Breaking Dependence from Recipes and Using Common Sense

If I was ever cool enough to write a “cookbook”, this would be the subtitle. Look, I like recipes just as much as anyone else. In my spare time I’ll flip through magazines or browse websites looking for cool ideas. When I’m baking or cooking something complicated, that’s a different story, recipes are my friend.

However, what I see more often than not are people who are afraid to cook because they don’t have a recipe. Or people who are uncomfortable with my site because I don’t list exactly how much of each ingredient you should put in. In my humble opinion, this results in recipe dependent cooks who are afraid to use their brains and cook what they actually like. Once I heard someone say, “Oh this recipe looks so good, but they put capers in it. I don’t like them, so I’m not even going to try it.” What? Really?

You’re Not an Idiot.

You have more culinary common sense than you think. Oh, that could be a nice subtitle…”Using Your Culinary Common Sense”. I like it.

Keep recipe books for ideas, even reference them when you need a hint, but I want to encourage you to stop being dependent on recipes all the time, use your brain, use your common sense, use your creativity and your preferences, and make awesome food. You’ll start to feel pretty empowered.

About Ande Truman

Ande has made mistakes in the kitchen since she could reach the countertop. From a restaurant head cook, to cooking meals for friends, to her own solo plate, experimenting & learning drives her. She's also a freelance graphic & web designer, photo/videographer, guitar player and wanderlust-er. In her spare time, she works a full-time 8 to 5 cubicle job. She's the creator of Broke & Healthy.

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Categories: Cooking Techniques, Mindset

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  1. i’m thinking that some of that is personality based. i’ve always loved to bake, but never really learned how to ‘cook’. when i got married, we had the same 5 or 6 dinners on rotation for years. i can’t remember when i finally started getting interested in making more than spaghetti and meatloaf (not together), but i could not make anything without a recipe. i didn’t know what went together. i didn’t know how long things needed to cook. in general, i’m a very follow the instructions kind of person. i like knowing what’s ‘allowed’ or not. and i hate messing up. especially food. makes me nuts. so, i’ve been an ‘i have to have a recipe’ kind of chick for a long time. (not one who doesn’t try a recipe if it has something i don’t like in it. i just leave that ingredient out) but recently, probably within the last 6-9 months. i’ve finally felt comfortable coming up with my own ideas or venturing down a bunny trail with a recipe i’ve used before. i think i just needed to feel more comfortable in the kitchen and more knowledgeable about food and cooking in general before i was able to experiment on my own. i’m really glad i am more adventurous now! i’m made several things in the past month or so that have been awesome. all that to say, again. i really think some of it has to do with personality. i think this is most probably the longest comment i’ve ever made. lol, your welcome. ha!

    • Ha! That’s okay! I like all comments, long or short 🙂 This is exactly why I want to do a cookbook about this. In fact, I bought the URL a while back called The idea would be to show people some basics of cooking different things like meats, pasta, veggies, etc. as a starter… using your sight, smell, touch, etc. to just KNOW when something is done or not. I would also talk to people about how to use your common sense and intuition about certain things in cooking. For example, you know that if you’re cooking a piece of chicken in a skillet, you don’t add 2 cups of oregano or 1 single granule of salt. I’d be willing to bet that most people (sorry, especially women) intuitively know how much oregano or salt to add, but they don’t feel confident enough to experiment or trust themselves.

      I DEFINITELY agree that it’s all about personality too. That’s why I’m not a good baker… because I’m SUPER right-brained and I don’t like to follow instructions unless I fully understand them. I like to use my feelings and intuition to create something instead of following a list.

      I could seriously talk about this forever but now my reply is becoming the longest reply ever 😀

  2. Thanks, Trish!

  3. Amen, Sista!
    I feel the exact same way. You can never truly cook on the cheap if you are dependent on a recipe. So glad i stumbled onto your blog – very fun. Keep up the good work!