Thursday, March 15, 2012

The benefits of using recipes

Writing my first book, La Nena's Kitchen, has been such an eye-opening experience. Thanks to the gracious time and attention of my first readers and recipe testers, I have become a faster cook in my home kitchen. In writing a book to help other people transition to cooking with plenty of fruits and vegetables, I have become a new chef in the kitchen- one that uses recipes and gets in and out in less than an hour. Who would have ever thought I would make the same thing twice and be out of the kitchen in less than half a day?

From my experience working in restaurant kitchens where we crafted new menus almost daily, I learned to use recipes as guidelines to be followed loosely. At home, I usually float along the same wave of intuition and concoct impromptu meals made with tidbits of this and that. It wasn't until I wrote the first draft of La Nena's Kitchen that I was reminded that putting a few recipes into regular rotation at home could be useful.

In the first draft of the book, I encouraged the reader to explore many different recipes and to be adventurous. Then, one of my first readers sent me feedback reminding me how useful it is to follow and repeat recipes. When you put regular recipes into your home cooking rotation you become more comfortable with them, prepare them faster over time and can often shop for the ingredients quickly and sometimes without a list.

Following recipes has helped me shop more easily. Thanks to my ever-so-tech-savvy mother, I was introduced to an app called Shop and Cook that stores my recipes and drafts quick shopping lists when I need them. What a treat! The app is now available on the IPhone. Maybe next year Mathilde, the designer, will make it friendly for us DROID folks.

Here's to following recipes, especially those that work!

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