The “Fake” Recipe Debacle

I was looking for a recipe for chicken pot pie earlier. Now, I don’t need a recipe for chicken pot pie– it’s basically chicken and veggies in a pie crust baked in the oven. But I wanted to see how different cooks prepare them. I figured I would see variations in the type of vegetable used, the way to prepare the gravy, and the type of pastry used for the crust. But I didn’t come across much of that at all. Most of the recipes I came across utilized canned cream soup and frozen pie shells. Frozen peas. Rotisserie chicken. And I got to thinking. Is that really what a recipe is? I just don’t think so. Those are more like instructions– “Take your frozen piecrust out of the box. Cut up your rotisserie chicken from the deli counter. Dump in a few bags of frozen mixed veggies. Pour a can of cream of chicken soup on top. Bake in the oven.” The oven part is the only part even vaguely related to cooking. A recipe is supposed to tell you how to prepare your ingredients– “Peel and chop your vegetables into a particular size. Mix up your pie crust, roll it out, fit it into the pan….” It is supposed to take some measure of detail, attention and love, not just opening bags and boxes. I know having the time to cook is a big issue for some. But does it really take so long to peel and chop a potato? And doesn’t it take better when it’s fresh? Maybe I sound like a food elitist here, or maybe I’m just old-fashioned. But if the entire recipe is composed of just opening boxes, bottles, bags and cans– it’s not a recipe anymore!

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2 thoughts on “The “Fake” Recipe Debacle

  1. i agree with this. i don’t know why people think it’s so difficult to just cook with fresh ingredients. it may be hard the first time if you are unsure how to hold a knife and it will probably take a little longer, but OF COURSE, it will get easier every time you do it. i think people are also afraid to learn new things. plus, let’s face it, american food culture for the most part does not (and hasn’t for a long time) truly value quality food and cooking.

  2. As English words go, “debacle” is fine one!

    Yeah, I’ve dabbled with “cooking” here and there, as an abstract thing (like, a cooking phase) in pre-tiny farming life. This year, though, I’m finally getting around to collecting recipes, trying them, and giving out my favorites with the veggies I’m growing. I think cooking is a natural development from growing food in a hands-on way, whether you ever “liked” cooking or not…

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