After a long and tiring day, it can be difficult to find extra motivation for cooking new and untested recipes, especially when families are involved, the temptation to explore different foods may often be met with much resistance, a challenge that is best left undisputed during any night of the regular work week.
Come the weekend however, there is a glimmer of hope to look forward to, an hour or two where nobody can dissuade you from trying something highly experimental in the kitchen to satisfy your culinary curiosity, and maybe even stumble on what could become the new signature dish in your family menu.
Let Your Curiosity Guide You
Have you ever walked through the produce aisle and wondered, “what the heck is that” as some strange fruit or vegetable has caught your eye? There are more and more ingredients available to us all year round that might not have been within our grasp just a few years ago, and this presents us incredible opportunities to learn about new ingredients, new cuisines and even new cooking techniques.
I remember countless times when I have begun researching a simple ingredient, but trying to find out how it is traditionally prepared in a distant country for example, only to be astounded at how many strange and wonderful dishes there are in the world which remain to be explored, enough to fill a lifetime of test kitchen adventures. Almost every food has a traditional preparation method that varies greatly from region to region, and google provides us all the insight we need to learn how.
Sites like allrecipes.com are certainly helpful for North American home chefs who need to find a quick way to make something this is commonly known, but I challenge you to dig deeper, for instance try reading up on a given ingredient on Wikipedia first to find out it’s origins, then google something like “authentic Ethiopian condiment recipe”, then bypass the top 10 and go to the second or even the third page of results, and something magical will happen: you’ll find links to recipe pages of home chefs just like you who have posted a very personal home recipe for a dish that the author has probably been making their entire life, likely passed down for generations. It may not seem as polished, and it will likely have no reviews to reassure you, but that is exactly the point.
To The Victor
Looking beyond the typical search results, finding something completely new and unfamiliar to make, then actually preparing it, regardless of the outcome so you learn from your experiments, can be exhilarating. Then the true prize is of course finding a recipe that is not only completely unfamiliar to you, but tastes so delicious that you wonder how you could have lived without it your entire life.
You may even find your self suddenly looking for specialty shops one day, or culture-centric food markets, looking for some elusive ingredient to fuel your next experiment. Those moments will connect you to a new undercurrent of cooking that has existed since the beginning of culinary art. Gaining insight into the influence of various cuisines, the soul of where dishes come from and why they taste so good when prepared in certain ways is a true delight.
I encourage you to be guided by the unknown, on occasion, even if its only once a month or so, to let your culinary sense of adventure guide you and try something strange & new, be a culinary daredevil every once in a while and you will no doubt be pleasantly surprised with the results; happy cooking.
About me: My name is Paul Thibault, an impulsive home chef developing delicious gluten free recipes for family and friends regardless of their allergen restrictions or dietary limitations, visit the About Page to learn more.