Just like the title of this post says, I’m at a fork in the road. Lately, I have struggled with what it means to develop recipes for the public.
Recipes can be an inspiration. When you need a guide for cooking something you know little about, recipes are handy. They provide you with a guide. But when you know how food is supposed to work, then you may be surprised how little you actually need that recipe.
I do not want to write recipes anymore. Instead, I want to teach people how food works.
Woah, hold up. Let me explain.
I don’t want to be a typical food blogger, and I am struggling to identify myself with the food bloggers I see out there today.
Part of this identity crisis is because I see food blogs that provide great recipes and the most beautiful photos to match. They have personality and style and thousands of followers. There is already enough noise out there. What sets me apart?
For SGE to survive as a food “blog”, I have to write recipes that nobody has seen or heard before, and the creativity needed to do that isn’t happening because I’m tired. All of the other work involved in sharing that creative recipe with you is sucked into photographing, editing, and writing. Sharing these recipes, to me, has become less about the food, and more about making the recipe desirable to you. It’s downright difficult for me to run this site with everything else going on in my life if I keep heading in this direction, and it seems like I am not needed in this way anymore. I’ve lost my creative mojo.
I’m at a crossroads. As I learn how to be a better cook, my definition of recipe changes .
Each time I write a recipe and include directions for salt and pepper, I become frustrated with the need to tell people how you should salt your food throughout the cooking process, not just a measuring teaspoon of it at a certain point in a recipe. Do you need a half teaspoon of black pepper? Maybe, maybe not.
It’s like how some cookbooks have a section to explain these footnotes so you do not have to put them in each recipe. Examples being how butter should always be unsalted unless otherwise noted, how brown sugar should be packed, or how salt is always sea salt and never table salt. Sure, many people know this, but if you do not, following a recipe could be really tough for you.
Instead, I want to teach people how to cook, not just provide a recipe for them to follow. I want you to feel confident with several dishes so you can create your own unique twists on them. To do that, you need to understand how food works. It’s science, and I love it. A whole new challenge. Now that I am comfortable in the kitchen and have a basic understanding of flavor profiles and cooking techniques, I want to challenge myself to learn the how behind the final dish.
It’s not just about understanding that chicken is supposed to reach an internal temperature of 165 before it is ready to eat. It’s about WHY that is the case. How does the finger test work for knowing if a steak is cooked medium rare without cutting into it? What’s the difference between cane sugar and white granulated sugar? These are questions I ask myself, and if I don’t know, then how can I give you a great recipe?
Whether you’ve realized it or not, my recent posts have gravitated this way. From learning about how to properly cook duck at Duck University to understanding the different varieties of cooking oils, these posts are the kind that I plan on giving you. I hope you continue to join me on this journey.
What shall we learn next? You’ll just have to come back and see!