Monday, July 25, 2011

Technique

My grandmother was not known for her cooking, but my mother raves about her fried corn. It has something to do with the "cream style cutting of the corn" from the cob, and frying it up in bacon drippings in a cast iron skillet. Nope. Not health food. But she simply perfected the technique.

"Anyone who cooks knows that ten people can make the same dish, following the same measurements, and it'll be a little different, with the one who has the best feeling for what she's doin' getting the best results."

Princess Pamela's Soul Food Cookbook (1969)

Good luck finding a copy of that book. Anyone who wants it will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands, since it contains the absolute best peach cobbler recipe on the planet...

Nowadays, I see an endless flow of recipes, how-to's, sewing tutorials, and other projects. They're everywhere. A trend I've been noticing lately, is there is so much emphasis on ONE project, on ONE recipe, but not on the TECHNIQUES that will help you to make it, expand it, change it to suit your tastes, and make it your own. Sometimes a new sewer will contact me for instruction, saying something like, "I want to learn how to make a pillow." Yes, I get it, but if you know how to insert piping, make a stuffed shape, maybe insert a zipper, sew piping into a seam, or better yet, make your own piping, you can take your pillow projects to a whole new level. It can also change the way you think, and add a creative dimension to your planning that is exciting and new to you.

A prime example:


I did not know you could sew leather by hand, and end up with something beautiful and handmade (not home-made looking). Armed with the proper techniques, so many new options are within my grasp...

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