s like you wrote out Brahm’s Fifth but only gave vague directions as to where the sharps should be. But those are the easier ones to parse.
The maddening ones are where they specify, say, 3 ounces of coriander. Three ounces of coriander? What the fuck, I’m supposed to get out my coke scale and weigh the fucking thing? How about a quarter cup?
But what takes the cake is the “5/8ths of a cup of yogurt” for a Cream Cheese Kofta Curry in the cookbook “Complete Indian.” Five-eighths of a cup? Waaah? How about “A little more than half a cup”?
Considering 95% of the world makes dinner with no measuring whatsoever, it seems ridiculous that a cookbook can be published, well, so ridiculously. What the fuck is a medium onion? Please tell me.
And why are there fifty ways to cook basmati rice? Every single cookbook I have has a different formula. Thank god I found mine and now it comes out perfectly every time. Two cups of water for one cup rice? Recipe for a very effective glue.
Lesson: most cookbooks are like the charts for the Beatles that you find in music stores; bogus, simplified instructions that will always produce a mere parody of the real thing.
Posted by ChefNick at 1:55 PM