Hey ya’ll, it’s Sam, Aliya’s brother, checking in for his guest blog post while Aliya’s in Israel and stuff!
One of the most interesting parts of the Bonar Family Residency is our style of cooking. Like many things in my household, I didn’t quite realize how weird what we did was until I got to college and everyone stared in disbelief.
So what is this signature Bonar style, you ask? Improvisation!
Recipes? Who needs ‘em! Measurements? Eye-ball it! No butter? Mix up a little almond butter with corn-starch, honey, maple syrup, and bananas… I do it all the time I swear it works.
As a novice chef back in the days of my residency, I thought this was just the way people cooked. We generally are missing a lot of standard ingredients in our kitchen, and instead have a plethora of strange, wonderful, and interesting ones no one has ever heard of. This makes cooking either 1)a game of making up the craziest and most innovative mix of ingredients the world’s ever seen or, 2) if we have to follow a recipe, trying to at least use half of the right ingredients (on a good day).
I was recently in my kitchen when my roommate was making some sort of chicken recipe which called for 2 cups of onions. He got all upset about such a stupid measure of the amount of onions and began to reach for our measuring cups. I said, “Hey, wait a sec, lemme have a look…. Yeah that could use about one more small one.” The idea of using measuring cups for something like onions was super silly. They’re onions. Whatever! It’ll turn out fine either way. My roommate had other opinions about “following” the recipe and “trying” to achieve a certain result so you can experiment “later” once you “understand” the recipe “as is”.
Well I say, P’shaw!
Although I get what he’s saying, it takes all the fun out of cooking for me. In the Bonar household, recipes are outlines – guides so you don’t make pancakes while trying to make muffins, but always with room for improvement. Cooking ain’t rocket science and everything you make should have a little of your flair in it. You shouldn’t have to worry about how it’ll come out because it won’t be bad necessarily. Just …. different.
Anyway, what I’m trying to get at here is: don’t just cook, dance. Live a little. Throw some umeboshi in there, replace that whole milk for soy, add cucumbers to the pasta sauce. It won’t kill ya! And hey, maybe you’ll make something totally new and cool and totes delish (as Aliya would say). It works pretty well for us over at the Bonar Family Residency.