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Stop! Don't Follow That Recipe!

Updated on February 16, 2011
A frittata that I basically threw in everything but the kitchen sink. Also pictured is my version of bread crumbs, which the recipe also called for.
A frittata that I basically threw in everything but the kitchen sink. Also pictured is my version of bread crumbs, which the recipe also called for. | Source

Okay, well you can follow it, but how about more as a helpful guide rather than a tyrant commander?

So you enter the kitchen, with that ambitious look of determination and a wooden spoon held firmly in your grasp. You approach that war-torn tomb that was handed down through the generations, sitting quietly on your counter, taunting you, daring you to open it.

Ah, the Cookbook.

You open to the recipe that you skimmed earlier and decided was perfect for tonight's dinner and get crackin'. Well, minutes into your mixing, blast!, you discover that you forgot to pick up the butternut squash! No! Or perhaps the spices in your cupboard aren’t an exact match to that on the ingredients list. Maybe you only have raisins instead of cranberries..or you just don’t even like cranberries?

Never, don’t you ever throw up your spoon in disgust and resign from your oh-so-important post! There are things that can be done.

Think of it as “artistic license” or what about “cooktastic license!”? Either way, you can’t let the cookbook be your master controller, you’ve got to loosen up a bit and believe in yourself and your decisions, as well as your taste preferences. I find that I never follow a recipe all the way to that last dash of salt. In fact, even if I do have all the required ingredients, I often make a tweak or two of my own just because I know what I like (or if I know what my guests like) and instead of being “Betty’s White Bean with Kale Soup” I make it personalized…“Stacey’s Kidney Bean with Kale Soup”!

But hey, why stop there? You sit there looking at the ingredients listed in the book and you’re thinking, hey, what about the shiitake mushrooms? And how about some chives? That’s what you need to embrace and love about cooking your way; you can go all out and tailor a recipe how you’d like it to be. The possibilities can be endless and, a little ways down recipe road suddenly you are the next brassy, sassy expert in the shiny kitchen to hit national t.v.! Yea!

Well…at least in your imagination.

So honestly, don’t run back to the grocery store three different times because you keep not having what you thought you had in the cupboard. Don’t let yourself give in to serving that boring recipe or the one with the unappetizing garnish because now, you secretly know it is just begging to be spiced up and given a personal twist all your own!

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    • katenka_lalo profile image

      katenka_lalo 7 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Beautifully written hub, great ideas!

      Also, it might be helpful to make a list of everything BEFORE you go to the supermarket. It happens that my refrigerator gets empty, as I don't cook too often, so I don't always find an alternative for what was in a recipe. :)

    • stacebird profile image
      Author

      Stacey M Hollis 7 years ago from Washington DC

      Thanks for the support you two! :)

    • CarolineChicago profile image

      Caroline Paulison Andrew 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

      Great hub! The ability to improvise is so important to the everyday cook!!

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 7 years ago from USA

      Great advice and fabulous hub!

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