It's no wonder I ruin all of Mom's recipes when I seem unable to ever adhere to them. In all honesty, though, I follow Mom's recipes about as closely as she does. I doubt she's ever made the same dish the exact same way twice - not only because she doesn't measure anything, but it also depends on what she has on hand as well as her constantly changing tastes.
Almost every time I go to her house, she's got a new way of making tea or some special dish that she suddenly is saying is the way they "always do it." In these cases, "always" usually means about two weeks, but her way of cooking is a constantly evolving cycle, so maybe she just doesn't notice the little additions and subtractions she makes here and there.
I still tried to kind-of follow her recipe for Asian-style Fish, although I immediately ruined it by 1) using a salmon fillet, 2) using powdered ginger instead of fresh ginger root 3) using a combination of green onions and baby fennel instead of leeks, and 4) grilling it for about 25 minutes wrapped in foil instead of (blech!) microwaving it.
In my defense, I was simply using what I had, and I did learn that trick from the best. I got the baby fennel from Full Circle Farm and really have no idea what else to do with it, and the green onions are the tops of some beautiful red onions that appeared in my fridge over the weekend (thank you James and Debbie!). Not to mention that it topped 70 in Seattle today, which means a barbecue is obligatory.
And you know what? The salmon turned out really, really tasty. Which makes me think I should have named this blog Improving Mom's Recipes instead of Ruining Mom's Recipes. Doesn't quite have the same ring, though, does it?