by Laurie Ann Burton
I never really considered myself a great cook, but I always thought I could follow directions and make pretty much anything. I am not afraid to cook with new foods, expensive foods or even foods I don’t eat. So I just assume that makes me a pretty good cook – and that’s all that is really need to test recipes right?
Recipe testing is about reading the recipe, making it according to the directions and then giving feedback about the recipe and the resulting dish. I discovered during the making of Capture the Coast that while I may be a pretty good cook, I am a terrible recipe tester. As it turns out, I don’t measure very accurately – no leveling of dry ingredients in my kitchen! I tend to eyeball things I don’t want to have to clean – dirty my clean measuring spoons for a tablespoon of oil, no way! And I just make the recipe to fit the pots, pans or baking sheets that I have – chicken that is cooked on a baking rack – don’t have one of those, will use a baking sheet instead.
Most of my attempts turned out just fine, it wasn’t until I was being grilled by my committee on the method that I started to see the error of my ways. I can assure you that during the development of the cookbook, I became a better tester, but now that it is over, I am still the same old quasi-measuring cook that I always was! Hey, it’s just Jackson (my black lab) and me at my house and he ain’t complaining!