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This is an old family recipe for the dumplings, which were originally Polish egg noodles (kluski), and over the years I have modified it to make homemade dumplings.

Ingredients


  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, with leaves
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup (optional)

Turn off the television, don’t answer the phone, just sit and read it through. Make a mental inventory of the sort of equipment you need, the cooking techniques required, the ingredients you have on hand. Note the stages of preparation, and get a sense of appropriate timings.

Turn off the television, don’t answer the phone, just sit and read it through.

This is the kind of sage advice you find in Lauren Braun Costello’s new book called Notes on Cooking – A Short Guide to an Essential Craft. The quote above comes from her chapter on Understanding the Recipe and is exactly the advice I try to give my readers at The Reluctant Gourmet web site and the Reluctant Gourmet blog all the time. Lauren just says it a little more succinctly than I do.

This is not a book full of wordy chapters but instead there are 217 short “notes on cooking,” like above, each filled with culinary insight that can help you be a better home cook. Here’s another one I like in The Cook’s Role chapter:

Work from your Strength. Don’t try to master everything. Become known for a few dishes, perhaps even the near perfection of one. Discover your obsession, then make yourself a slave to it: the mastery of a traditional dish, the combination of ingredients that have never before met, precision in presentation, devotion to a culinary heritage, the introduction of color where it never before existed.

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