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    Why is it all the recipe books ha such exotic recipes with ingredients you don’t normally have in your pantry? I’m a simple man who wants to use my mini-insta-pot to cook normal foods thinking it would be a quicker way to cook for my wife and me, two old people.


    There are several reasons:
    1. different people have different ingredients they regard as normal in their pantry. Even my next door neighbour uses ingredients I have never heard of. She regards them as normal. If I look at recipes from the other side of the world, I often don’t even know where to go about find them. Corn Grits? No idea! Cilantro? No idea! Some things I regard as normal staples in my pantry which are probably not in yours: Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, Arborio rice, Dosa rice, Thin soy sauce, Dark soy sauce, Light soy sauce, Kecap Manis, Palm sugar, Star anise, Teff, White pepper, Black pepper, Kampot pepper, Sichwan pepper, Chick peas, Brown sugar, Caster sugar, besan flour, tapioca flour. I could go on. You probably have things in your pantry that are probably not in mine. They may well not even be available where I live.

    2. Ingredients have different names in different places. So they may be using the same ingredients (or very similar!) just calling them something different.

    3. (And this is the kicker). People who write recipe books like to experiment with new things. These new things inevitably find their way into cookbooks. And guess what! People who buy recipe books do so because they like to try out new things. Win Win.

    Being old is no excuse. I am well into my sixties and still like to try something new at least once a month. At the moment I am looking at Middle Eastern food. I tried Sujuk (delicious!) for the very first time yesterday. And I am trying to master the making of Baba Ganoush (smoked eggplant dip) at home. My first attempt was OK. My second was a disaster. Looking forward to my next try.

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