January 8, 2011

English Majors, Plain Speaking and Absolutes

When I started this blog, I had in mind that I would use food as a vehicle to get at other topics. Sometimes I am inspired by that idea, sometimes not.  Part of my hesitancy in writing about food in a more traditional way had to do with recipes. If I was to include a recipe, the purist in me felt it had to be one that I created on my own. There were a few things wrong with this for me: the biggest one being that I am not a professionally trained cook- far from it. My approach to cooking is like my approach to the rest of my life- it is an adventure and few things are absolute so following a recipe is somewhat stifling. There are flavorful adventures (and misadventures) in deviating from what is already set down in books and has been done before. Dealing in absolutes is tough for an English major like me and what that means for me and cooking is that I don’t really like to measure, also a problem when considering recipes.  For me, there is more glory in getting it right without being told what is right.  I suppose the correct finesse in adding the right amount of seasoning or flavor boosts my non-professionally trained chef-ish ego. The second problem also has to do with being an English major (and probably has some residual effect of being an English teacher) and has to do with citing sources.  I have read other food blogs and am unsure whether the recipes they include are their own and since they have not cited where the recipe comes from, I am left to assume that it is, in fact, their own and, consequently, they are much cooler than I because they have their own recipe.

But I am done with all that and have come to terms with this and have decided to include any recipe that I might have used or partly used and simply cite where it came from, be it my mother, ‘the google’ or Julia Child. Because, of course, this is where the adventure also lies.  If there is no recipe for me to start with then I’m not sure where to start. It seems like kind of a funny thing to blog about but I thought it was worthy of explanation.  And so, starting now, don’t be afraid to find a recipe or something that looks like one included in my writing. 


  1. Darcie you are too funny!!! I love your idea about recipes-- full disclosure seems essential. Coincidentally I posted a cheesecake recipe on my blog, nine cent girl, just today! Although I didn't create it, I've used this recipe for at least 3 decades, so feel free to try it--you will be happy you did!

    Happy cooking, Moira

  2. I understand your conundrum about citing your sources, Darcie. I realize that sometimes I am overly worried about that.

    How's the little one? Seth?

    We long for you to join us at 12:30 lunch someday (only Monday or Tuesday if it's next week). In fact, Moira can attest that we had a conversation the other day that you should have been part of--perhaps you sent it to us via some sort of Darcie ESP.

    Cheers! Rachel

  3. I'm running into the same problem! I hardly every follow a recipe to the tee...and then when I post a recipe it's like I have a long line of drivel about how I actually changed this or that and substituted this...etc. Why did I bother posting a recipe in the first place? Make your first recipe be "How to make CHEESE! glorious cheese!" =)

  4. That's what 'he'January 10, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    There's also a hubris-protection from not following a recipe, as in if you have a 'misadventure' it's still an adventure. Screwing up a recipe just makes me feel stupid...