Part of growing up and learning new things is learning how to follow directions. If you don’t follow directions, you get marks off and bad things can happen. Gradually, you start learning the occasions in which it’s ok to not follow directions; hopefully this is undertaken with the understanding that you’ll have to accept the consequences of the changes you’ve made to a set of directions.
Cooking has been a bit of an adventure for me. I was originally a non-cook, subsisting wholly on restaurant food and pre-packaged food. Once I got married, though, I started expanding my horizons and started making actual food from scratch. It’s been a fun trip, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes on the way. I started out following the directions in recipes with a zealot’s attention. Gradually I’ve started making changes to recipies that I’ve tried, with interesting results.
I was looking for a good potato and cheese soup recipe. Unfortunately, a lot of the soup recipies call for Velveeta, which sounds incredibly unappetizing for me. I was also looking for a specific taste to the dish, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for. About 10 years ago I spent about 6 weeks in Spearfish, SD, and frequented Sanford’s Pub & Grub. My favorite menu item was potato and cheese soup in a bread bowl. It was heavenly, and I wanted to have it again.
I finally found this recipe, and decided to use it as a base. I made several changes. First, I substituted chicken broth for the water. Second, I eliminated the milk and substitued shredded cheddar cheese. Third, I blended it smooth after cooking. Then it was served in store-bought bread bowls.
It was really good… But incredibly filling. I think if I make this again I’ll skip the bread bowl. And it wasn’t quite right from what I remembered from so long ago. If we ever make it down to Spearfish, and Sanford’s still has the potato soup on the menu, I’ll have to try it again with a mind to figuring out what’s in it. And who knows… Maybe I can sweet talk them out of the recipe.