I enjoy cooking savory items and have a fondness for soups and sauces that benefit from improvisation. Ilise falls in the dessert camp and is an excellent baker; she likes the precision of it and adheres to the letter of the law, recipe-wise, most of the time.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see her become obsessed with recipe-fiddling over the span of about six months in pursuit of the perfect batch of bourbon caramels. The obsession didn’t surprise me, I’ve seen that often enough. But the willingness, no, more like eagerness to go back to the stove time and again, candy thermometer in hand -- after tweaking either a) balance of ingredients; b) sequence of events (specifically when to add the bourbon); c) cooking time; or d) all of the above -- was almost scientific in nature, with each phase thoroughly documented. We’re thinking of applying for an NSF or NIH grant for her next kitchen project.