Cooking is a vein that runs through my family. When my great-grandfather arrived from Italy, he opened a butcher shop and became known for having the best sausage in the neighborhood. While the store has long since closed, its legacy carries on through stories and the ongoing quest to recreate its recipes. We talk about the short-sightedness of not writing such things down, but it tests the memory of those who actually tasted them. They will know if we ever achieve the right combination of pork fat and spices.
Beyond those who worked for the butcher shop, many became dedicated to baking and perfecting recipes within the home. Rarely did anyone write down ingredients and processes. If a recipe was passed from one generation to the next, it was in the form of memory. The hands move like so when kneading this dough or pinching this spice. Measurements are unique to each cook, and so we think of the hands of a grandmother or great-aunt when we feel granules of salt or the ribbed surface of dried fennel.
When developing a recipe, I record it to share, but I prefer to move through the kitchen in such a way that I create my own cooking memories. I use more measuring spoons than pinches, but I recall what I reached for and tasted during each step of the process. Quickly pears brown and flavors intensify with heat. The more deliberate and timely my moves are, the better chance I have of creating something delicious.
Sharing recipes with you has become a particular joy of mine. As you move through your kitchen, you are taking some of the same steps I have made in mine. My hope is that these moves become your memories.