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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)

A Look at Notes On Cooking

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.

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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