You Can Be Creative

Pantry 600One of the things I do regularly that makes my cooking creative and more fun is to substitute ingredients in and out of recipes (my own and others). When my husband went to cooking school, he brought home recipes and was constantly off to the store to purchase this or that ingredient. Our pantry grew to the bursting point and many ingredients ultimately had to be discarded after months of not being used.

Recipes are suggestions, ideas, and thought starters – not commandments. Substitute freely. Try new ideas; focus on your own pallets of preferred flavors. Cooking is personal and taste buds are as varied as there are people.

Once I taught my husband to put out the ingredients we had available for a recipe he wanted to cook, to see how he could substitute the missing ingredients out of our basic pantry, he became a more creative cook and .....more economical!!

The ultimate presentation of this concept is frequently seen on cooking shows, where the chefs are presented with a few select ingredients they must use and a basic pantry. The outcomes are generally amazing productions of great creativity and imagination. My favorite show of this genre is "Chopped". While you might feel you are not ready to appear on "Chopped" you can give it a try. Check what you need or want to use in your refrigerator, check your basic pantry, and then come up with a recipe idea based on flavors you like. You'll be amazed!

If you want a reference to get you started, refer to David Joachim's "The Food Substitutions Bible" which contains over 6,500 substitutions.


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