IMPROVISEDI am at the midpoint of my late summer vacation to Wellfleet near the tip of glorious Cape Cod.  By this point in the week my friends and I have prepared many meals in our little kitchen and it has been great.  Most of our meals have been spontaneous and relatively unplanned.  We may pick up something at the farmer’s market and build a meal around it or have a craving for something we can whip up with a few ingredients on hand or available at the little market in town.  Whatever the case, we improvise and the results are always wonderful.

I have always been a fearless experimenter in the kitchen, which is why I was attracted to this week’s featured book, The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider.

About The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider: “In The Improvisational Cook, Sally Schneider helps home cooks declare their independence from recipes and set lists of ingredients by offering a fun, more spontaneous way to cook. The secret lies in understanding the internal “logic” of a recipe and its creative possibilities. Schneider gives cooks the know-how to embellish, adapt, change, alter, modify, and experiment in their cooking with plenty of encouragement and helpful information. Here are the tools and insights everyone needs to find his or her own voice in the kitchen—from where to get inspiration, to learning “what goes with what,” to pantry staples that make improvising easy.”

Although the true improvisational cook doesn’t “need” a book to guide them, Ms. Schneider’s book gives us validation and a few ideas.  For the more skittish cooks, the kind that are afraid to veer away from even the smallest detail of a recipe, this book gives permission to be free.

Meanwhile, should any of my experimental dishes from this vacation week end up being something I would like to try again and would recommend – I will feature them here in future posts.

The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider is available from Amazon and other fine retailers.

Ms. Schneider also has a wonderful blog, The Improvised Life.