Follow a recipe or wing it?

@lilybug (21148)
United States
February 29, 2008 10:51am CST
When you are making something do you use a recipe or do you wing it? Do you use the recipe every time, or just the first few times until you get it down in your mind? I use a recipe a lot of the time when I am making something for the first time. After the first time on most recipes I don't use the recipe anymore and I sometimes switch up the ingredients.
6 people like this
10 responses
@Sillychick (3279)
• United States
29 Feb 08
When I am trying something for the first time, I usually use a recipe. I don't always follow it exactly, but pretty close. Once I've done it a few times, I don't use the recipe. Some of my best meals, though, are not from a recipe at all, but just things I threw together and liked. The only exception is baking. I bake very little, usually just a few cookies or a pie once in a while. I always follow the recipes because I'm afraid it'll flop if I don't. Baking is more precise than cooking, and the wrong amount of baking powder or flower can ruin a batch of cookies.
3 people like this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
Baking is much more precise that is true. It is much easier to mess up baking than other types of cooking.
@miller1978 (1104)
• United States
29 Feb 08
For a first time I look at the recipe. If it tastes good I will make sure to remember how to do it but have it close by for easy reference. If I thought the taste was off I would change it up a bit. For most of my cooking I don't use a recipe. We usually have the same things here and there with our household being so picky on what they eat or better off what they won't eat.
3 people like this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I know what you mean about picky family. My son is the pickiest. Thankfully my daughter is not a picky eater at all. There are a lot of times I will make something that my daughter and I will eat and he ends up with a PB&J because he refuses to eat it.
@whittby (3073)
• United States
29 Feb 08
For baking I almost always follow the recipe. I might add a little wheat germ or nuts or chocolate chips, but that's about it. Now for other stuff, I usually end up altering the recipe more because I may not have some of the ingredients than because I am so creative. Sometimes it turns out and sometimes it's just kind of mediocre. I wish I were more organized and would have all ingredients on hand for recipes for the week. w
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I don't mess with the main ingredients in my baking very much because it is easy to really mess up in baking. Like you, I make little changes in my baking.
• United States
29 Feb 08
Cooking can be like telling a story. Reading from a book and telling a story are different arts. When you read from a book, the story is the same regardless of whom you are telling the story to -- your daughter, for instance. But, if you have read the book before you can .. liven up the story a bit if you know your audience. Little changes to give it a personal touch. A weak example is how, occasionally, when I'm reading a story to my daughter I add an off-hand comment "and then, he ate them." Something not in the story so that my daughter can say, "no daddy." The addition of funny voices, slightly changing the words, asking the child about the picture or the story, letting them say what the character's next line is .... all of these can make the practice of reading a story more interactive. And, if you tell a story without having one written down, the personal flair of the story can change dramatically depending on what parts of the story your audience likes. For example, I tell my daughter a story called "The Troll in the Deep Dark Woods." Sometimes, I'll tell more about the troll and how he came to live into the woods. Sometimes, I'll tell more about the fight the Troll has with the She-Monster that lives in the girl's closet. I think cooking can be like that. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, experimentations. I think that can really help, and it adds a personal flavor to what you make. Little refinements. For example, say you make toffee (which I know you do.) If you add nuts, leave out nuts, use milk chocolate, use dark chocolate, try a little brown sugar mixed in the with white, these little changes can tailor the treat to your audience. They *know* that you've made this change just for them -- and it makes the treat more special. And trying new things is fun, anyway. :)
2 people like this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I have really changed up my toffee recipe. Just this past week I made several new kinds of toffee. I have added coconut, raspberry, orange, coffee, keoke coffee, and Almond toffee to the regular English toffee that I make. I have also done regular butter toffee for the people who like the regular toffee flavor but without the nuts.
1 person likes this
@Bethany1202 (3432)
• United States
11 Mar 08
It all depends on what I am making. I have never used a recipe for things I eat frequently such as spaghetti sauces from scratch, chili, soups, pasta salads, etc... Things that don't require precise measurements and can be made to taste. If it is something like pancakes or an exotic dish that looks good but I've never tasted and want to try, I will use a recipe for things like that. Most baked goods such as break, cake, cookies, etc I will also use a recipe.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Mar 08
*bread* sorry for the typo! :( wish we could edit our posts ...
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I have never used a recipe for spaghetti sauce. I just add a little of this and a little of that. Chili and soups I usually use a recipe as a basic guideline and then adjust the spices to my tastes.
@roi452 (232)
• Philippines
4 Mar 08
I usually follow the recipe the first time. then afterwards i try experimenting, adding a few ingredients, substituting, increasing amount of the ingreadients. If you are familiar with the cooking method and the dish, we really dont follow the recipe everytime - like me, for cooking pasta i almost dont use any recipe, i make my on as i go along. But for baking- it's a different story. I'm don't usually bake so i follow receipes all the time.
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
There are several things that I make that I have never used a recipe for.
@Grace35 (136)
• United States
2 Mar 08
I always read over the instructions, but I never follow them. Some things are just plain common sense and besides, it's not like your food will ever look like the picture... LOL Trying different Ingredients is always fun for me, yes I've made some gross tasting meals, but that's how you get to greatness!!!
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I also have had some not so great ones. Sometimes though it is surprising how great things turn out.
• United States
29 Feb 08
The first time I make something, I usually go by the recipe. Usually, because there are some things I don't like a lot of (like cinnamon), so I will change it. I don't use a recipe for most of my cooking, though. But I always use one for cakes. After I've made something, I will change it around and usually write it on my recipe. One year at Christmas, I made Grand Marnier Loaves with Cranberry Butter. I took them to work. Everyone loved them. Well, one friend that I gave the recipe to called me and asked if I went by the recipe for the cranberry butter or changed it, because her's tasted horrible. lol I forgot to tell her about my changes. I guess that I just expect other people to taste what they are making and change it to their tastes. She really fussed at me about that!
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I also sometimes add to and leave out ingredients to suit my tastes.
@KKKBsmom (1093)
• United States
29 Feb 08
I almost always use the recipe... that does not mean I follow it to a "T"... I may not measure totally correct... or like for pancakes I always use the book... but sometimes I will use flavored coffee creamers to add a little flavoring... always makes it kinda good! LOL
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
I had never thought to put coffee creamer in the pancakes. Thanks for the idea.
@lightningMD (5932)
• United States
29 Feb 08
i usually use the recipe the first time I make something. Then after that I tweak it to our tastes.I love trying new recipes.
1 person likes this
@lilybug (21148)
• United States
12 Mar 08
That is exactly how I do it.