[Sca-cooks] How to test something you can't eat

Barbara Benson voxeight at gmail.com
Fri Feb 5 18:12:12 PST 2010


I have a relatively limited range of foods that I like to eat and a
wide, wide set of foods that taste like poopy to me. It is a running
joke among the culinary people in my area that frequently I will eat
less than half of the dishes that I am serving.

I frequently have people come "play in the kitchen" with me and grill
them mercilessly on the foods that they are sampling. I also will
schedule my testing of new dishes so that they come out of the
oven/off the stove shortly before my weekly SCA meetings. This way I
can take the dish to the meeting and foist it off on unsuspecting ....
volunteers. I then grill them mercilessly as to the flavor, texture
and balance of the dish.

I have even gone so far as to have a dish prepared, send it to a
meeting with my husband (because I had to stay home with an infant)
and have him pass around a small notebook so that people could write
me their input.

Once I have codified a recipe I am fairly militant to making sure that
everything is scaled properly and that I have several notebooks full
of the multiplied out recipes at the feast. That way I can hand
someone a well written recipe and have them make it, knowing that it
will come out as I want it to.

Of course, at feast there are always "sous chefs" who are willing to
taste any given dish and assist me in making final seasoning
adjustments. It is not the ideal way of doing things - but it is the
way I have found to work for me. Take asparagus - I know exactly how
to cook it so that it isn't too mushy, I have learned how to season
it. But if I try and taste it, well, I might as well lick the bottom
of my shoe. It tastes absolutely atrocious to me, and unfortunately
many other things fall into that category.

Somehow I manage to put out food that people seem to like. I think it
is because I treat cooking more as a science than as a touchy, feely

Serena da Riva

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