Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Experimental Cooking

Our dinner guests the other night asked us if we are “experimental cooks.”

“No way!” I immediately responded. I like to cook recipes. I don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Anything I cook will be common. That’s not “experimental.” Experimental would be using odd ingredients and cooking without recipes: just making dishes up.

I’ve been thinking about that ever since.

I realized that every recipe I cooked Saturday night was brand-new to me, including the churros, which had to be fried in oil. I had “experimented” with three new dishes. And I’d only done so because I thought my husband (whom I consider the cook) would be in the kitchen helping me. I probably wouldn’t have attempted new recipes if I knew he was going to be in the basement fixing the water softener, as he was. I would have been afraid to do so, for some reason.

And yet, I was fine. I cooked new recipes by myself and they were delicious and easy. Now I consider them in my repertoire, and cooking them again won’t be a “challenge.”

So I am an “experimental cook” in that I try new recipes that sound good, even if they are new to me. My husband’s encouragement and implicit faith in my cooking helps me to be more experimental.

As I ponder that little bit of experimentalism, the more I think that such willingness to experiment is part of being a cook. In order to improve, I have to try something new. If my baby hadn’t experimented with walking, he would be crawling still.

My hope is that as I become more comfortable experimenting with new recipes, I’ll also become more comfortable experimenting beyond “new recipes” and into the No-Recipe Improvisation that I’m always so impressed with.

Are you an experimental cook? In what ways do you experiment? What are the best techniques for becoming more experimental and less timid about new foods and recipes?

2 Responses to “Experimental Cooking”

  1. August 18th, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Rebecca’s Cooking Journal » Blog Archive » What We Ate (Week ending Aug 15) says:

    [...] What I’ve Cooked « Experimental Cooking [...]

  2. October 24th, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    The Cook says:

    Wow! What a website. You have a real knack for making a blog readable and easy on the eyes. Some sites look like train wrecks, but not this one – it’s a pleasure to read. I can’t wait to try out one of the recipes here. I’ll bookmark your site and keep coming back. Keep up the great work, and bon appetit!