In my mother's kitchen, you did not stop your meal preparation to go get a missing ingredient. Actually, you did not stop if you were missing all the ingredients. You substituted. We still recall Mom's recipe for chicken cacciatore: Brown a pound of ground beef. Add tomatoes, onions, celery, and beans. Season with chili powder. Serve over mashed potatoes. We all faithfully follow this recipe.
I was thinking about this yesterday, when DH said, by the way, there are some really great frozen tacos in the freezer. I asked him how he had failed to tell me this last night, as he watched me eat a swanson mexican combo frozen dinner. He had no answer. Actually, his excuse was that he was nearly comatose in front of the tube when I got home from my bowling league, but this is not where I want to go with this post. Back on track!
Oh, yes. recipes. Actually, my chili recipe is constantly evolving. (Sounds much more creative than 'substitute'.) It has gone low-fat (ground turkey) or vegetarian (tofu) or shabby chic frugal (diced pork roast). It has gone 'green' (Verde). Apparently, that's what recipe's do- they evolve. Which leads to interesting questions, like do recipes arise, like life in the premordial soup, over and over again, or does a recipe arise once, and evolve endlessly into a thousand diverse offspring? And who cares?
I plan to make chili on Wednesday. People are driving a long way to visit for the holiday, and they will need something familiar and tasty to eat when they get here. It has to be no-fuss. But it needs to demonstrate just the tiniest shred of having evolved from the last time. Can't say what that will be until it happens. I see some chicken in the freezer.