Originally Posted by iammatt
Not to once again risk the wrath of mm, but it is way more important to learn technique than to follow recipes. In fact, once you have technique you generally modify recipes to follow your own technique. In other words, if you know how you like to braise oxtails, and you have an oxtail recipe with flavors you want to try, but you know the outcome of your preferred method is what you like, you substitute. It's actually interesting to see how cookbooks have moved away from the idea that somebody knows how to cook (see escoffier for the best example) to a place where every single step is specified. It is really only within the last decade that the change has fully taken place. Not so different from the changes in instruction in the rest of our education.
/rant - let the beatings begin.
Interesting observation. Having been purchasing cookbooks for less than 10 years, I can't say that I have noticed any changes. Could it be the product of a generation that did not learn the basics of cooking from their parents? That the cooking skills assumed by escoffier need to now be learned from cookbooks? I learned a lot when I started cooking by watching tv and then trying the recipes. Cookbooks with step by step instructions and pictures filled in the gaps in technique. I'm not a great cook, but certainly better than most of my friends, and I wouldn't have learned without cookbooks walking me through it (or igents on a clothing forum helping). My mom is really not a very good cook, although she tried, so I really didn't learn anything from her.
Not to set mm up for a rant that I believe got him banned before, but I knew a number of girls in college who were proud of the fact that they were unable to cook anything. Like not even a grilled cheese. A sort of feeble women's empowerment thing, breaking the shackles that kept their gender in the kitchen. 4 years of dining hall food and dominos pizza was not good for their figures...