What is Using Mainly Spoons about?
Have you ever read a recipe and wondered why? Why does the recipe say chill for two hours? Do I really need to keep kneading this for five minutes? Would this still work if I don’t have buttermilk?
Using Mainly Spoons is about why a recipe works. It’s about reading between the lines of a recipe, to discover what’s behind the steps you are asked to follow.
Putting you in control so you can judge for yourself what you should do next.
Food is always a bit unpredictable – with any natural product there will be variation and inconsistencies. Magnify that by the different pans, ovens, weather conditions and it should be obvious that a recipe can never be completely accurate. Instead, it is only a guide.
I like to be able to figure things out. There is much joy in taking a recipe and adapting it to your own needs and tastes. But unless you know which ingredients create which effect, how can you make changes without a lot of trial and error? Its fairly easy to understand that to make something sweeter you should add sugar, but what about if you want something crisper, or thicker, or clearer?
Without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, I think you’re helpless in the face of the recipe in front of you. You have no basis to argue with it, or to disagree – which you have a perfect right to do. I hope that the posts on this site will help you to realise ‘oh, that’s how it works’ about a recipe or ‘so that’s why it says to do that’, and mean that you can start adapting and changing the recipes you find.
What sort of posts do you write?
Unlike a lot of food blogs, you won’t always find recipes here. More often, I will break down the common steps for a recipe, to describe what is happening behind the scenes and provide recipe tips to help you succeed with whichever recipe you use.
You will sometimes find recipes that I have written here too. I will occasionally post recipes by other writers, but only when I have sought permission to reproduce them. I don’t think copying recipes from books onto your blog is a very nice thing to do.
And I will sometimes write about other food books or blogs that I like, and link to interesting things to read.
Who am I?
I’m Louise, and I’m a compulsive baker, cookbook hoarder and full-on food geek.
I learnt to cook at home, and later on a six-month full-time culinary programme at Tante Marie’s cooking school in San Francisco. With a science degree and a background in IT analysis, I like to understand why a recipe works, not just how to do it. Why are the rules there and when can they be broken.
In real life, I live in London and spend a great deal of time on the tube (and do quite a bit of writing there on my phone). I work full time, typically get in about 8pm and cook dinner for me and my husband in some form or other on most nights. Baking is confined to weekends, or occasional late-night efforts.
I have a bit of a cookbook buying habit, and I love my library. You can see a list of the books in my current list on goodreads. I also use Eat Your Books to help me index and search through my collection of book and food magazine recipes.
Where should I start?
Are you looking for some great recipes to try? You can find an index of recipes or perhaps start with my award-winning hazelnut brownies or some cherry bakewell muffins. Want something to read? Try reading about why I like pastry work and baking so much. New to baking? I have a 10 step baking basics series you might like.
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You can also find me on twitter, Flickr and occasionally on Vimeo.
You can also send me comments, questions or advice here:
Just saw your post on the kneading of bread and see you’re Dan fan too 🙂
You sound like you share my problem – want to cook lots of things but there’s never enough time!
In my early 20’s I went through the phase of wanting to cook restaurant food at home, you know what I mean? Present a beautiful plate of food taking two whole days to prepare and starting with veal stock…kind of thing?
Now things have changed and finding good quality ingredients doing the least to them to enhance them is the priority but you know now and again the ‘wannabe’ chef still wants to come out 🙂
nice to bump into your blog.