Last night we decided to test a couple of recipes. This will be the third time for the baked Samosa and the fourth for Tuscan pizza dough. To translate recipes created in restaurants, or even commercial style home ranges, one must consider the different types of cooking equipment people use. Baking at 400º F in our Wolf range has very different results than the small four burners most people use, even without convection. How well burners emanate heat, along with insulation and radiant reflection, can alter a recipe enough to make for an undercooked or overcooked culinary nightmare. This is where experience helps. If possible, it is preferable to prepare a few simple dishes in unfamiliar ranges before attempting complex or detailed preparations. Even on the stove top, burner design, BTU rating, pan thickness and design are significant differences people run into. We keep this in mind when testing, along with possible confusing instructions. Consistency is obvious, third grade English is not always apparent, but mandatory.
Reminiscing about the variety of kitchens I’ve stirred pots in, the many different ways to prepare food captivated my thoughts. Wood-fired stoves, open coals, tiny hot plates, camping stoves, rock pits and solar drying are some of the more unusual methods I have used to apply heat to food. One time, I cooked in the back of an early 1960s era Greyhound bus that had been outfitted with a kitchen. Not that unusual in itself, except for the fact that we were freewheeling down the highway at sixty miles an hour. This required one hand on the pot while stirring with another. Not a feat to be replicated!
More commonly, I prepared food on most styles of home stoves and commercial ranges dating from the 1930s (Detroit Jewel and original Garlands), to the latest La Cornue and Wolf ranges. Every stove has a personality, just as every kitchen does as well. As a cook, it is an exciting challenge every time I greet a new stove or kitchen. Maybe I need to get a life, but with true foodie vision, cooking is life giving!