Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Experimental Recipes

I have always had some interest in the culinary arts.  Growing up in meant and potato country, however, did not foster the most delicate of palates.  Taste, it would seem, is a largely environmentally acquired faculty.  As a result, like my father, I tend to resist foods that tends toward the sweeter side of the taste spectrum.  For instance, barbecue beef, with all of its brown sugar, is only as sweet as I like a main course to be.  I simply despise fruit with meat, or fruit with a salad.  As far as I can discern, apples, raisins, and mandarin oranges mixed with greens beneath any sort of salad dressing are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.  

As a child, I learned to cook from my mother.  At that time, I was sure she was an accomplished chef.  She is a good cook, but when I was in sixth grade she started working away from home.  At first she spent every second night in town; when we older the intervals were longer.  As a result, she did not cook for the family as much as she had previously.  Now, better than a decade later, she is convinced that she has forgotten how to cook.  Culinary creativity is a discipline that requires practice.  She received it when cooking for a family three times a day.  She is out of practice.

When Mom started working, I started cooking for the family.  I was not particularly adventurous.  I used a lot of cream of mushroom soup and macaroni.  Occasionally, though I would attempt something more exciting.  Usually it was a failure.  Who would have guessed that adding cocoa power to pancake batter would not result in chocolate pancakes, but rather, an ugly, black, and bitter mess.  Who would have suspected that one cannot cook a frozen vegetable medley from a plastic sack in the deep fryer.  After enough setbacks such as these, one returns to what one knows.

Once in college, I began to see the tell tale signs that my parents were aging.  My mother began watching Matlock.  My father subscribed to National Geographic and Readers Digest.  They decided to get a house cat.  As is often the case, my father became more set in his ways, while my mother's horizons began to expand.  Dad would eat beans, beef, and potatoes as well as a few flavors he had decided he liked.  Mom decided she wanted to experiment with Italian and Asian flavors.  I was encouraged to begin experimenting again.  I had learned a few recipes here and there and I tried them out on my folks.  They were more or less successful.  Here and there, I would introduce them to new things I had discovered - nutella, mangos, and the like.

Most recently, my mother has decided to begin trying new experimental recipes.  Last summer we made some sort of ravioli from scratch.  We also tried a cilantro pesto.  Today, we tried the cilantro pesto again, but with a few new additions: a little citrus juice, a bit more jalapeño pepper, less cheese.

Dad, of course protested.  "Only salad should be green," he complained, but Mom and I were not disappointed.  It still needs some tweeking, but this may become one of those favorite recipes that Mom begins to make all the time.    

1 comment:

  1. Almonds in pasta? I don't think so Tim!

    Green is good, just not in pasta, tho' it did taste pretty good. Just too many almonds!


I appreciate your comments and thoughts. I do not appreciate vulgarity, attacks on me, the Church, or other people who comment. Comments of this variety will not be published.