I have just finished the recipes for Diabetic Cooking for One or Two (due to be published later this year by Grub Street) and it struck me yet again how important it was that those who wished to enjoy the experience of cooking took all their courage in both hands – and experimented!
This does not really seem to be quite the message that I, as a recipe writer, should be putting across but, although I am, obviously, delighted when people buy my books and cook my recipes, I do hope that they do not follow them slavishly but use them as a spring board for their own invention.
This is not to say that there is no room for cookery books and for culinary guidance – there are are certain immutable rules that you break at your peril – at least at risk of your cake being flat or your sauce lumpy. But they are the nuts and bolts, the science of the thing. When it comes to the far more subjective matter of taste, then it is your own palate that you need to trust, using cookbooks to give you inspiration or to create specific dishes which are outside your current culinary experience.
This is especially important if you are moving outside the normal range of everyday dishes into ‘special diet’ (what a depressing term) or ‘freefrom’ cooking as you will have extra constraints put upon you by your own particular allergies or sensitivities. So, especially important that you are up for a bit of experimentation. After all the worst that can happen is that it is so disgusting that even the cat will refuse and you have to bin it – a shame, but scarcely terminal. And do not be put off by one failure – just try to think what specifically was wrong and how you might be able to make it slightly differently and more successfully.
I look on cooking as a bit like riding a horse…. The theory is that you will never learn to ride properly until you have fallen off a few times. Well, similarly, I don’t reckon that you will ever learn to cook really interesting dishes until you have cooked quite a few horrors!