There is a trick for cooking esoteric dishes – dishes that will wow your guests and surprise yourself – Cook something from a distant land. Now present it and people will look at it with wonder. This surprise element is especially useful during potluck dinners.
What the amateur cook can do is create his average-tasting dishes by looking at recipes from esoteric places while making sure that none of the people who show up are from these places.
Why it works?
There is a travel bug in everyone. Everyone wishes that they were world travelers. And so, by bringing exotic ideas from different places the amateur can help them pursue their dreams. Since the amateur cook can talk better than she can cook, he/she must read up some history of the place. And lace the dish with stories. And now if the amateur had some connections to the place either because he/she visited them or some ancestry can be dug up, then that adds to the allure and authenticity.
These dishes may or may not satisfy the taste buds but they are not meant to do that. These dishes cater to the adventurous spirit.
The advantage the amateur cook gets is that none of the people know what proportion of what should be present in the dish. Everyone is puzzled and everyone is excited. And if the amateur cook keeps at it, he or she can make a name for herself as the “creator of exotic dishes’, one with wide experience. And this fame then can cover up all the mistakes made in the kitchen.
How to become a creator of exotic dishes?
Of course, there is some work involved here. Digging up recipe books, looking for ingredients and attempting to create things that one has no idea of. So, one can ask why not spend the time in learning to cook properly? The advantage with these exotic dishes is that they can all be done with average commitment. Since the outcome can never be measured, one can get away.
Now, all the problems of controlling the oven, cutting the ingredients still haunt us. But we have no standards. As long as we can protect the dish from the extreme conditions of burning the food or adding too much salt etc., one can cruise through.
In addition, there are coverups for any mishaps depending on the region. Spices, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, whipped cream and such can be used to correct any defects.These dishes may or may not satisfy the taste buds but they are not meant to do that. These dishes cater to the adventurous spirit.
Taking it to the next level
As one advances in this manner, one can learn procuring ingredients from distant lands. Ask loved ones to bring ingredients from their travels. And if one does that, you must let the world know. Because when you choose a career in this manner, the important thing is advertisement.
The amateur cook will realize that whereas there are many names, from different regions, most of the times the principles are the same. Pick up the grain that is easily available in the region. Corn, wheat, rice, etc. Make a powder out of it. Add water and make dough. Take the dough and roll them with a rolling pin. Now one has a choice. Deep fry it or bake it or grill it. And use the appropriate name.
A variation to this, take dough, roll it, make a cup with the rolled dough, add some filling, close the cup and again deep fry it, grill it or bake it. What you add then as filling also brings along a new name!
With these two principles, bulk of the food of the world can be recreated. If the cook understands this, he can then blissfully experiment no matter where the recipe came from.
The amateur now gets to stand in front of the oven and daydream about these places. He /she can imagine the fertile fields far away, and the sweet labor of plucking vegetables and harvesting grain in those sunny regions. This dream then fits well into the wandering mind.
The guests are delighted because they have now stories to take back home.
The Author Ravi Krishnan lives in Cupertino and writes about his cooking adventures for IMC!
Featured Image Source: Flickr