Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gopnik Just Cooking Up Trouble

Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker obviously has too much time on his hands.

In his Nov. 23 article (don't ask me how it's posted already!) "What's the Recipe? Our Hunger for Cookbooks," he spends a grueling 4,500+ words overanalyzing and trashing cookbooks:

Handed-down wisdom and worked-up information remain the double piers of a cook’s life. The recipe book always contains two things: news of how something is made, and assurance that there’s a way to make it, with the implicit belief that if I know how it is done I can show you how to do it. The premise of the recipe book is that these two things are naturally balanced; the secret of the recipe book is that they’re not. The space between learning the facts about how something is done and learning how to do it always turns out to be large, at times immense. What kids make depends on what moms know: skills, implicit knowledge, inherited craft, buried assumptions, finger know-how that no recipe can sum up. The recipe is a blueprint but also a red herring, a way to do something and a false summing up of a living process that can be handed on only by experience, a knack posing as a knowledge. We say “What’s the recipe?” when we mean “How do you do it?” And though we want the answer to be “Like this!” the honest answer is “Be me!” “What’s the recipe?” you ask the weary pro chef, and he gives you a weary-pro-chef look, since the recipe is the totality of the activity, the real work. The recipe is to spend your life cooking.

Read more HERE

I think someone needs to get over the fact that he can't cook. There's nothing wrong with using a cookbook, for goodness sake. Cookbooks are a step-by-step guide to cooking--it's how we learn! Sure, there are a million different recipes for the same meal but that's the beauty of it all--you can always mix and match recipes, add your own flavors, and substitute things you don't like, to create something new. But you need a foundation recipe in order to do that.

I honestly don't understand why Mr. Gopnik is so up-in-arms about here. He's just wasting his energy.

Let the people cook already!

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