Tuesday, October 25, 2005

copying restaurant recipes

Aside from the glitz and glamour of celebrity chefs and their cookbooks (I rather like Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef, incidentally), there's also interest in, shall we say, a more basic form of imitation/flattery. Kate at Accidental Hedonist has a note today about people who try to imitate the recipes at that culinary icon, McDonalds. She quotes from detailed recommendations about how to get just the right pickles! Says she:
I'm actually astounded that there is a group of people who are keen on copying the special sauce recipe for the Big Mac, an egg McMuffin, or a Fillet o' Fish. I'm not sure to be horrified or bemused.
Confession time: I've actually spent some time trying to figure out two related dishes from take-out-Chinese places. There was a place called First Wok in Urbana, IL that had this really great, garlicy dish called Tai Chen Chicken Special (best said with a fake Cantonese accent!), which turns out to be a variant of General Tso's Chicken with mixed vegetables. A guy named Eric Hochman has the "definitive" web page on General Tso's, and I combined that with a technique from some Chinese cookbooks called "velveting" chicken, and my memory of the vegetables and sauce. The resulting recipe is still not quite right, but is somewhat interesting nevertheless. One of these days I'll try again to improve it...


At 12:48 PM, Blogger jay_morris said...

Reminds me of the Pad Thai Research Institute that Kyle and I founded in Urbana. We gained a lot of theoretical pad thai knowledge, especially when the Y-Thai lady slipped and gave us the secret of the seitan that she used in her veggie version, but the practical end never really came out very well for us :) We never did hear back from NIH about our pad thai research grant proposal.


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