Chopping and Tossing

Mollie Katzen. The Enchanted Broccoli Forest "Improvisation Notes"

Cooking is a very personal statement, whether you follow a recipe, vary it, or invent your own altogether. The same recipe made by different people on different days and in different kitchens can taste new each time. There always seems to be an personal touch — a special elusive quality — from each individual cook.

The first step toward improvisation is to find some cookbooks that appeal to you and just read them without necessarily cooking any of the recipes. This will help you to understand basic procedures and principles of cooking.

Then make a commitment to really notice and taste good food, to ask questions of other cooks, and to become deeply familiar with your own preferences. Your comfort and "vocabulary" will quickly grow, and you will find yourself more and more able to vary recipes, or even to cook without them at all.
Similar advice applies to writing.

The foraged ingredients from J.W. Hackett Haiku Poetry Volume One:
That old empty house,
   now overgrown with years,
      is the only real one here.
Adapted to the Berneval kitchen:
That empty old house,
overgrown now with years,
is here the only real one.
Interesting parallels between sensitivity to syntax and to cooking times.

And so for day 1557