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Markers in cooking

Keywords for this post:CookingTasteMarkersEssential
Markers in cooking
When it comes to cooking, there is only one real rule, and that is that there are no rules!
By that I mean that everything is possible, everything can be combined, everything or almost everything can go with everything, but you have to like it, you have to find it good.
I have friends who regularly make brown sugar pasta, just the idea makes me jump up and down, but they love it, I respect that, tastes are not debatable!

That's why the dogmas, or the canons of cooking can be shaken up when you cook and at any time, in other words you make a recipe of this and you want to put that in it? But why not, nothing should stop you, if you like it.
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Last modified on: July 3rd 2021

Markers in cooking

Of course, if you deviate from the basics of a typical recipe, it would be better not to call it by its original name, and especially not to publish it anywhere, as you might get a lot of flak if some guardians of the recipe in question spot you.


An example to illustrate this: You may know tartiflette, a very rich but very good dish from Savoy.
Basically, it's potatoes slices cooked in water, put in a gratin dish with a mix of onion, lardons and dry white wine, from Savoie if possible, cooked separately, the whole thing is topped with fresh cream and covered with half-reblochons before being put to gratinate.
A pure winter delight.

mont d'or

You can easily embroider the basic recipe, I love to replace the reblochon by another soft cheese: Mont d'or or Morbier. It's just as good I think, but here's the problem, for some people it's almost a blasphemy, and above all it's not a tartiflette anymore ! Which can be understood of course, but is it serious ? Of course not, let's call it something else, and nobody will be violated in his personal dogma, and everything will be fine.

All this to tell you that we can, with a certain look, define what the cooks/pastry cooks call the markers of a recipe, that is to say the 2, 3 or 4 or more, indispensable tastes to deserve the name of the original recipe, even if it is completely revisited.

Let's go back to our tartiflette, its markers are: Potato, onion, lardon, Reblochon (or even cream?)
A sweet example, the Black forest cake: chocolate, cream, cherry, kirsch
Tarte tatin: apples, caramel, acidulous
Carbonnade: Beef, beer
Bœuf bourguignon: Beef, red wine, carrots

boeuf bourguignon

etc. etc.

You can see that it's sometimes quite simple to determine, sometimes a bit more tricky ( cassoulet?), but it allows you to target a recipe you want to revisit while keeping its tastes and therefore its spirit, and at the same time to allow yourself one or two liberties by changing 1 or 2 markers. I say 1 or 2, because beyond that you risk doing something completely different, which is not dramatic either, but it will probably not deserve the original name.

To sum up: The markers of a recipe, i.e. its essential basic tastes that characterize it, allow you to know if, when revisiting or adapting it, you are still in the spirit of it, or if you are doing something very different, which may not fit with the original name. But who cares if you like it...

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