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View Poll Results: Do you follow the directions or wing it?
I follow the recipe exactly and I measure! 2 6.67%
I follow the recipe pretty closely 2 6.67%
I follow the recipe but usually don't measure and sometimes make substitutions 9 30.00%
I review the recipe and then do whatever the heck I feel like. 17 56.67%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-11-2009, 02:40 PM   #1
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Cook by book or seat of pants?

I have been wondering about how we view recipes and use them.

Do you carefully follow recipes or change them as you go along, preferring to use recipes as a creative catalyst?

Do you measure or wing it?

Are you a daredevil cook; do you have the guts to serve an untried recipe to guests?

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Old 09-11-2009, 03:07 PM   #2
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I do all of the above.

If I want to recreate a special or classic recipe, I do it by the book. I measure and follow procedure at least for the first time. I may or may not make changes later.

If I find a recipe I mostly like I may change minor stuff to accommodate my tastes.

If I find several different recipes for a specific dish, I compare them and try to reach a consensus on what the key parts are and make a version that can be a combination of several of the recipes.

I don't always measure exactly. Sometimes not at all.

Then there are the times when I wing it and make dinner from what I have on hand. But if I do and it's a success, SO expects me to be able to make it the same way again. I have written down what I did so I can make it the same again.

Then there are a number of recipes that I make regularly I just make "automatically". Actually I'm following a recipe, it's just been memorized.

There is a time and place for each of the choices.
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Old 09-11-2009, 03:54 PM   #3
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I have to agree.
When I make a recipe that I have found the first time, I do it by the book, as it were. That's how the author intended and that's how I make it. After all it appealed to me for a reason to begin with. Then later after I have, I decide if I want to tweak it to my tastes.
If I'm creating a new recipe, I don't measure a thing, I guesstimate on what I'm doing and go from there.
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:06 PM   #4
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I agree with Andy. For me, it depends on how familiar I am with the recipe, both eating it and preparing it.

If I've never eaten that dish or perhaps only had it once, I follow the recipe as closely as possible and I measure everything.

If I am familiar with the dish and had it a number of times but never prepared it before, I may alter some of the ingredients depending upon personal taste and how comfortable I feel in achieving a successful change.

If the dish is something that I have prepared often with total success each time, I may wing it, but I still quickly review the recipe at the last moment before it hits the oven or stove, just to be certain I haven't forgotten anything.

In baking (breads, pastries, cakes) - I ALWAYS measure and follow a recipe. Baking is chemistry-in-action. 9 out of 10 baking failures doesn't come from poor ingredients or bad equipment, it comes from a bad baker who decided to "wing it" in stead of working from their card file and measuring cup.
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Old 09-11-2009, 04:21 PM   #5
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The first time I make a recipe I stick pretty close to the original. After that I will make substitutions if I want. I usually measure liquids when it calls for more than just a few tablespoons, but sometimes I just pour in what looks right. It kind of depends on the recipe.

I use a recipe as a guide, but not as a hard and fast rule. I am not crazy about mushrooms so when a recipe calls for mushrooms I will leave them out or sub something else for instance.
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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ditto on baking, measure carefully for success. new one i follow closely and when i make em up, i guess but write it down, in order to make again if it turns out well
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Old 09-11-2009, 07:59 PM   #7
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I have a pretty good eye so I rarely measure anything (and that includes baking). I use recipes, I create and I do both measuring and winging it.

I think cooking and baking is like anything else, it must be learned. Once you learn what things must go together and what things don't its easier. Also some proportions is key to making things successful.

I'm at the point where I look at a recipe and often I will modify the method unless there is something very particular in it.

Guess I'm like everyone else here, a little bit of everything. Sorry Janet, not sure what to vote for.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:38 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
I agree with Andy. For me, it depends on how familiar I am with the recipe, both eating it and preparing it.

If I've never eaten that dish or perhaps only had it once, I follow the recipe as closely as possible and I measure everything.

If I am familiar with the dish and had it a number of times but never prepared it before, I may alter some of the ingredients depending upon personal taste and how comfortable I feel in achieving a successful change.

If the dish is something that I have prepared often with total success each time, I may wing it, but I still quickly review the recipe at the last moment before it hits the oven or stove, just to be certain I haven't forgotten anything.

In baking (breads, pastries, cakes) - I ALWAYS measure and follow a recipe. Baking is chemistry-in-action. 9 out of 10 baking failures doesn't come from poor ingredients or bad equipment, it comes from a bad baker who decided to "wing it" in stead of working from their card file and measuring cup.



"Cooking is a art, Baking is science."
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Old 09-12-2009, 06:24 AM   #9
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Like Andy too, I will usually follow the recipe pretty closely at first. If it is perfect, Ill leave it as is. If it needs modification, Ill make my changes. If it is crap with ni hope, Ill toss it.

After cooking for so long, I can usually get a good feel for the recipe just by reading it, which limits my failures, But , as everyone else, I have my share of disasters too. I actually have a file on my computer labeled " Untried Recipes". I put all the new recipes I am thinking about trying in this file. I do this so I dont mix them up with my already tried and proven good recipes. After I make them, they either make it into my regular recipe file, or into the trash it goes.
Also, since Im a vegetarian, many times Ill try recipes that have supposed to be made with some kind of meat, and Ill have to change things around to vegitarianize it. I find this a challenge, but a fun one. It tests my creativity.

Actually, Just the other day I made moussaka. I found a vegetarian recipe but i wasnt too crazy about it. So I then found a meat recipe which looked better ( not because it had the meat, but it just looked " right" ) so I kinda used both recipes, taking what i liked out of them, and trashing the rest. It came out pretty good. Still needs a few adjustments, but definitely workable .

Anyway, time to go to work.

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Old 09-12-2009, 07:28 AM   #10
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Like many who've responded, I've been cooking since I was a kid ... let's call it 40 years, give or take. I will start by saying I do not bake. I feel that is more of a science. But when trying something new, I tend to look up (I have an extensive cookbook library) several recipes to get a feel for it, then make up a list of ingredients I might not have at home, shop, and dig in, using two or three recipes as guidelines.
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