Happy New Year, FoodLovers!

I suspect many of you are embracing some healthier post-holiday habits, including new diets or meal plans. For that reason I will not include any recipes this week because I do not want to be the one who knocks you off whatever diet wagon you're on!

Instead I'd like to share a video I came across, of the renowned chef Jacques Pépin. He explains beautifully why recipes are not a set of strict guidelines from which you can never deviate. They are simply a record of exactly what worked at a single moment in time. They are no guarantee that those ingredients and techniques will always come together to produce the exact same result. And the best thing? That's totally OK!

Here's what he has to say.

Part of FoodLove's mission is to help people find their own food confidence, and a big part of that is cooking from a recipe that interests you but feeling comfortable adjusting ingredients according to what you have on hand or like the best. And you do not need to be a professional chef to do that!

If something looks drier than you expected add some water, more sauce, cover it or turn the heat down. If it doesn't taste as you expected think about what flavor it seems to be lacking and try to add something to provide a flavor balance you enjoy. If anything at all seems like it could be better with a tweak, tweak away!

The more often you trust yourself and deviate from a recipe the better you will become at cooking with a bit of freedom and creating dishes that really suit your own tastes. Of course, not every choice you make will lead you to a perfect outcome but I can swear to the fact that you will really learn something that you simply can not learn from blindly following a recipe.

Here's to you taking some chances in the kitchen!

Quick note: the Love Your Food newsletter and blog will undergo a few changes this year in the effort to serve our readers in the most useful way possible. If you have any requests or suggestions PLEASE post them here!