September 17, 2009

Rules of Perfection

1.  The recipe will be followed.  Shortcuts will not be taken, techniques will be followed.  Measurements will be precise.  There shall be no second-guessing; Heston put a lot of work into his search for perfection, and I must not mess it up with haphazard slap-dashery.

 

2.  Whenever possible, the same ingredients will be used.  I will do my best to use the same flours as Heston, the same oils, meats, and vegetable varietials.  Realistically though, I live in Dubai, and I’m not able to pop down to the local farmer’s market for fresh, local meats and produce (though there are non-supermarket sources for food, like the fish market and fruit and vegetable market, lots of the items there are still imported from more agriculture-friendly climes).  Additionally, Dubai’s carbon footprint is enormous.  When I can’t find the exact ingredient, I will do my absolute best to source the best possible equivalent, local where possible.  I’m not going to break the bank and add to environmental woes by specially importing any items unless they’re absolutely essential and I cannot find a reasonable substitute here.

3.  There will be a reckoning.  Each time I cook one of Heston’s “perfect” recipes, I’ll also prepare an “imperfect” version of the same dish, using the most convenient or oft-used technique and ingredients.  I’m doing this because it should help to highlight what makes Heston’s recipes “perfect” compared to the bog-standard versions.  When possible, the recipes will be tested by unbiased guests and rated.  Otherwise, my long-suffering husband and I will rate the two recipes on our own.  I’ll then decide whether the “perfect” recipe is going to replace the standard method, and whether it gets added to my repetoire or not.  In some cases, I may decide to synthesize the perfect and imperfect recipes into something that (in my kitchen) will be “good enough”, and will share this synthesis online.