I was taught to cook through sight and feel, intuitively. Maybe it’s a Southern thing I don’t know. I pulled up a barstool to the range at about 8 or 9 years old and was taught to make gravy, which is weird because it wasn’t until probably a year later that I was taught to make biscuits.
I have never measured anything. I find it extremely difficult to convey a recipe to anyone. I have to actually make the dish with pen and paper nearby and try to gauge measurements as I go and, because I cook intuitively, I have to go back and adjust even the first measurements recorded due to adding a little more of this or that along the way.
I remember telling someone how to make Thousand Island dressing one time and gave them the ingredients: mayo, ketchup, relish, Worcestershire, white pepper. Then they proceeded to ask me how much and all I could think is are you kidding me? Aren’t the ingredients enough? So, I did the best I could to explain in my southern way.
“I don’t know how much you’re making but you start with the mayo and then you add enough ketchup until it is the right color and then you add enough relish until it is lumpy enough and finish it off with a little Worcestershire and white pepper - which you’ll have to guess at yourself but remember you can always add more but you can’t take away what you’ve already put in.”
I understand that not everyone knows how to cook intuitively but it really isn’t rocket science. Sure I messed up a lot of recipes as a child and found along the way my sensory gauges for cooking. I believe anyone can come to cook this way. Just try some things. Do what feels right. You’ll get more proficient with time and who cares if you mess up a couple of things?
I have loads of cookbooks and get several nice cooking magazines. I basically look to them for ideas about what to cook and scan the ingredient list and go from there…adding and omitting a few extra ingredients along the way as I envision what the final product will be. I also love going to a restaurant and having something fabulous then coming home and replicating it. I have an undeniable palette and this I do know isn’t bestowed upon all, yet you can learn to cook by sight and feel, this I’m sure of.
On this site every recipe I post I will have recently made, trying to gauge those ever important measurements for you. I hope to post recipes more frequently in the future for you.
I just want you all to try cooking intuitively a little…leave out a couple of things, replace a few, and add something new. Make the recipe your own. You’ll be amazed at what you can do with a little sensory involvement. So get out those pots and pans and whip something up!