Recipes are used for making that special dish for the first time, enhancing a meal that you have made many times but now want to change, or for just adding to a marvelous collection of ideas for meals for the future.
A recipe can consist of only two ingredients or so many you cannot even fit them on your countertop. It can be as simple as simply stirring, or very complex, like dredging in flour, then dipping into a beaten egg, then covering with bread crumbs, quick-frying and then finally baking the port chop. Yes, for a simple port chop. But many times you will find that the more effort you put forth in preparing the meal, the better it tastes in the end.
Most cooks have several very important ingredients that are put in almost every dinner recipe they make. These may be onions and garlic. Or perhaps herbs like thyme and basil, or a combination of Italian seasonings. This same cook may also have ingredients in the cupboard that he or she bought for one special meal on an occasion, and it has been sitting in that cupboard ever since. This might be liquid smoke, or fenugreek.
Perhaps the greatest experiments with recipes are those from other countries. You can try something Greek, like moussaka, or Italian, like lasagna, or East Indian, like lamb korma, or Mexican, like carne asada tacos.
You will find that the main difference between the different ones of various countries is the spices they use. In Greece, they use a lot of cinnamon on their meat to sweeten it up. Italians like their tomato sauced spiced up with oregano, basil, and thyme, among other spices. In India, the use of turmeric, cumin and coriander go far. Mexicans use a lot of cayenne and chili powder. And the list goes on.
You will discover that the joy of collecting recipes will easily take over your book shelves. You will have recipe books on fish, steak, potatoes, desserts, casserole dishes, meatless meals, poultry, crepes, Christmas, and wok cooking, to name a few. Then there are the recipe magazines that will overwhelm you. And do not forget about the recipes you cut out from the newspaper, because you know you are going to try them some day.
You can stumble on collections in thrift shops. These are from clubs that people were members of and received them monthly and put them in binders. Or you will run across other types of collections that resemble a set of encyclopedias. There are annual collection recipe books for the year. And you would not want to pas up some of those really old cook books. They usually have a couple of really great classic formulas that you thought you would never find. Then there is the kind of collection that can drive a cook crazy, when they put them all in the index box. The best thing about these 4×6 inch cards is that you do not have to mess with a book closing on you while cooking.
Yes, you can collect recipes your whole life, fill an entire room with recipes. But the best cooks in the world do not even use them.…