Monday, July 11, 2011

Recipe Perplexity Disorder

It’s Global Village Monday! Let’s visit Kitchens Around the World and observe a universal social phenomenon The Prude likes to call
Recipe Perplexity Disorder.

There, in an igloo hovering in the Arctic Circle, an Inuit woman peers at her cookbook.
She calls her neighbor over in frustration.
“How round is a rounded cupful of whale blubber?’ she asks.

In Scotland the sheepherder’s wife puzzles over a recipe.
“Exactly how much,” she muses, ‘is a handful of haggis? My size hand? Or my husband’s?”

A Greek woman, frantically trying to get dinner on the table before her sons and husband come back from a hard day of rioting in the streets, has no clue what a ‘medium-sized’ eggplant for her Moussaka would be. Medium compared to every eggplant in the world? Or just the ones in her kitchen?

A newlywed in Venice, looking through recipes as she rides the gondola to the market, wonders why Grandmother Giovanna tells her to add red wine ‘to taste’ for the Pasta Bolognese. Whose taste? Hers? Granny Giovanna’s? The gondolier’s?

In Nigeria, a teenage girl wants to cook dinner for her parent’s anniversary. Everything is going fine until she realizes with horror that she has to cook the yams ‘till firm/tender’. She blinks. Can that be right? IS there such a texture as firm/tender? She opts for frozen pizza instead.

Our tour ends with The Prude flipping desperately through recipes and wondering why Church Cookbook Ladies refuse to specify what size Jello or cream cheese box to use.

We timorous–nay–lousy cooks of the world ask only that those sharing their favorite recipe acknowledge that measurement ambiguity is our worst enemy.

Does anyone know how much a ‘dessert spoon of cornstarch’ would be?
The hundreds of cookbooks and cooking magazines that daily confuse The Prude


bethBA said...

Ooooo - I'd like an icebox like this in which to store my recipe collection!

Lori said...

I enjoyed this post and I agree. Those unclear measurements can be scary.

I don't want to devote time to a recipe that might not turn out, so (and here I reveal my cowardice) I never, never try one that lacks clarity.