• Campbell Whitman

Cooking Someone Else's Recipe

When I was a young chef, I used to use recipes from real, professional chef's who were very well-educated in the ways of cultivating recipes because I, myself was yet to also be well-versed in the comings and goings of the kitchen.

But, at a certain point in one's culinary career, one can learn enough to only use those recipe books as inspiration for future meals. You don't need to be told how to make a dish anymore and the chef/author of any recipe book is not likely to poke their head through the pages and speak to you, whether they approve of your choices or not.


I reached that level a long time ago, but occasionally still, I will see a recipe and decide to make it in said chef's way because I want to try something new. It's not forced upon me as a task I have to do.


Being a new parent is similar because you are looking at others for inspiration or help until you, yourself have gathered enough information to go at it alone. Eventually people stop telling you how to cook and/or what to make and they enjoy your food, without questioning it.


But, being a step-parent is like being a professional chef who isn't allowed to use their own ingredients, techniques & well-trained skills. You are expected to follow a recipe to a T, while getting harshly judged for your own interpretations of the dish, or worse, ruining the dish all together. It's very delicate knife work and without the freedom to experiment as you can with your own recipes, you stay frustrated. And the frustration only grows when others feel the need to constantly critique your own interpretation of someone else's dish.

I am used to working in a dangerous environment, with open fires, burning hot equipment, and sharp tools of all sizes that can take off a limb or two, but cooking someone else's recipe is a dangerous challenge with which I am not always comfortable. Especially when you take all of its criticisms and dislike of styles along for the ride that is step-parenting ....


Occasionally, I have to choose to refrain from cooking for a while, or until it gets easier to be judged or have the finger pointed at you because, simply put, you are an easy target. But, a word to the not-so-wise, It doesn't.


But, my own recipes, they are coming together just fine! Even if one of them doesn't listen for shit....