Two kinds of recipes

October 2, 2010

Remember that knitted baby cardigan I mentioned a few weeks ago? Well, I still haven’t finished it but at least the body is as good as done and practically all that’s missing now are the sleeves. By now it’s even recognizable as a cardigan which is something of an achievement considering that I more or less made up the pattern myself…

The yarn I’m using for this project consists entirely of leftovers from [m]’s stash. To me these three different colourways of Holst supersoft 100% uld seemed to go together well, so I decided to turn them into a striped asymmetrical garter stitch baby cardigan. I then spent a considerable amount of time browsing through Ravelry to find a suitable pattern but somehow I couldn’t find one that would have produced the garment I had envisioned. My first choice would have been Joji Locatelli’s Garter Stitch Baby Kimono but I wasn’t sure if its diagonal neckline would look good with horizontal stripes. I also fancied Lili Comme Tout’s Garter Stitch Raglan Baby Cardi but that, of course, isn’t asymmetrical. Then I took into consideration Kristi Porter’s Baby Bulky Asymmetrical Cardigan but, alas, here the sleeves are constructed in a way that would have rendered it impossible to make them striped. So in the end I took ideas and inspirations from all three of them and, by throwing in some of my experience from knitting Sara Morris’ Offset Wraplan, distilled them into something new.

Now, last time I wrote about this project was because I’d realized how my knitting habits actually mirrored my reading habits. This time it’s because I realized that the way I came up with the pattern resembles a certain way of cooking I occasionally resort to…

In general my approach to cooking is just the usual 4-step-procedure: 1) Ask yourself: What shall you have for lunch/dinner? 2) Decide on a recipe. 3) Get the ingredients you need for the chosen recipe. 4) Do the cooking according to the instructions in the recipe. Every now and then, however, I’ll go for a different approach, i.e.: Check your fridge and pantry for leftovers and decide on a recipe based on the ingredients you have at hand. That’s actually what I did just the other night: What we had left was, at first glance, a batch of fresh spinach, a can of tuna and loads of pasta. So I glanced through our cookbooks and found a handful of recipes that would have worked with those ingredients. One of them, though, suggested adding sun-dried tomatoes, another one suggested adding pine nuts, a third one suggested seasoning the dish with a dash of lemon juice. Amazingly enough, on closer inspection, our fridge and pantry revealed half a lemon, half a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and a pack of cashews that could serve as pine nut substitutes. In the end I came up with a dish that mixed ideas from three different recipes plus some of my own. No matter how improvised it was, it turned out surprisingly delicious.

I don’t know what took me so long to realize it but my invention of that baby cardigan really did follow the same basic principals as that particular kind of cooking: Check out what leftovers you have at your disposition, look at a number of recipes/patterns to get inspirations, then adapt them to fit your ingredients. Hm, I guess there is a reason why knitting patterns sometimes are called “knitting recipes“…

P.S.: Just in case you’re interested, here’s that spinach/tuna/pasta recipe I came up with the other night:

1) Heat some olive oil in a pan, add a clove of garlic, a small red onion and some celery (all of which finely chopped), fry it for a little while, then add the spinach and saute it until the leaves are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

2) Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.

3) Chop up a handful of cashews and heat them in a pan until they’re slightly toasted.

4) Heat some more olive oil in a large pot, add the tuna, fry it for a couple of minutes, season it with lemon juice. Add the spinach plus a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Add the pasta and the toasted cashews. Give it a good stir so that all the ingredients get mixed up. Serve and enjoy.