Saturday, January 28, 2006

Cooking Intuition

You know how sometimes you just want something different to eat. Well, I've had that feeling. I wanted some Texas food. So we had barbecued chicken, potato salad and a big green salad. We can get barbecued ribs here but I've never seen barbecued chicken and never potato salad except at a gringo party. Simple food but food from my childhood and food from Texas.

While I was preparing other things for dinner, Ned wanted to help so he started chopping up some celery for the potato salad. He kept wanting to know how big to chop the celery and was this enough. It was irritating because I didn't know how to answer and it started me thinking about how many things you just just put it together. You don't think about 1 teaspoon of this or that or 1/2 cup of something else. You look at the potatoes and start chopping and somehow you just know when you have chopped enough onion....or celery. I don't know how to explain how much mayonnaise. I open the jar and take out a big spoon full.....mmm...maybe it needs a little more.

I'm always just putting stuff together for a meal without any recipes because I've been to the vegetable markets and meat markets (note I'm using plurals because I can seldom find all that I want at one place) and I've bought what looked good that day. Then I have to put it together.

Recently I was thinking pasta for dinner. I had pasta in the pantry and I had Parmesan cheese and two chicken thighs in the fridge. I bought greens for a salad and some Mexican crema. I'm not sure that the sauce I made to go with the pasta was a true Alfredo sauce but it was delicious. Ned told me that it was good and I should write that one down. Well, I didn't photograph the pasta dish and I haven't written it down. But I should.

Some people seem to have such a hard time cooking here in San Miguel and one of the things on my "To Do" list for 2006 is work on a little cookbook for friends here. I wonder if they will be able to cook the recipe if it says:

Boil enough small red potatoes for two in salted water
chop up some celery and onion and a bit of dill
Throw in some mayonnaise and a bit of mustard............

Do you think I'll have to actually measure what I put in?


Brenda said...

Reminds me of when my sister got married and then wanted my recipe for beef stew. What recipe?? Some of this and that and whatever else is available or in the fridge. It's different everytime but also good. I think it's an age thing, after you've been cooking for so long you just kind of go with the flow. We had an invented supper the other night also, bought some thinly sliced beef and went from there with the peppers,veggies, etc. that we on hand. It was good and we're still alive. Recipes are over-rated don't you think? Ha ha.

BillieS said...

I agree that we don't always need a recipe but I think some of the basic ideas for what I cook come to me because I do love to read a cookbook now and then and Fine Cooking Magazine from cover to cover.

Anonymous said...

I stay out of the esposa's kitchen - it never works to helps ;-)


Anonymous said...

Libbs has been asking lately to let her cook some of her favorites that I have cooked for the family over the years. And she is asking me How Much of What????? She hates it when I tell her: When it taste right! All the while, she dutifully writes it all down...... sigh. Under my direction she tried to make pancakes last weekend, but me thinks we'd better go look that one up in the book. My memory failed on that one.