I don’t like things that are overly complex. Not because I don’t understand complex things, nor because I don’t wish to extend the effort to figure something out, but because they tend to be inefficient devices that make things, at best, no worse than some other approach and at worse, well, worse. A solution to any problem should be parsimonious, elegant and explain a lot by saying little. I’m not sure if this sort of reductionism is ultimately achievable or even something one should wish to accomplish in terms of food writing, but it is certainly my aim within the next group of pages.
With the above in mind, I am attempting to document a universal approach to preparing certain dishes I like in the most basic way possible. By universal approach, I mean that the recipe can, with the instructions and components listed, be reproduced by anyone, anywhere and achieve the same result. However, I am also going to write about things that have both a historical and sentimental value attached and so they may very well run afoul of the way in which you would do something or remember how your Uncle Bob made his catfish batter and so forth- I can no more account for your taste than you can mine and so sometimes there will simply be a disconnect. Try it and see is the best advice I can give.
While I am merely trying to produce a set of instructions that people can follow and get a positive result, I would caution the reader that there are some recipes that I share with the intent of documenting them and then, as time allows, showing my improvements, such as Grandma’s Vegetable Soup recipe. In this case, I am documenting what the recipe was both as a way to share some bit of family cookery history and as a starting place for others (and myself in this case) to build their own recipes. For instance, I wouldn’t make vegetable soup without some sort of stock- but Grandma and Mother didn’t use any and I did eat it during my childhood with wonderful memories of it, so it can’t be all bad, can it? And before you say, “yes, it could,” does it really matter if I don’t believe it to be the case, and if it does, why does it matter to you ?
However, I am very sincere when I say that these recipes are always evolving and I hope that when you come back to visit a recipe and find that it doesn’t quite match what you remember you will keep in mind that I have tried to improve it in some way, thus accounting for the change. Heraclitus was right when he said all is flux, and I imagine many of these pages will get longer over time or they may not do so at all. I’m constantly improving my techniques, learning more and continually attempting to spot errors. These pages are ultimately a work in progress of trying to take something that is complex and reduce it to something that everyone can use to make life just a little bit better.
And I said I was going to avoid complexity!