This rant has been on my mind for many weeks, and it's not limited to oil. Just now, I saw a star chef recommend "just a bit" of flour and proceed to empty about a quarter of the pack into the bowl! Star chefs or home cooks, they seem to lose their sense of proportion when it comes to presenting a recipe. I often wonder whether I should cut the home cook some slack - it's probably her/his first time on TV, and as most home cooks are wont, they go by feel/rough/personal measures rather than tablespoons and cups and ounces, but then they shouldn't use those terms, should they? What's wrong with the star chefs then? Give up on weights and measures because, training all done, they've discovered what they really learnt after all those years in catering college is to cook with the senses, have discovered a healthy disregard for the stifling confines of measuring bowls and decided recipe be damned, viewers be confounded, it's the free spirit that matters!!! And makes for great showmanship.
Just this morning, I followed a recipe from a book to the letter, didn't even stint on the three tablespoons of oil it mentioned. That's a lot of vegetables, I told myself in justification, and consolation - a small head of cauliflower, two medium potatoes and 100 gms of peas, not to mention two tablespoons of coriander powder and one teaspoon of cumin powder and some other whole spices. What did I end up with - a scorched and singed pan, oil that got absorbed in the 2+1 spoons of powdered spices, charred vegetables and an inedible dish that I have not the heart to throw out because, let's face it, the potatoes and peas at least are somewhat edible, if not redeemable. Don't you writers try the recipes before you put them in print? Don't the publishers? Oh yeah, and pinches of this and that - now, those are tablespoons and teaspoons and even cups, in reality; not pinches or smidgeons or soupcons. The only pinch there is the one I give myself, hard, to make sure I'm not seeing double!
And what of those recipes which call for just 50 gm of cheese but positively ooze the stuff in the end result? I do not claim much knowledge of cheese. Where I live, I don't get much variety beyond cheddar and mozzarella unless I travel a considerable distance and pay obscene amounts for packs that are dangerously close to their expiry date, but how far can cheese crawl? I mean, the melty, spreading variety exists, but 50 gm can't cover an entire pizza, can it? I WANT MY CHEESE TO FLUFF! I WANT IT TO OOZE, I WANT TO BE ABLE TO DIGGGG INTO THE BAKE AND COME UP WITH OOEY GOOEY LAYERS, I WANT THE DISH TO LOOK CHEESY, AND I WANT IT ALL IN 50 GM!
And what's with all these TV cooks? Why are they so lax when it comes to using fuel judiciously, and using their cookware wisely? Why oh why do they put an empty pan on the fire, turn away and start talking to us? Because the "tad" of oil they're putting in the pan won't make a difference anyway?
Rant Weights/Measures Tablespoons/teaspoons Cups Humour