What makes a good recipe? One that you want to make time and again? For me, it’s a recipe that tastes great and turns out consistently well. I also don’t like overly complicated instructions or fussy ingredients, although ingredients matter, such as the freshest produce you can find.
A good recipe usually has memory wrapped around it, too, don’t you think? I love being able to make a recipe again after some time and have it be just as good as the last time I made it. I like being able to recall a delicious dish and then recreate it, or flip through my recipe file and pull out an old standard that satisfies once more.
I’m working on a cookbook project that is a compilation of my family’s recipes and those from my family growing up. I’m cooking a lot of them again and mostly finding that they are as good as I remember. But recently I made a cake that I have lots of good taste memories around it but was disappointing to me. I’m going to give it one more chance and then it doesn’t make the cut. I’m not sure if my taste buds have changed or if I’ve outgrown it, or worse, it just was never that good.
Part of the memory is the smell and the taste of the food and when you have the chance to eat those foods again, they can take you straight back to another place and time. I bet if you think of a favorite childhood dish you can both smell and taste it in your memory right now. I remember once making a pan of from-scratch brownies and having my brother tell me he preferred box brownies. At first, I was hurt, but I think it was the preservatives he tasted and preferred because we grew up eating brownies from a box mix. That same brother started playing around with our standard homemade ice cream recipe last summer because he now prefers it less sweet. Our tastes really do change as we grow. It’s one of the reasons kids will reject foods but come to eat them later in life.
Did you know that we lose taste buds as we age? Have you ever noticed that elderly people like to add a bunch of salt to their food or prefer sweets? The loss of taste buds is behind that trend. My father-in-law eats slices of raw jalapeno at lunch every day, and my own dad, who never really ate desserts, became a real sweet eater in his later years. We really do grow and change in so many ways all through our lives. Here is that brownie recipe (Brownies) which I stand by as a really good from-scratch brownie. I hope you enjoy it!
Come to the table! Julie