An overly lengthy, 27-ingredient tomato flatbread recipe I found in Bon Appetit magazine recently inspired me to create a much simpler version. A word of advice. Beware haughty recipes. With age and experience comes culinary discernment. A benefit of growing older is that you will achieve both. The tediously complex recipes that often grace the pages of distinguished food magazines have led me to believe that "keyboard food snobs" are being paid not just by the word, but by the quantity of ingredients and number kitchen utensils used. They would be better served to write food history books, novels, or car manuals. I do not think any of them are actual home cooks...with children...and jobs....and a life.
I recall a recent article in a highly regarded lifestyle magazine with a recipe for a particularly sumptuous looking chicken biscuit...with a honey glaze. The "food writer" said she believed it to be the best. Ever. A cursory glance at her instructions revealed a list of....wait for it....42 ingredients. Upon further inspection I estimated this recipe's preparation time to be 2 1/2 hours. It would also dirty more bowls and pans than I typically use for Thanksgiving dinner. "Oh so worth it," she proclaimed. I wanted to smack her.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that restaurant chefs and some food writers (the ones who do not have to put breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table for a family every day) have no business shaming home cooks with overly complex recipes. And don't get me started on recipes with obscure ingredients.
There is beauty and taste in simplicity. No manner of complexity will make up for poor ingredients. Instead, invest in what is real and of good quality. Keep preparations simple so as not to complicate their goodness. There will always be recipes that are worth a little extra effort, but be very discriminating. Beyond that, continue to develop your cooking style in a way that is relaxed enough to accommodate your busy life. And finally, in the absence of a personal sous chef to assist you, you may find the magazine page with the 32-step vinaigrette recipe to be an excellent fire starter.