Friday, January 13th, 2012
When a recipe says, “salt to taste,” they are referring to your taste. That is to say the taste of the person actually making the meal. And that’s what cooking is, making something to your taste. To the extent that other people agree with your taste, determines how popular your cooking is.
I had never made an enchilada sauce so I was following someone else’s recipe. I read 1/4 teaspoon chili powder when actually the measurement as written was 1/4 cup chili powder. I noticed that the sauce tasted different, something was missing, then I realize what it was. It was the overwhelming taste of chili powder.
Even when you’re making chili you don’t want the flavor of chili powder to overpower the other ingredients. There are subtle flavors that need to come out, that is unless you’re making opossum chili. And see, now I’ve offended the people up here in the mountains who call opossum the other other white meat. I guess what I mean to say is, “this is one of those seasonings you want to add to taste.”
Some cooks treat their recipes as if they were carved in stone. Ask those cooks where they got their recipe. Nobody just makes anything up. Every original recipe is based upon other recipes and procedures for doing certain things to certain foods. An original recipe is the amalgamation of everything that cook knows about cooking. And it’s all done to taste.