If there is one thing that I have learned about cooking it is that it is a combination of art and chemistry. Chefs and cooks act in the kitchen much like how a chemist would in his own laboratory. Where the chemist follows certain formulas and procedures to come up with the desired result, the chef or cook follows a recipe to come up with the desired dish. When it comes to chemical formulas, even the smallest mishap can lead to a problem which is also kind of the same thing with cooking a dish. If you miss something in the recipe whether it is an ingredient or procedure, your dish might not turn out as you expect.
All of the recipes you come across are composed of many parts and elements that work together to guide the cook and help develop the desired dish. One of those elements which is very important is the proportion of the ingredients being used in the dish. Even if you know the ingredients that are needed, if you do not know the proportion or ration that is to be used, then you could create a disaster.
You may know the common ingredients needed for pancake batter which is eggs, flour, and milk. If you use too much milk then the pancake may be too runny. Too much flour and the result may be too dry. Even though there are variations, the ration basically is pretty much the same.
All of the recipes you see today are the result of trial and error and have been devised by many professional cooks or chefs. The result is a standard recipe that makes use of the right ingredients with the right proportions to act as a guide for cooks to produce a quality dish.
Another important why recipes should be followed, is consistency. If a kitchen whether at home or in a restaurant does not follow a certain recipe, consistency would be something hard to achieve in its dishes. Sure you might be able to cook a delicious dish one day but you may find it hard to replicate it without a recipe. If you want to make sure that all the dishes you prepare no matter how many times you prepare it are consistent in taste and in quality, it is best to follow a standard recipe of that dish.
The recipe itself contains all the needed technicalities for you to follow like the cooking tie, the proportion, the temperature of cooking, etc. Since all the things in the standard recipe are uniform, you can expect to produce the same dish with the same delicious taste and high quality every time when following the procedures and instructions stated in the recipe.
But cooking isn’t just all about sticking to the recipe. Many cooks, especially skilled chefs make certain changes and variations to the recipe so as to be more creative which is why cooking has an element of artistry. Although certain variations don’t always work, they can always try again to come up with a better one.