I’ve been cooking for several years now, but there’s something I still struggle with.  It’s not that I can’t follow a recipe and make a dish come out well, but rather the opposite: I follow instructions too closely, hardly ever veering from recipes for fear that the results will be disastrous.  You see, I’m a grad student working in a research lab, and following ‘recipes’ for experiments is part of my daily life.  One pipetting mistake and days of work can be ruined.  My exceedingly careful nature has transferred over to other aspects of my life, particularly cooking.  Recipes are good but, let’s face it, real chefs don’t use recipes or painstakingly measure out ingredients.  Heck, Rachael Ray doesn’t even measure most of the time.

So, I’m on a new mission to decrease my dependence on recipes and increase my reliance on creativity.  This isn’t something that will happen overnight, but in the long run I think it will serve me well- instead of going to the store to buy lots of ingredients that a recipe ‘needs’, I can look at what I have and build a dish from there. (more…)