Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Culinary Disasters...

I had my first real culinary disaster a few weeks ago. I was planning on making this delicious looking bean recipe, and I pulled it straight out of a cookbook (not even the internet!). I’ve been trying to eat more vegetarian and vegan recipes, so lately I’ve been cooking in unfamiliar territory. I feel like I’m pretty solid when it comes to meats, but cooking beans is an all new challenge (especially since I made the choice to start raw).

I followed the recipe to a T.

I shopped and bought ingredients especially for the recipe (and some were pretty obscure!). I even prepped for the recipe, since it required some aspects of the recipe be given time to marinate overnight. I invested my time, money, and energy into this recipe. And it turned out AWFUL.

And I mean, I couldn’t even eat it awful. The beans were crunchy, the spices were off. Honestly, it felt like someone had just guessed at how this would work and taste, and never actually tried it. Which is kind of shocking for a recipe in a published book. Usually my spouse will eat anything I make, he’s far less picky than me, and he doesn’t like to hurt my feelings. But even he didn’t eat it.

I threw the whole mess away.  I tried for a while to change the recipe to make it work, but it was just terrible. Waste of time, money, and energy, and that sucks.

But I did learn something very important from this whole mess.

To me, sharing recipes is a matter of integrity. Every recipe I share has been tried and true, and is not only easy enough for a novice cook, but is also made with ingredients that you can actually buy in a store. The point of my blog has always been to help other newly diagnosed celiacs make simple, delicious recipes. Especially for those who have never cooked before.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I didn’t know what spices to use. I didn’t know what temperatures meant what on the stove, and how long to boil/bake/sauté/simmer. I had to learn everything from scratch (with a little help from the internet, and other wonderful gluten-free bloggers).

Being diagnosed with celiac disease was hard enough, but learning to cook? Ufftah. But I knew I had to learn to cook in order to still be able to eat the foods that I loved. And I want to help others who find themselves in that same situation.

Sharing recipes is meant to help teach and inspire new cooks. For me, great recipes are meant to make other’s lives easier, and to improve their overall health and nutrition. I also want to make the transition into gluten-free living just a little bit easier for someone else who might have felt the same shock that I did.

I strive to respect people’s time, energy, and money when I share my recipes.

So no crazy, unmanageable recipes on this blog. No random, obscure ingredients (unless I have a really, really good reason!). An easy recipe shouldn’t take 40 steps to complete, or require a week of prep, or the promise of your first born child to turn out right.

Cooking is art, but it’s not magic. It should just taste like magic.

Happy eating.