Have you ever spent the good part of a day trying to find a specific ingredient for a recipe? Maybe you had to spend an hour or two on research alone because you had no idea what it was or where to find it. And perhaps it was something so singular, you had to special order it online and wait 5 to 7 business days before finally being able to tackle that particular recipe.
For the most part, there are always acceptable substitutes. Sometimes, you can simply omit the ingredient and call it a day. But once in a while, a recipe actually hinges on one or two specific items, or perhaps you’re trying to create a particular dish for someone and you know it just won’t be the same without that ingredient.
I know many of us would go the extra mile if it meant creating something truly special in the kitchen, and I thought it might be fun to share our stories of just how far we’ve gone to do just that—our adventures in the search for that elusive ingredient or even tool to make a recipe work. So tell us:
Do you have any stories about your adventures tracking down an item for a recipe?
A few days ago, I was tasked with finding a specific kind of vermouth for a special cocktail. Now, I’m someone you rarely find standing by the bar or holding a drink, so I had no idea what I was agreeing to. I searched online, made phone calls, and even expanded my search to include two neighboring states, just to find this particular ingredient. I asked if there was an acceptable substitute and was told that it absolutely had to be that item. Five hours later, I finally gave up and decided to do the errands I put on hold while trying to go from here to tarnation trying to track down this bottle of vermouth.
It was 9:30 PM when I walked into our local grocery to pick up some coconut milk and chorizo (that’s a whole other story in itself). I noticed they had a new wine section and I decided to check it out. Lo and behold, there on their vermouth shelf sat four bottles of the vermouth I had just spent 5 hours trying to track down.
Moral of the story: Don’t underestimate your local grocery. Larger moral of the story: Don’t volunteer to procure something you know nothing about.
How about you? Have any stories to tell about searching for hard-to-find ingredients? Or maybe you discovered a substitute that you can share, and spare us all from hours of Googling and driving around. Tell us your story below!