Friday, February 19, 2010

Recipe? Or No Recipe?


Tonight is a night in. A night in with my hands immersed in a bowl of raw ground beef, mixed with onion, egg, cilantro and breadcrumbs: I am making meatballs. No, I am not currently, at this very moment making meatballs, for I am typing, but I have just finished making my first batch of meatballs. These meatballs are for tomorrow's timpano. If you have seen the wonderful movie "Big Night" you will know what timpano is. My dear friends and I are getting together tomorrow night for a big, old fashioned, Italian, 'Big Night' timpano party...and yes, we are making an enormous timpano.

As I pulled out my ground beef in preparation, I reached for my old, giant Italian cookbook. The cookbook I bought when I was in college, not because I ever cooked, but because it was so beautiful I couldn't resist it's pages. I think this may actually be the first time I've truly followed a recipe in this book, and I admit I only half followed it (I didn't have all the ingredients, or desire for that matter).

As I was bent over the recipe, studying hard, Shayne asked me what I was doing, "A recipe?? Really??" Yes. A recipe. I am a recipe girl, through and through. I was not raised on cooking, though my mother cooked amazing meals every night (I was too busy writing romances on my canopy bed). Yes, a recipe. There are those of us who bring out our inner Julia Child and follow a recipe just the way it's meant to be followed, and then there are those who do not.

My relationship is divided both ways: I follow recipes verbatum, my boyfriend does not. So I ask, what do you prefer? I do see the merit in either way, as there have been many times I disappear into the kitchen with Betty Crocker, and emerge with...well, chicken glazed with canned chunked pineapple. But there are other times when I disappear into the kitchen on my own, with nary a recipe in sight, and emerge with a dish of rice, mixed with scrambled egg, cinnamon and salad dressing (this was my dish of choice, which I fed upon nearly every night in my first apartment). Oh, or my old favourite: shredded carrot sandwiches.

Wouldn't you prefer I take to a recipe book? Yes, that's what I thought. Though the world is divided by the spine of a recipe book, I choose to remain on the book side. And if you come by my place for dinner, rest assured, the meal will be concocted from a recipe...or made by Shayne.

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