COOKING BY EAR

COOKING BY EAR

EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK

 
I would recommend printing and binding this book. A great present for whoever . . .

THESE RECIPES

Cooking By Ear is just that. Everything is an approximation rather than an exact solution to be followed unfailingly.

You must vary these cooking ideas to you, your larder, your taste and your style.

Vary the amounts, vary the ingredients and see what comes out. If it looks good and tastes good, you have won.

And if you don’t . . . well, the person who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.

One of the most important consequences of our being animals is that we have this bottomless pit called the stomach. This fact has colored our entire civilization.
Lin Yu Tang

WHY COOK?

There are many good reasons why we should all be able to cook. Among them are these few and there are probably 20 others that I’ve forgotten.

It is useful. We all eat at least once and more probably 2-3 times a day.

It is a wonderful way to express love and affection for family and friends. There is joy in a well received meal for both the giver and the receiver.

It is better than restaurant and takeaway food. It is fresher and, as you get used to it, cooked with the flavors and spices you enjoy. It allows you a wider menu of better foods.

It is also much more economical so it allows you to do more with less. We have to earn that money we spend to eat out frequently. If we eat at home we need to earn less.

SOME SIMPLE RULES

Develop the habit of not eating out.

Learn to take good food with you when you travel or work.

Raw is better than cooked.

Steamed is better than boiled.

Lightly cooked is better than overcooked.

Pan fry, do not deep fry.

Do not over cook. Not only fish and eggs but vegetables as well. Almost everything tastes better and is more nutritious if cooked lightly.

Use more vegetables! In virtually all recipes there are not enough fresh vegetables and most meals taste better if you add two or three times more vegetables than the recipe calls for.

THE GOAL

The goal is a good, healthy, interesting meal on the table in 20 or so minutes with little fuss.

The wok, the fry pan and the steamer for vegetables are the main tools.Lots of lightly cooked vegetables are a big part of most of these meals. Sometimes steamed, sometimes stir fried, sometimes raw.

Do not worry about the mess. Cooks do not often have to do the washing up. However it is an excellent habit that if you are waiting in the kitchen for something to boil or cook, start cleaning whatever is not in use.

“Do what you can with what you have” is an excellent axiom for cooking (as the rest of life). That is if the recipe calls for carrots but you don’t have them, do not run to the shop. See what is there in the fridge or cupboard. Onions, so use them. Potatoes, so use them. Or broccoli or celery or bok choy or green beans.
Or the recipe calls for chicken and you only have tuna. Use that. Or eggs. Or nutmeat. Or tofu.
Or the recipe calls for rice. Not there. Try potatoes, or noodles, or cracked wheat, or rolled oats, or pumpkin.The same principle applies to spices. No Thai curry paste? Try Indian curry powder or ginger or a fresh chili or garam marsala or cumin.

Cooking by Ear is mix and match with what you have.

JUDGEMENTS

Try to learn to make approximations. You are cooking for three people, have a look at the quantities on the chopping board or in the pot. Is that enough? Yep, seems fine. There’s a knock on the door. Two old friends have arrived with their friends Sven and Knut from Norway. This food is not going to feed all of you. Make more noodles, cut more veggies, have another look. Should do and if it doesn’t you can make pancakes or French toast for dessert.Trust yourself. You’ll soon be able to feed 10 people as easily as 2. Only the quantities change. It’s actually easy.

Cooking By Ear

 

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