Sunday, August 15, 2010


This spring, while competing in the Real Women of Philadelphia competition, I went outside the box when it comes to recipe creation and experimentation. I've always been one of those chefs/cooks/ego-centric culinary Gods (hahahah) that believed that if I stuck to a certain coq-au-vin (chicken in red wine for neophytes) recipes, that I was attaining the ultimate in gastronomic magnitude....I was so very, very wrong.  Now, for a stubborn person like myself, admitting that I stuck to actual recipes for too long, is painful.  It is painful because like all 20/20 hindsight is it sharply, and not exactly flatteringly, critical. When one knows the basic theories of culinary knowledge, one should let one's creative instincts fly, right? No, no such free-flying, seat-of-the-pants endeavors for me! Which is why I am, potentially more than I should be, quite thrilled about one of the dishes I created for the contest.  It was a cream-cheese enhanced version of a Spanish favorite...Paella. The results, I must say, exceeded all expectations...

I have to say, having had such a history in the epidemiology of dish-creation in general, I have to say how pleased I was, both in terms of authentic-tasting flavors, and the incorporation of a heretofore unheard-of ingredient (cream cheese) in Paella. I DID IT! I----seasoned scaredy cat,  recipe follower, done did it! Ok, while my ego is still at less-than-Freudian levels, I should have baked it for a shorter time... (perfectionist, much?), I was still  quite chuffed (for Americans, thrilled) at the results.

My whole point here is that I had to go out of my limiting, recipe following self to allow the TRUE gastronome to emerge, take over, and realize that after thirty years of learning the rules, per se, that you CAN, in fact, create something that may have never been done before, and will still be delicious, and true to its culinary roots.

What did you do that was outside your culinary box? Tell me!

Eat well, my friends, and start trusting in yourself, too.

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