Understanding how to read a recipe properly is a culinary skill in its own right. While it may seem unusual, approaching a recipe with the intention of recreating it is an entirely different experience than casual reading.
I'm a firm believer that every budding chef or home cook should immerse themselves fully in a recipe to achieve the best results. At the very least, I recommend reviewing a recipe three times – though, I personally go over it five times and ask myself the following...
- Does this sound good? – Skim through the ingredients list to ensure there are no allergens or components you're averse to. Assess the time commitment, and scan the necessary tools to gauge if it's a feasible endeavor for you.
- Pantry Staples? (Optional) – Match the recipe with what's available in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. Create a shopping list, pinpointing what's missing. If you're certain you're starting from scratch, you can skip this step.
- Did I get it all? (Optional) – After you've done your grocery shopping, give the recipe another read to ensure you haven't forgotten anything essential.
- Mise en Place – This is all about preparation. Dice, measure, and segregate ingredients. Have all your tools at the ready. This stage ensures a smooth cooking process, devoid of frantic last-minute searches.
- Now, you can cook – As you embark on the actual cooking, go over the recipe again. This last perusal ensures a step-by-step, mistake-free culinary journey.
For guaranteed cooking success, ensure you at least commit to steps 1, 4, and 5. However, if you're like me, a touch meticulous in the kitchen, you might find comfort in over-preparing.
In essence, regardless of your approach, a thorough understanding of your chosen recipe is paramount. Delve deep, and let your dishes shine!