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How NOT to Cookbook

How NOT to Cookbook

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Published by gonzomarx
THE HOW NOT TO COOKBOOK—Lessons learned the hard way
By Aleksandra Mir for the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2009

While the typical cookbook format gives you a recipe for obvious success it does not take into account the many ways in which its execution can fail due to the cook's lack of experience. Based on Aleksandra's personal history of cooking disasters, the project invites 1000 people from all around the world to give their advice of how NOT to cook. With this volume, any reader will be more than well equipped to avoid making the same mistakes in their kitchen.

Aleksandra is interested in how we are taught or teach ourselves through trial and error. By making our guilty failures public we may even be creating an original and subversive form of art, rather than simply be aspiring to obvious and repetitive results.
THE HOW NOT TO COOKBOOK—Lessons learned the hard way
By Aleksandra Mir for the Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2009

While the typical cookbook format gives you a recipe for obvious success it does not take into account the many ways in which its execution can fail due to the cook's lack of experience. Based on Aleksandra's personal history of cooking disasters, the project invites 1000 people from all around the world to give their advice of how NOT to cook. With this volume, any reader will be more than well equipped to avoid making the same mistakes in their kitchen.

Aleksandra is interested in how we are taught or teach ourselves through trial and error. By making our guilty failures public we may even be creating an original and subversive form of art, rather than simply be aspiring to obvious and repetitive results.

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Published by: gonzomarx on Sep 18, 2009
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04/16/2014

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Do not explain too much what is in your
dish. Let them have a bite. If they like it,
talk about it. If not, talk about it too.

If you are using olives in a recipe, do not use olives with pits. If you do, please make sure to
let your guests know about it, otherwise someone might lose a tooth.

Crazy dishes may not be as exciting to your guests as they are to you,
so try to keep your cooking for company fairly non-threatening. Non-
vegans are happy to eat your acorn squash with wild rice, but don’t
expect them to be as excited about Tofurky as you are.

Do not experiment on guests.

When serving guests, do not fill up their plates too much.

Do not forget to invite guests to your dinner party.

Do not forget to taste your food before offering it to others.

Do not lock yourself inside the kitchen. Make cooking
a social event! Let them all take part.

Do not offer second helpings to your dinner guests on a whim, only to find that
there really is not enough to go around.

HOSTING

125

Do not plan a dinner party after recently
having your jaw wired shut following
surgery. Do not spend hours preparing carrot
and orange soup, ratatouille, mashed potato,
onions in red wine and mushrooms in brandy.
Even if you slave for hours to try and produce
nice food with flavour and originality, the
reaction from your friends will be one of
horror, as the food you prepare will be
liquidised and strained.

Do not pretend that your Gourmet Mo’s Readymeals are your own work. The guests
will always know.

Do not put dirty dishes in the oven to hide them when friends drop by unexpectedly. Even if you tell your spouse,
partner or roommates that the dishes are in there, they will forget, and so will you. The next time the preheated
oven is opened, the food remnants on the plates will become part of the permanent glaze, and anything plastic
will become modern art.

Do not put pans on the table. It just looks ugly. The same for plastic water bottles.

Do not start laying the table when dinner is ready. If you lay the
table beforehand, you can take your time cooking and eat while the
food is still hot.

Do not try and make lots of new dishes for an important dinner party. You need a lot of
practice to make several dishes well at the same time. Concentrate on the main course.

Do not forget to invite or eat with others who enjoy food and cooking just like you.

126 THE HOW NOT TO COOKBOOK

Eating and cooking is an art, not just something you do. Do not invite
people who do not appreciate food, cooking or have poor palettes. It will
ruin the meal for everyone.

If deciding to cook two lamb chops and your partner says, “What if
someone comes? There will be nothing to offer.” You may reply, “Who will
turn up at this time? That would be rude.” Of course, you may find that
loads of people will turn up, and you will have to turn the chops into stew.

If something is not cooking fast enough for the dinner call, do not turn up the heat because the exterior will
burn and the interior will remain raw.

If you are having a dinner in a small apartment, do not dare to cook octopus or kidney. It will stink
and you will probably lose your appetite.

If you are throwing a dinner party do not put out
too much alcohol before you serve the food you
have been cooking all day. Just take out some
bottles of wine and save the hard liquor for later.
Otherwise your guests will be drunk and not
hungry, and they will forget aboutyour fabulous
dinner.

If you use old vodka bottles to chill tap water in the refrigerator, be sure to label them properly. If you do not, you might
accidentally serve your guests a tall glass of cold vodka.

HOSTING

127

Never forget to cook a dish at least once before
preparing it for a fancy dinner, especially if you
are not used to cooking for big parties.

Never test a new recipe on guests. Always cook dishes you are reasonably familiar with or you risk
disaster or delays. Limit yourself to one ambitious dish and keep the rest of the menu easy to
assemble and produce. For example, a soup and dessert that you made a day or so beforehand can
simply be reheated or served cold. Combine this with one fancy main course that you cook that day or
is cooking as your guests arrive, filling your abode with a delicious aroma that greets your guests and
whets their collective appetite. Always have a light snack set out to accompany pre-dinner drinks.
Remember, the idea is for everyone, including yourself, to have a jolly time, and no-one likes it when
their host is rushing around in the kitchen the whole night. Careful preparation ensures you are a
cool, calm and collected host. That is the most successful ingredient to entertaining.

The best thing about being the cook is to be able to lick the wooden spoon to see
how the food is tasting. But do not do this in front of your guests, because it looks
really terrible.

When preparing a dinner party do not start to assemble the ingredients at 7.00 pm. and then decide to nip up
to the shops for a vital missing spice when the guests are arriving at 7.30 pm. Though the food, for example
stuffed Iraqi Potato Balls, may be delicious, serving it at 11.00 pm, when everyone has consumed at least a
bottle and a half of wine on empty stomachs, leads only to congealed, barely touched plates. And a riotous
evening.

Under NO circumstances are you to serve a dish to your
guests without first taste-testing it!

Do not organize a dinner party for midnight. People will be too drunk to appreciate it.

128 THE HOW NOT TO COOKBOOK

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