Christopher Kimball, founder and editor of Cooks Illustrated said you really only need 25 good recipes to be considered a "good" cook. That's spreading it a little thin and I'm wondering if I've given you enough to go on after two years of blogging and only 86 recipes so far. It takes about 150 to publish a decent cookbook. Well, I've got some gaps to close and I'll get on it right now. Anyone can be a "good" cook; bad cooks consciously choose not to cook. They may like to eat but other priorities trump their attention.
Notice, Kimball didn't say great. A great cook has more than a good recipe box. Elevation to "great," but not professional, requires three characteristics . Taste, technique and timing. Taste is not easy to define. It's a knowledge and appreciation for quality - an understanding of flavor beyond salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami(savory). Technique is ability to roll out a flaky pie crust, poach a perfect egg or chiffonade basil. It usually takes practice and repetition like an athlete achieves muscle memory and coordination. Timing is an innate instinct to a great cook. They don't need too much instruction and operate in the kitchen more by sensory perception. They smell, see and feel the food as a conductor to an orchestra or coach to a team, coaxing the most out of the ingredients. If you want to be a "great" cook devote more time and thought to developing these three qualities.
I'm nominating these recipes for the "good" category. They are all doable for anyone who aspires to qualify as a good cook. Some haven't been published yet but do exist in my repertoire and I'll get to them shortly. An "*" indicates the recipe can currently be found in the Recipes & Random Thoughts Index.
Roast Chicken (I have about 5 favorite versions but have only published "French Roast Chicken in a Pot"*. Find one you like and master it.), Beef Stew(coming soon), Turkey Time Meatloaf*(again, find a meatloaf you like and master it), Apple Cider Braised Pork Chops*, Shrimp Gumbo*, Pecan Roasted Salmon*
Spinach Souffle*, Eggplant Parmesan*, roasted vegetables, potatoes au gratin
Popovers*, cornbread, biscuits(coming soon)
Sausage Pasta Fagoli*, Cream of Chicken*
Balsamic vinaigrette, Green Goddess*
Fruit Cobbler*, Chocolate Cherry Cake*, Hemlock Inn Strawberry Pie*
Fluffy French Omelet*, Deviled Eggs(coming soon)
Blender Hollandaise(just Google and you'll find this one)
Strawberry Fig Jam*
Pimento Cheese(coming soon)
- Recipes & Random Thoughts
- I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.