Improvisation, European Style
I've realized since I've been in Belgium and Germany that I have an unusually high reliance on recipes and cookbooks. Most of my friends here, when making lunch or dinner, just glance around the kitchen and throw something together step by step. In contrast, even if I am making one of my own recipes I'll look back at the blog or my jotted notes to find out how exactly I did it. When my friends and I are cooking, this leads to some funny situations, where I am begging them to let me look quickly at a cookbook to find out what the cooking time, quantities, or temperature is, and they are heavily rolling their eyes saying "ahhh, you can just tell when its right, just taste it!!!"
Pumpkin+ Pumpkin oil+ bread + margarine
I have a whole cultural theory behind this: Europeans did not experience the same boom in reliance on prepared foods that Americans did in the fifties and sixties. (Ie, European recipes do not usually look like: "empty a can of mushroom soup onto chicken, toss, and bake for 30 minutes...") As a result of the fact that Europeans, either because of stronger traditional adherence, relative poverty in the post-war era, or the Common Agricultural Policy, retained a reliance on elemental ingredients, and thus passed down to their children techniques for cooking that became second nature. American kids, on the other hand, found themselves at a loss for making things from scratch, having grown up with canned beans, cake mix, and Hamburger Helper. (Not everyone, mind you, but I think its more typical in the US than here.)
Roasted carrots+ Avocado+ olive oil+ salt and pepper
This might be why European cookbooks are so sparse in explanation (as opposed to the novels in American cookbooks), and why my generation had to teach ourselves to cook relatively simple things: we grew up with so many prepared foods at our disposal that we forgot improvisational cooking techniques, and feel more attached, (even, fervently attached) to cookbooks that teach us how to get those skills back.
Now, this is all a theory and I may be totally full of it, please let me know if you have an alternate explanation in the comments.
Mashed potatoes mashed w/ brussels sprouts+roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and pears
At any rate, this is all to say that here are a few meals that were bravely improvised, with nary a recipe in sight. You may notice that they have very few ingredients, but still, I'm making progress here! However, I don't care if I live in Europe till I die, you will still have to pry my Veganomicon from my cold, dead American hands.