Written by John Immel,
Crafting your own recipes can seem like a mystical or magical talent, a knack you're born with or without. The fact couldn't be further from the truth. Designing recipes for taste and medicinal effect is a skill you can acquire through a bit of training. The skill is both fun to learn and even more fun to eat. You'll find that in Ayurveda, the better the food tastes, the healthier it is for you.
Naturally, artistic vision is one essential part of this creative process. You close your eyes and envision what you want to eat. But as necessary as this is, artistic vision isn't sufficient to create a delicious recipe. You need a technique to pull it all together, to compose the recipe. The thoughtful composition of recipes is essential to your skill in wielding food as medicine.
Experienced artists don't just sit down to create; they form a plan, organize the basic elements, and arrange the pieces and parts they have envisioned. Architects, composers, painters and photographers all study composition. They are aware of certain key elements in their vision - the structure of the their design. A photographer knows where to position their subjects. An painter knows which colors will evoke which feelings. An architect is master of building materials, and knows their strengths and properties.
Similarly, a chef must also study the basic building blocks of recipes, something we specialize in at the Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda. We give our students a method to design recipes. Once you begin to see the composition behind recipes, complex recipes seem simpler and easier to remember. With this method, you too can design incredibly complex meals without it being overdone or garish. There's nothing worse than creativity gone wild when it comes to food - all the flavor is lost in the overwhelm. Good art and medicine is simple, yet subtle and profound.
Why Learn this Simple Technique?Have you ever flipped through the pages of a recipe book, found something tantalizing, only to find the ingredients are missing in your cupboard? Or that they are mismatched to your body type? Or, that you like the idea of the recipe but you may not like a particular ingredient?
Once you know how recipes are designed as a whole, how they are composed, you can easily swap out ingredients. You can adapt the recipe to a very similar result uniquely suited to you, balancing the qualities of foods that might normally be problematic for you. The composition helps you think strategically about the recipe.
Composition helps you to see the recipe as an expression of an idea, rather than a specific formula. In addition to crafting deliciousness, when you can see the composition of a recipe behind the particular ingredients, the recipe becomes modular - meaning you can remove and insert components according to your fancy and constitution. Composition reveals the reason why certain ingredients have been included, and how it all fits together. Here's how we do it.
How to Compose Your First RecipeIn the cooking class, we'll explain the building blocks of composing a recipe. Next, we'll provide a worksheet you can download to create your own recipes. For more info click the button below.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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