Words Maria P.
Header Credits Havra H. (@havrahajoori)
Cooking: Experiment vs. Exact Science
Often, recipes seem like a rulebook for the kitchen. Most of them are incredibly precise, with exact weights or exact amounts of every ingredient mentioned.
As a 15 year old with a growing passion for food, I can safely say that I must have read over a hundred such recipes, and loved trying each of them out using my measuring spoons and scales. However, at home, my parents – especially my dad, being an avid cook himself – have never used any of my prized possessions. He always wonders what I do with so many different colored cups and spoons!
My dad comes up with these amazing recipes using his andaza, making me believe that what he often says is true – “Every mistake is a learning experience, a chance to experiment and something to help you find out what works and what doesn’t.” If I’m following verbal instructions from my folks, they always say “thoru naak” making me wonder how much exactly is “thoru”?
I think we can all agree that cooking is a form of art. Just like every masterpiece created has a different story or inspiration behind it, cooking revolves around creativity too. Chefs are all artists, but also like scientists, who carry out experiments to test a hypothesis. Don’t you think when chefs make multiple batches of cookies with varied types of flour they are testing a hypothesis? This makes me certain that cooking is a chance to experiment to find out which flavours work best and which don’t.
Baking and cooking seem like two different categories of the culinary arts and so even though sometimes baking requires certain exact amounts of ingredients, cooking doesn’t!
My lack of experience and the fact that everything I make, whether it be a product of a meticulously followed recipe or a random shot at throwing in a bunch of ingredients and hoping for the best, has always been appreciated. It sometimes makes me question what I truly think today and wonder if my opinions will remain the same forever. Just like how every artist grows with each piece they create and everything they do becomes a learning experience, as long as we realise that recipes are not rules and we can allow ourselves to explore and tweak them, I would like to think that cooking is a chance to experiment and a way of self-expression.