Whatever’s Clever

A few years ago for Christmas, my mom gave me my very own copy of The Joy Of Cooking. I asked her to write in the cover for me and she did, saying this:

“Penny,

I hope you’ll go on cooking for many years, in your own creative way

Love, Mom”

I remember that day we were unhappy with one another about something so I’m sure if we’d had a better day together it would have been something other than what a cooking school instructor would have written, but the point is that she acknowledged a huge difference in our cooking styles.

My mom has always, always cooked by the book (or the recipe card, as it were). She almost never deviates and if she does and it works, that becomes the new standard. I, on the other hand, will screw something up in a hot second if it’s written down. Magically, teaspoons become tablespoons, I develop measurement amnesia and can’t recall if I’ve already added that quarter cup of flour, etc. I really have to concentrate if I’m going off a recipe especially if it’s the first time I’m making an important element to the meal or I’m baking – since baking is chemistry.

But generally, like tonight, I just whip together whatever’s there and whatever looks like it might work together. This evening’s experiment was no different… ladies and gentleman… chicken breast with sage and black pepper, cooked in bacon grease. The peppercorn ranch was to dip the carrots in, but it tasted pretty good on the chicken as well (even though I admit that’s a little Applebees for my taste).

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