Ever since I started taking cooking seriously (somewhere around my sophomore year of college), I’ve always thought about food and music as related.
Suffice to say that great music accompanying a great meal can obviously elevate one’s dining experience. But beyond that, I feel like the actual process of creating food is akin to the process of composing music. Maybe it’s some sort of synesthesia, but for me, being in the kitchen is like being in a recording studio: picking out the right ingredients, settling on an arrangement, and often playing on old ideas to create new ones. It’s judiciously additive and uniquely creative. Just like you can feel when a song is done right, you can smell, see, and taste when something you’ve cooked just comes off just as it should.
For that reason, I don’t use recipes. Well, pretty rarely (unless I’m baking) do I ever stick with a recipe as printed. Recipes are suggestions. They’re guidelines. Musicians don’t use a recipe in the studio; instead, we improvise based on our knowledge of music theory, chordal harmony, and common orchestration and arrangement concepts. (Although maybe today’s more formulaic music is being made to a recipe…)
Recipes are like a musician’s lead sheet. Basic melody with the chords. It follows the composer’s style and the basic rules of “food theory.” It’s up to you to improvise to suit your own preferences. So for any recipe that I post, understand that they’re mostly based on my own personal tastes along with my knowledge of “food theory:” basic flavor relationships and cooking techniques (and my vague recollections of how much of which ingredient I put in).
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to create.
Make food. Make music. Have fun.
NOUN a type of hulled wheat, especially spelt or emmer, typically used in salads, soups, and side dishes.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: Italian, from Latin, ‘wheat.’