WIAW And Some Thoughts: Tweak The Recipe, Or Stay True?

I learned about What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)  from a blog I follow and love, The Pink Rachel. I went over to the parent site, took hold of the concept and decided to try it out on my own. I think it is a great way to keep posting regularly, and fits in so well with our love for food.

So yesterday morning, breakfast was Honey Loops. Seriously, you do not need to see a picture of that.

Lunch was egg masala with jeera rice. Egg masala is a spicy and tasty dish which can be made in a jiffy. I will post the recipe soon.

Dinner- chicken curry and phulkas, Easy-peasy. Yeah, the photo is all blurry. Meh.

What I have been thinking about is this-recipe tweaking and adaptation. I was browsing through one of my favourite blogs, and a discussion in the comments section piqued my interest. When you find something you want to try, is it ok to change the recipe, or is it disrespectful to the person who created it by adapting it without trying the original first? (In cases where you cannot source some ingredients, you have no choice but to adapt.)

I had never thought of this before I came across this post. NEVER.

I am a tweaker extraordinaire, and I do it for 3 reasons-

1. Because some of the required ingredients may not be available on hand;

2. Because I want to bring my own element as I plate up- however minuscule it may be;

3. A combination of the above.

Most of the stuff I have tried out here are adapted recipes, especially under the ‘baking’ category. In some cases, I just wanted to add something extra, like with the orange and chocolate chip pound cake. I love chocolate chips. I really do. In the case of the custard tea cake, I stuck to 90% of the original recipe- I just could not source the rhubarb, so used mangoes instead.

Having said that…I have still not bothered to try the orange pound cake as just an orange pound cake. Every subsequent time I made it, I added chocolate chips and did it my way. Same for these spiced chocolate chip cookies. I think I should make a batch, sticking to just the original, and appreciate the goodies as they are.

On a subconscious level…am I tweaking recipes so much because I want a mental stamp of approval, a ‘gold star’ (Happiness Project, anyone?) for trying to put in my own two pinches? (Two pinches seems more apt from a cook’s point of view. Had I been a banker, I would have stuck to two cents.)

Do I change recipes because in my mind, I do not want to see myself as a copy-paster?

Perhaps.

I must try a recipe as it is…because if it turns out right and tastes great, then there’s nothing to be ashamed of. One is still showing the world that One Can Cook. And of course, I still have the option of adding chocolate chips to everything I make, just in case I want to feel more ‘me.’

So…your turn. Do you tweak or do you stay true to the recipe?

(At this point, I am really hoping that someone lots of people are Googling ‘tweak+recipe’ at the same time.)

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20 thoughts on “WIAW And Some Thoughts: Tweak The Recipe, Or Stay True?

  1. I’ve been cooking long enough, Meenakshi that I can tweak a recipe without making it full on the first time. I know our tastes and can adapt a recipe from Like to LOVE! I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all, in fact, I expect people to do it to my recipes.

    • That is true…the more we cook, the more comfortable and confident we become doing things our own way! I am glad that most people like to change things around, whether it is to suit their tastes or for convenience. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  2. I tend to first make/bake a recipe as directed, unless — as you mention — I can’t find one of the ingredients or just don’t like it, etc. If the recipe is good enough to try making again, then I typically throw in my own two pinches! I think that’s normal and natural for most of us. And I don’t want to simply be a “copy-paster,” either. (Love that, by the way!)

  3. whaaaaaat? a butcher, baker, curry maker? what a fabulous repertoire! we are obsessed with curry in my home…will be perusing your blog for recipes!

  4. I’m a bit like Barbara, I usually have a nosy round at a few similar recipes then head off to muddle them all together into my own thing. I think for me, it’s mostly my inability (reluctance) to measure ingredients that comes into play with this one. I’m a chuck it all in and hope for the best, so if I was baking (when I ever have an oven again…) I would probably follow the recipe exactly as I’m not as good at it and the measurements are more important, but for savoury, I’d be more likely to chop and change a bit. Also, thanks for the mention – that was a nice surprise when I popped over to see what you were up to this morning!

    • I understand what you mean- I also fall into the trap of getting too lazy to measure correctly! So often if a recipe calls for just 100 grams of choppe d chocolate, I add in some more :) Oh and savoury, exp Indian cooking is all about touch-feel-taste-adjust!

  5. You’ve raised some interesting points, Meenakshi! I think it’s completely okay to adapt recipes as you go along…that’s the beauty of cooking in my opinion! I often do for the same reasons as you do: to suit my palate and to incorporate ingredients which I do have on hand! However if I’m blogging about it, I will always give credit to the original recipe and say that I have adapted it or been inspired by it!

    • I am glad that there are more bloggers out there who share my thoughts and experiences. And you’re right- the beauty of cooking and baking lies in being able to create new flavours that you enjoy even more!

  6. I loved what you ate!! Do you ever snack?? I’m going to have to do a post on that one;) I do tweak recipes.. sometimes I look at two or three different ones, get the gist and invent my own. Other times, I bake/cook it just as is. (Unless I forget) I always cite my sources.. and give them plenty of praise for having found or created an amazing recipe. That sends new visitors over to their blog:D

    • Oh an amalgamation of a few recipes! I have that too. I do snack as a matter of fact…a little too much at times! I am one of those people who feels this terrible need to sip or munch on something when I am in front of the TV. I try to spend less time in front of it now!!

  7. It really depends on the recipe and where I got it for me. With cooking it’s easier to leave something out or substitute… and with baking it’s easier to add something wonderful like orange zest or chocolate chunks or macadamia nuts… as long as the basic rising ingredients stay the same. With all of that being said, I’m way more likely to change some random bit I snagged from allrecipes than I am to make changes to something that I’m using from Joy the Baker or other reputable sources. I will say that I absolutely can’t stand it when food bloggers don’t cite their sources. There is one blog that I really enjoy, but she rarely cites the source and I have a hard time believing she just invented all that wonderfulness with zero outside information. Pet peeve. The egg masala looks wonderful!! Looking forward to it :)

    • Great point Heather. You need to give credit where credit is due!! Whether it is allrecipes or Tony Bourdain himself. I adapt a lot, but I should take a classic recipe for my next post and execute it word for word.

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