September 6, 2005 at 11:58 pm
You know what I like about cooking? (Because seriously, there isn’t that much I really like about cooking.) Cooking is open source.
Non-computer geeks out there are probably going “Wha? Huh?” In geek world, software is called open source when the creators make the code of the program available to review. The operating system Linux is one of the most famous open source projects. Linux’s creators let people see the guts of the operating system and change things or tweak them to their liking.
Programs like Microsoft Windows are closed source, which means they’d torture baby kittens before they gave you the code. This is partly for security reasons so hackers can’t find weaknesses as easily, but it’s mostly so they can charge you $300 for Windows.
When you buy a recipe book or find recipes online, it’s like getting the source code for the food. As the chef, you get to compile the recipe into the final product. But since you have the code, you can make some changes to suit yourself, add in some subroutines or variables here and there by sprinkling on extra ingredients. Of course some food is closed source. I hear the recipe for Pepsi is a highly guarded secret as is KFC’s blend of herbs and spices.
I’ve found that as I do more and more cooking, I have a better idea of what will work or won’t when I try altering a recipe or just making one up. This is just like how I have learned what techniques are best to use when programming software.
I guess what I like about cooking is that you can just make shit up. Want to roll some cheese sticks in that Parmesan cheese coating you made for the chicken dish? Go for it. You think the spinach and feta spread for the stuffed chicken might taste good on salmon. Give it a try! This might seem like second-nature to real foodies, but it honestly had never occurred to me that you could make up your own recipes. I enjoy it a lot, even the failed attempts, because it allows me to be creative in a task I otherwise find routine and tedious.