Priya Basil on recipes

“A recipe is a story that can’t be plagiarised. Compare cookbooks by cuisine and you’ll find recipes that are almost identical, distinguished by minor variations of ingredient quantity or slight deviations in procedure. Debts are gladly acknowledged, sometimes in the name — ‘Julia’s Apple Tart’ — or in a sub-line — ‘Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’. Recipes represent one of the easiest, most generous forms of exchange between people and cultures, especially nowadays, with online food blogs abounding and all kinds of once-exotic ingredients available at your local supermarket. Recipes are the original open source, offering building blocks that may be adjusted across time, place and seasons to create infinite dishes. You only need to successfully make a recipe once to feel it is your own. Make it three more times and suddenly it’s tradition.”

unnamedPriya Basil, Be My Guest. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2019, 13.

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