Nathalie's Tips for Entertaining
January 1, 1970Most recipes can be safely multiplied to feed more people.
• Never multiply a recipe by an uneven number. It’s conventional wisdom
among experienced cooks that it doesn’t work, maybe because the math is harder to keep up with.
• It is safer to arrive at the right number by doubling a recipe on paper and then
doubling it again than it is to try to multiply by four, especially if you’re not mathematically inclined. With a written record, if something goes wrong, you might be able to figure out and correct any mistakes due to faulty multiplication.
• As with many things in life, you need to use your own judgement and rely on
your own taste. Not all ingredients need to conform to strict mathematical rules. For instance, the amount of fat needed for sautéing needn’t be doubled even if you are doubling he recipe. You still only need to cover the bottom of the pan to sauté even twice as many onions.
• Timing is trickier than quantities. When doubling a recipe, timing by the clock
might not have to be multiplied by two – or it may take longer, depending on the pan size. Watch for the indications mentioned in the recipe – like bring to a boil, heat until soft, stir until brown – and ignore the number of minutes. The result is more critical than the amount of time it takes. Buy an instant-read thermometer, one of a cook’s best friends.
• And remember, food multiplies. According to some mysterious spiritual law, a recipe for four multiplied by four usually will serve more than sixteen. Remember the parable of the loaves and the fishes, or you might have an enormous amount of leftovers.