The other day, we were entertaining guests at Les Pierres, a rarity these days of corona caution and precaution, so as a special celebration I put a nice display of appetizers on the garden table. I was thrilled that it was all to our guests’ liking, but it flabbergasted me as usual that one of their first reactions was: “You have to give me the recipe”.
This astonishment, of course, is entirely short-sighted, false to begin with and probably incredibly hypersensitive on my part. I should feel extremely flattered someone likes my experiments enough to want to recreate them, or even imitate them for that matter. Them asking for instructions should make me feel recognized for the skills I chose to expose by putting it on the table in the first place, right?
I don’t blame anyone for asking, but the ease with which this question often comes out and the timing of it, always catches me off guard. If at all, I usually stammer a list of ingredients in response, leaving half of what I used out, never on purpose but simply because I often forget what I did exactly. I don’t do recipes, I frequently add.
But in reality I read recipes all the time and even used them to learn new languages, because their structure is so familiar to me it’s like reading a children’s book. I never strictly follow them though when cooking, feeling confident enough to rely on my own memories of knocking things together before. I use this wisdom as my sermon: all my love goes into the creation process, consuming it always comes secondary.
But this is exactly the kind of vainglory I need to get rid of now that I’m putting my thoughts and experiences out there on the internet (a warm welcome to all the new followers!).
I can’t have it both ways. Today is a good day to start teaching myself to record my actions and not be so stalwart about my rejection of recipes. I’m preserving the gherkins that I harvested this morning, in two different ways: fermented and pickled in homemade vinegar. You can expect both recipes to be on our website by tomorrow. And since I feel indulgent, I might even make this a weekly thing, driven by what’s happening in Les Pierres kitchen at the time.