I was cooking from a new recipe yesterday and came across something that makes me crazy. Somehow I forgot to note this last year in my instructions for cookbook authors, although it is a longstanding pet peeve of mine. In fact, it's not just a pet peeve; it's almost a zoo.
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE.
Don't tell me that! Tell me how much to put in! YOU'RE the chef! You're the one who knows how it's supposed to taste! It's your stupid recipe! Take ownership! How much do YOU put in?? TELL ME!
|JUST TELL ME! JUST TELL ME! GAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!|
I promise you, chef, that if I like the recipe and think it needs more or less seasoning than you recommend, I will adjust it the next time. And some recipes, like a salad, I suppose anyone can drop in a little salt and pepper and add more at the table if need be. But that's harder with something like mashed potatoes, where you have to keep mixing the heavy, mostly-solid mass, especially if you're making anything like a large quantity. And what if you're baking something like a bread pudding? You can't really taste that until it's cooked. How am I supposed to adjust the salt and pepper then, smart guy?
Please! Think of the novice cook. I'm not a novice, but weren't we all once? Someone who's never made mashed potatoes cannot even give you a ballpark figure on how much seasoning to use. A tablespoon? An eighth? A tablespoon? A cup? Aiiieee!
I understand that ingredients of prepared foods, from cheeses to broth to bread, may vary in their salt content, and that's why you don't want to commit to a measurement. Well, tough. You're talking about a slight variation to the added salt, but a newbie may make a huge variation out of ignorance. Help a brother out!
Honestly, chefs, and this goes for food magazines as well, unless you're describing your recipes as "advanced," please just spell out how much of everything to use, okay?
Addendum 1: This also goes for restaurants. Piping hot food arrives, too hot to touch, and then the piano leg comes out:
How the hell should I know? I haven't touched it yet! It's burning hot! Go away! Tell the chef to put his own damn pepper in next time! Why am I doing his work for him?
Addendum 2: Not really related, but: I mentioned over dinner to the lovely Mrs. Key that some people trying to cut carbs are making mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. She said "When hell freezes!" I love her.