I don’t just not follow recipes because of laziness or whatever; I am radically *anti*recipe. I’m anti-recipe b/c following recipes disconnects us from our knowing, or even the possibility of knowing.
Preparing foodstuffs is a relationship like any other; you must ask the ingredient how much of it is needed, etc. It is your partner, learn how to please your partner and what it likes etc. Because I experiment and don’t follow recipes to a T, I know what the ingredients are that thicken pumpkin puree and a ballpark of how much to put in. When you follow a recipe and it fails (as many of them do), you don’t really know why.
So my recommendation is to forget recipes and get to know ingredients; what they do, what their properties are, what they marry well with, etc. then you can expand from there. If you really insist on having someplace to start, Sally Schneider’s A New Way to Cook, or The Improvisational Cook. But a better place to start is your own curiosity. Be like a Wild Ferment and pick up bits of wild yeasts along the way.
- What makes it really works is attitude of freedom and willingness to have it be a flop.
- Study your flops to learn what went wrong.
- If you made something especially fantastic, try to discern what caused that to happen.