I Wish I Had Smoked Pasta Sauce Again.

I haven’t really ever developed a recipe. I don’t know what goes into recipe development. I mean, I assume some research happens if you know you want to make a specific kind of food/recipe, but I know that’s not how amazing recipes always start. Often, I know, they start with throwing some stuff you have on hand together with no real plan and low expectations and it coming out amazingly.

That’s the kind of recipe development I’m looking for help with right now. Because I’ve learned and heard that usually these one-off meals cannot be replicated. Which is frustrating and unfortuante. It also bothers my innate desire for replication as a scientist-type.

But, more immediately, I have a pasta sauce I wish to replicate for here on my blog.

What are our liabilities?

There is but memory. And it is hindered by a lack of all the same ingredients.

What are our assets?

Most of the same ingredients. A small amount (frozen) of the previous end product. Beer.

What say you, friends? Impossible?

2 thoughts on “I Wish I Had Smoked Pasta Sauce Again.

  1. There’s that pesky validity and need for protocol on a whim! My theory is taste memory, often augmented by cocktails, is not as glorious as I recall or sometimes it’s just my inability to figure out what I can add if I’m missing an ingredient (ie: shallots not really equal to yellow onion and a few slivers of garlic). Then again, sometimes the second recipe blows the first off the radar. Lucky you to have a tad of leftovers to compare your new sample to! When I first saw this, I thought I really didn’t have a process, but realized the process existed instinctively in my head until now!

    If I am thrilled with something, I have to write it down as soon as I finish eating. I can’t write as I’m cooking or I get caught in the process and lose the creative mojo. I also have drawers of odd notes with ingredients and incomplete ideas lost to the foodie abyss and I never know why something was appealing one day or sounds like a horrid idea the next! I bet the person that invented blue ketchup knows that feeling!

    For me, the trick is consistently balancing acidity and sweetness to make flavors pop. If I make something I’ve made before and it’s clearly off, it’s almost always a sweet or acid component that brings out a flavor that’s missing. I’m always drawn to recipes that have a pinch of sugar or a dash of vinegar. There’s never an amount in the recipe, if one exists at all and I’m betting Southern grandmother’s are nodding with a chuckle on that.

    Texture is the other culprit in my disappointing results. I’ll think something was slightly thicker or chunkier and if I ask someone else that tried the first dish, they will remember it another way. That’s my (admittedly weak) argument for always snapping food porn shots. My memory may fail me, but those delicious pictures never lie! So I always notate the texture somewhere if it isn’t obvious in a photo.

    If I’m duplicating, my process is different from when I’m making something totally new. Have you seen the website FoodPairing? I’m not sure if it has taken off or not, but I like the science of food pairing and there is always a bitter to sweet, crunch to cream, acid to base, and fat to protein ratio to uncover and I’d bet if you analyzed your best loved recipes, they have some common denominator.

    The other thing is how food flavors and colors change based on soils, sun, diet, storage and environment. I think the same holds true for an individual’s sense of smell and taste. On any given day, I will smell or taste something and it may be slightly or totally different than on some other day. I honestly don’t think you can do it, but I am certain we’ll all keep at it…loving the process and taking advantage of that liquid asset of encouragement while trying! Cheers! How did it turn out? (For someone that thought I did all this without process, apparently I do and I just hijacked your blog to answer!!!)

    • Apologies for the delayed response.

      This is some fabulous thinking and I really appreciate it! I think I’m going to try my first hand at replicating this sauce again on Wednesday. Then I’ll not only have the old sauce with me still, I will have the two women I made it for over for dinner again, and they can also help by consulting their taste-bud’s memories.

Comments are closed.