A SLICE OF LIFE

Lori Borgman finds the funny in ev­ery­day life, writ­ing from the heart­land of the US. Now, if she could just find her car keys…

Friday - - CONTENTS -

Our colum­nist Lori Borgman be­longs to the Nike culi­nary school – Just Cook It.

My girls com­plain about my recipes – not about how they taste, but about how they read. They say my writ­ing leaves some­thing to be de­sired. You know how well that goes over with a writer?

Like yeast bread that doesn’t rise. Like a cake that falls and cook­ies that crum­ble. You get the idea.

My recipes are not poorly writ­ten. They are de­scrip­tive. They leave room for imag­i­na­tion. And in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

The girls ob­ject to a glub of this, a pinch of that, a dash of some­thing else. They are also op­posed to a lit­tle of this and a lit­tle of that.

I learned to cook watch­ing my mother. She had a wooden recipe box for baked goods where the amounts and ra­tios are crit­i­cal, but for the most part she just cooked, or ‘whipped things up’ – an­other vague but de­light­ful cook­ing term.

My mom grad­u­ated from the Culi­nary School of Ad Lib – she was of a gen­er­a­tion that learned to cook watch­ing their moth­ers cook dur­ing hard times known as the De­pres­sion.

Like­wise, many of the things I cook I learned by watch­ing her cook. Like potato salad. You don’t even need to write the recipe down, I can just tell it to you (an­other habit I have that is frowned upon).

Boil a pot full of pota­toes and cut them up. Add a cou­ple squirts of mus­tard, a glub of vine­gar, chopped onions, chopped cel­ery, salt and pep­per, a good sprin­kle of sugar out of the sugar bowl and some big mounds of may­on­naise. Fin­ish it off with a few shakes of pa­prika and gar­nish with what­ever you have in the fridge – green olives, black olives, hard boiled eggs, pars­ley, green onions.

The girls claim the recipe is im­pos­si­ble be­cause it is not spe­cific.

My counter claim is that the lack of specifics means your potato salad never turns out the same way twice so peo­ple you serve it to never get bored.

The girls say my lack of specifics also can yield too much potato salad.

I say if you have too much potato salad, in­vite more peo­ple over.

I do ad­mit the way I write recipes is some­times stream­lined. I list the in­gre­di­ents, fol­lowed by cook­ing in­struc­tions, which of­ten read, ‘You know what to do now, right?’

Such brevity is not ac­cept­able in the days of food blogs and Pin­ter­est where ev­ery recipe comes with a myr­iad pho­tos de­tail­ing ev­ery step and de­tails in­clud­ing what brand of bak­ing soda to use, lengthy nar­ra­tives (chap­ters re­ally) about rest­less­ness, cloudy days, a love of brown eggs and the thrill of smelling good vanilla.

I am of the Nike Culi­nary School. Just cook it. I re­cently made an ap­ple­sauce cake recipe

Brevity is not ac­cept­able in the days of food blogs where ev­ery recipe comes with a myr­iad pho­tos and nar­ra­tives about rest­less­ness and cloudy days

that has been in our fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions. The recipe is writ­ten in a great-aunt’s dis­tinc­tive script on an age­ing brit­tle piece of card­board. All of the in­gre­di­ents are listed. As for direc­tions, it sim­ply says ‘Bake in a mod­er­ate oven.’

I rest my case. And my cake.

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