The road to cooking mastery is as varied as are the personalities of those who dedicate themselves to cooking. Every cook seems to adapt a unique personal approach, thus no two cooks end out preparing anything exactly the same. Each one has the own personal style, their own flavor preferences, and their own secrets to success.
Some cooks can never provide you with a recipe for what they prepare because they reinvent the recipe every time they cook it. Each time a particular item is cooked, it will be slightly different. They will add a pinch of this, and a pinch of that, whatever appeals to them at the moment, and whatever they happen to have available.
Other cooks read cookbooks as if they were novels. They develop a sense about what each ingredient will add to the final product, and they appear to be able to visualize the whole cooking procedure from start to finish. Often they will substitute key ingredients, or modify the cooking time in their head,mentally experimenting to get the flavor they want. Anytime they enter a bookstore, they will immediately beeline for the cookbook section, looking for recipe collections they don’t already have. The home library may have 50 to 250 different cookbooks.
Others will collect recipes from the newspaper or magazines. They will often have piles of recipes stuffed in envelopes, things they will try to make someday when they get a chance. The may end up with ten or twelve recipes for the same thing, each one slightly different. Some will get more sophisticated, and will store their recipes on their home computers, but most cooks aren’t that organized.
There are a legion of home cooks who are rapt Cooking Channel or U-Tube fanatics, people who can easily spend three or four hours a day watching the cooking shows. They will often cook up something just because some chef somewhere convinced them that a particular dish was easy to make and incredibly tasty. They are constantly looking for new ideas and new approaches to preparing common dishes.
There are still others who follow every recipe to the “T.” Then there are the experimenters, the ones who never follow the recipe precisely. They are constantly making substitutions, visualizing the taste as they play with the ingredients, and coming up with all sorts of interesting variations.
There are some whose cooking styles reflect recipes perfected and passed down for generations as family secrets. Their dishes have a unique character and taste that makes their particular home style cooking a feast of the senses.
There are some cooks that are constantly tasting as they go, and others that work by sense of smell. There are those who keep the dishes fairly simple, but none the less tasty, and there are others who make each dish an elaborate work of art, as much for the eyes as for nose and mouth.
This leads to infinite varieties of home cooked creations.