Clumsy in the kitchen, that’s me. It doesn’t stop me from compulsively watching the cooking channel, though. I watch, and look at the chefs going through their paces, thinking it should be easy. That is until I get the ingredient list and try and do it myself. It seems that there is always something missing, a secret to these restaurant style recipes. Maybe I haven’t got the right tool, or I can’t get that magic ingredient at the supermarket. Then, I think about it some more; what I am really after is something more familiar, like from a restaurant close by. Why don’t they ever seem to cook those recipes? Well, of course, if you could cook them at home you wouldn’t need to go out.
The chain restaurants all have their own signature dishes, and the way they are prepared is shrouded in secrecy. If you were to ask the people who work in the kitchens, they’d tell you that they don’t even know what the ingredients of the secret sauce is, because it comes ready prepared. The owners don’t want to give the game away.
Given that, you’d think that the recipes were hard to prepare, and in fact that is exactly what I thought. They’d need some obscure ingredient, or even worse, something not available in the supermarket. And then, of course, there is the whole assembly to think of. I fully admit to my friends that I have three favorite recipes: Add boiling water; heat in microwave or heat in oven. To say my cooking skills are lacking is an understatement.
The reason I’ve never been able to improve my cooking skills is lack of time. We just won’t mention all that time spent in front of the cooking channel, since that’s dreaming after all. The fact of the matter is that the reason I didn’t cook more often or more complicated things was that I had convinced myself that it would be hard. It isn’t, I just had poor instructions and wild expectations of the tools and skills required.
A month ago I came across a recipe book called “America’s Most Wanted Recipes”. It turned out to be a book with a whole heap of chain restaurant recipes in it. Since it was a download, and relatively cheap, I added it to my collection. At least it wasn’t gathering dust on the shelf like most of my other cookbooks. I got curious and scanned through it. I was surprised at what I saw. The recipes looked easy enough. There wasn’t anything fancy about most of them…and then I tried Applebee’s Babyback Ribs.
I think I may have to revise my three favorite recipes. It was easy. I was wrong and cooking is easy, especially the secret restaurant recipes. Even I managed to do it! If you want a great cookbook, give “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” a go, and you won’t be disappointed, even if you are like me and clumsy in the kitchen.
If you’d like to find out more about copycat recipes and how to use them best to your advantage have a look at my article, Why bother cooking copycat recipes
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