So… My mom used to make this hot dish called German Potato salad.
Tonight I wanted to eat that, but I’d never made it before. What did I do about that? I remembered the flavor, the ingredients, realized I could probably approximate it, and went to work, without checking anything online, my favorite reference sites are all blacked out for SOPA protests anyway.
I remembered, it was potato based, hot, had onions and bacon, and was a little bit brown and flavored with a little bit of vinegar.
To cook it, I peeled, cut and boiled one large potato with some salt. Cut a half an onion into rings, put in a pan. Cut up one free-range chicken breast into small, thin pieces (my bacon replacement), put on top of onions. Cut up some japanese eringi mushrooms into pieces the same size as the chicken, put on top of chicken. Then I added good sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to the pan. I poured a bit of canola oil over the ingredients in the pan and then after they had been sizzling for a while I cut the heat on the potato, dished it out with a slotted spoon and added to the pan of other ingredients.
While that was cooking I added 1 tablespoon of tamari soy sauce (for color and flavor), 1 table spoon of pickling vinegar (it was the only vinegar I had, for flavor), and a little more (about a splash) of chianti wine. Then I let it cook until it was nice and colored and the chicken was cooked through, dished it out, and ate it.
Perfect approximation, no internet required. Badabing, Badabang. Cooking by flavor memory.