New recipes, like sex positions, need to be practiced. You’ve got to get the basics down before attempting to go it alone.
But I am a terribly impatient person, and I can’t follow a recipe. More accurately, I refuse to follow a recipe.
It’s not that I think that I am somehow more qualified than a trained chef — though I often refuse to use the suggested amount of fat — it is because I just can’t be bothered.
For the most part, it works out OK. I tend to make things like stir-frys that really can’t be ruined by experimentation. But after receiving a new Vegetarian cookbook for Christmas, and after realizing that I will never lose weight on diet of bagels and bananas, I decided to expand my cooking repertoire.
The first night I made a noodle-free lasagna. I didn’t think to actually check how many zucchinis I needed for the base layers. Nor did I feel like buying all the obscure ingredients on the list. And then, despite it not being a part of the recipe, I mixed up some cottage cheese and spinach as an alternative to a sauce layer. But I didn’t have enough cottage cheese, so I used some leftover tofu.
In the end it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t lasagna.
The next recipe I decided to tackle was Falafel. Normally I would have attempted anything fried, but because it appeared to be a reasonably healthy choice (merely pan fried, not deep fried), I thought I’d give it a shot.
I was at work when I made the plan so I didn’t have the list of ingredients when I went to the grocery store. I had a rough idea of what I needed, and I consulted some internet recipes to come up with a list. It was mostly right, save for some obscure spices I wasn’t going to bother buying to use only a teaspoon of anyway (another problem I have).
But when I got home, I discovered that I had misread the recipe – it called for two cups of cooking oil, not two tablespoons, and the mixture was supposed to chill for 2 hours before cooking.
They were edible, but I didn’t learn my lesson.
All I really learned is that I am too lazy to shop properly, and don’t like complicated instructions.
Luckily for me, there’s an app for that.
The Scots waste a lot of food – about $800 Canadian dollars worth a year. So a British company has released an iPhone app called Love Food, Hate Waste. It allows you to look in your fridge to see what you already have, put that information into the app, and find a recipe that won’t require a big shopping trip. It also has a portion size planner to avoid making too much.
Maybe it will help me. Sure, I might refuse to do a few of the steps, but at least I don’t have to make a special trip to the store.
Even if it doesn’t make me a better cook, with all the money I’ll save on food I could actually afford an iPhone.