No, I am not talking about the new novel by Allegra Goodman (though, after reading the reviews, I wouldn't mind reading it!)--oh wait, that's called The Cookbook Collector. I am talking about Molly Watson's excellent piece in the recent issue of Edible San Francisco, called The Recipe Collector. In her trademark personal and approachable style, Waston discusses her own history with recipes:
...I am, in no small measure, surrounded by recipes. This may seem appropriate. I am a food writer. I am often called upon to write recipes. Having some recipes around on which to call, could prove useful, one would think. I have been known to consult the archive, as I’ve come to think of it, for reference or inspiration. My husband just made this point, in fact, as I decried the sheer physical mass of recipes and started piling them into the dining room for immediate disposal.Ah! I know this feeling. Wasn't I just saying yesterday how silly I felt posting a recipe for pesto. As if you guys don't know how to make pesto. Since Soho is moving out, and Myrna is moving in, our house is in turmoil, and it occurred to me once more how many recipes I have. They will overtake me if I don't so something about them, and you'll stop by Cranford for a quick visit, and find me suffocated by paper clippings for root-beer chocolate cake, and heirloom tomato and mascarpone lemon tart, or a zucchini and ricotta galette (my version pictured above). It won't be a pretty picture, I can assure you.
The insanity of all these recipes is that, unlike my legions of fellow Americans who don’t cook because they are too busy to follow recipes; I don’t follow recipes because I am too busy cooking.
Cooking? Without recipes? To many people I know this sounds nuts. I can assure you, however, that it is possible. And not just by professionals, not just by that rare breed of individual who makes their living by developing recipes for other people to follow. Cooking is an act; recipes are things, printed text. You no more need a recipe to cook than you need Runner’s World to take a jog around the block.
In the meantime, I am taking comfort in Molly Waston's wonderful piece. Read it all here.
Speaking of which, I have updated all my 10KP recipe archives. All original/adapted recipes are labeled under Recipes and all recipes sources from other chefs, blogs, and cookbooks are labeled under Recipes: Elsewhere. You can still find all food related items under the label Food. Other categories of interest: meatless meals under Meatless Meals, cookbooks under Cookbooks, and jams under (you guessed it!) Jam.