Sunday, February 14, 2016

What does my way of research look like.. and what have I been learning

     A recent discussion has gotten me thinking about a good many things, like what does a person interested in cooking's research look like, and while I can not speak for others I can speak for myself. To me my research entails a good many things, first of course is my primary sources (even in translation), second discussion, third postulation (I guess also part of the second) and fourth trial and error. 

Primary sources:
     To me it is not enough to have skimmed the recipes but to have read all the little bits as well. Since I work primarily in late period there is usually a lot of "notes" in the sources I have. Small tidbits that help me understand the circumstances in which dishes were cooked. I also like to read all the recipes, just like you would a regular book. This gives me a good foundation on the process of cooking the foods, when they deviated for something "special" and when it was just cooking as usual. Having a breadth of primary sources has really helped me understand the spectrum and evolution of how food was prepared. Multiple sources from the same time period but different cultures gives a good glimpse into how food, like fashion, moved through europe. As well as the spices,ingredients, and methods of preparation. All important aspects when one is redacting.

Discussion and Postulation:
     It always helps to speak with others on a subject if you want a wider view of opinion and as all redactions are a matter of conjecture, it is best to gather as much information as possible. Postulation is important to me as there is too much given and taken as "Gospel". We do not learn and do not grow unless we question the status quo. This may mean forming opinions that people will not like but do not be afraid of this but instead try to embrace it to learn and educate at the same time.

Trial and error:
     This is what this blog was originally designed to be for. My experimentation and musings on redacting recipes to modern form. While many of my redactions have been "on" (in my opinion) with only one or two tries, I have had some that took me many attempts (soup of chickpeas I am looking at you!) and some that I am still not really sure if I am happy with. This is a culmination of many of the above factors. By reading about and discussing methods, ingredients, success and failures, I have been able to learn and adapt my own cooking before I have even laid my hands on ingredients. My background in modern cooking helps I am sure as well. I have been cooking since I could see of the pot. Placed on a stepstool and asked to stir, I was always welcome in the kitchen as an observer or an extra set of hands when I was little and encouraged to experiment on my own when I reached the age to be able to do so. While I have no formal training on a high school class in "culinary arts" behind me I have a desire to learn and try new things.

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