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Old 02-27-2012, 01:22 AM   #1
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Authoring guidelines?

I want to create some original recipes. Of course they are not original but I have been studying various techniques particularly Asian and I want to reduce my recipes to something suitable for sharing.

I don't quite understand the concept of how much food to cook, what is the best desirable serving size or quantity of servings for a recipe posted on the Internet?

I often use 6-8 oz. of chicken or shrimp for myself, but if it is good I like to pig out a bit. Is a serving size just the right size to satisfy one person or is it enough for two people?

Usually when I visit an Asian (Thai, Chinese) restaurant, the drill is that each person orders an entree and then everybody serves. This implies that one entree serves one person.

So once I have my Chinese/Thai recipes ready for prime time, how many people should one recipe serve? Should it be my 6-8 ounces of chicken or shrimp for one big serving, or shold it be maybe 10-12 oz, assuming the couple will order another entree?

To present a recipe for an Asian entree how many people should I presume it serves, and how much shrimp, chicken, beef or other main protein should it contain?

I'm planning on ordering take-out soon and I'm going to deconstruct their recipes and weight all components to get a better idea of how professional workplaces do this.

I'm not a professional, I'm retired and I don't ever want to be a professional, but nevertheless I would like to be able to present professional quality recipes to my online friends.

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Old 02-27-2012, 08:57 AM   #2
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Write your recipes with the amounts you normally cook. You can say, serves 1-2 if you like or just leave that out. Folks will adjust the recipe size to how much they want to cook and only they determine what to put on their plate.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
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I would say recipes are typically written to serve 2-4 people. Not always, but mostly. Check out some internet recipes to get a feel for what the convention is.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:40 AM   #4
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Any estimate of how many people a dish will serve is very rough. How many people does a paella recipe serve? Depends on the rest of the menu. And there are some things where the main ingredient determines the finished amount by the usual amount that's purchased, and some that can be made up for any number of servings. And is a soup to be served in cups with sandwiches or in bowls as the meal? How many slices of bread are in a loaf?

What matters is that the recipe be scaled sufficiently large that, to scale it up or down, there are not impossibly small ingredients to try to divide. I find it easy to work with recipes for "4 to 6." Or even better, "four 12-ounce servings. And there's nothing wrong with a bit of written introduction or supplement to the bare ingredients and steps formula. You can simply say, "This recipe makes four hearty bowls of soup or six to eight mugs or small bowls." That doesn't leave much need to guess. And how many shrimp in a tom kah soup serving? Who knows. I just say to add the number of shrimp you want to serve. And the issue of how much meat in a mixed dish is just part of the recipe designer's intent of how much is in it, and doesn't have to conform to anyone else's notion. And remember that people would rather use the common purchase size of something and let that guide the completed menu than try to accommodate an odd ball quantity that is unlikely to be packaged in a grocery.

You can also build the scaling into the recipe. For instance, "six uncooked ounces pork per average main dish serving." I can easily work that into a fuller or leaner menu. Or "four jumbo shrimp per person." Most recipes do just fine with instructions like, "add stock to cover potatoes" or "1/8 tsp smoked paprika per pound of meat." I like that style, although it presumes some reasonable experience. And it's the way I usually convey a recipe to someone.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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Thank you! There's a lot of good advice here and you've given me a lot to think about.

I think it will be interesting to partly deconstruct my take out food the next few times I get Chinese and note the shrimp/chicken/pork/beef weight and total weight. That would probably come up with a good guideline at least applicable to Asian type food.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:48 PM   #6
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When I read a number of servings, I assume that means "servings", not people. Some people help themselves to a second or third serving if the dish is tasty.

And how can you really guess how many people it serves? Well, for a larger number of people it's probably easier. People have hugely varying appetites. But, if it is a large number of people, I figure it evens out.
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Old 02-27-2012, 12:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gourmet Greg View Post
partly deconstruct my take out food the next few times I get Chinese and note the shrimp/chicken/pork/beef weight and total weight. That would probably come up with a good guideline at least applicable to Asian type food.
Of course, the food will weigh less after it's cooked... Weighing the cooked food from the restaurant won't tell you the amounts to put in your recipe?
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:00 PM   #8
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You can also do some looking and find what serving sizes are and then go with that.

Example


Since 3oz of meat is a serving if you make 6oz you have 2 servings. When someone looks at the recipe they will know that 3oz per person won't feed their family and will adjust accordingly.

A lot of Internet recipes I see are hugely over sized... some up to 1lb of meat per person. I am not suggesting that we eat one way or the other, but I do make allowances for their "servings" when deciding on what and how much to make.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonT View Post
Of course, the food will weigh less after it's cooked... Weighing the cooked food from the restaurant won't tell you the amounts to put in your recipe?
Well Sharon, I can weigh the chicken or shrimp in my Chinese take-out to use as a reference, and then cook perhaps a bit more (maybe 10% more), and then I can deconstruct my own recipe and see what my cooked chicken/shrimp weighed. With that information I can work back to the correct raw weight for the desired cooked amount.

Even though I'm just a cooking hobbyist and don't aspire to ever be more than that, it's important to me to challenge myself and one way I want to do that is to increase the professionalism in my recipes. I've never had any formal chef training so the best way I can see to improve my techniques and communication is by asking those who are more expert than I. Thanks for the advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankZ View Post
A lot of Internet recipes I see are hugely over sized... some up to 1lb of meat per person. I am not suggesting that we eat one way or the other, but I do make allowances for their "servings" when deciding on what and how much to make.
Thanks Frank! ... Your example link reminds me of another dilemma. What is served at a restaurant and what are reasonable serving sizes for a healthful diet are almost never the same. Restaurants IMO generally serve overly large sizes in order to satisfy customers and not have them walk away hungry and be unlikely to return. Speaking just for myself I know I'd never be satisfied with 3 oz. of chicken for example.

You've reminded me of long ago days when me and one of my friends liked really big meat servings. I'd buy a 6 pound prime rib, cut it in half and freeze one part, then cook the remaining 3 pounds for dinner, and we'd split the roast! Wow, talk about 24 oz. per serving! :bigggrin:
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