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Old 01-04-2016, 12:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
Now that anyone with access to a computer and the internet can post recipes, there are a lot of crappy recipes out there and you have to be extra careful.

Most of my pet peeves with recipes involve how ingredients are listed. It's bad recipe writing to list "small can of tomato sauce" or similar. It's not that hard to list "8 Oz. of tomato sauce".

When measuring certain ingredients, it must be indicated if the ingredient is packed or not. Shredded cheese is a prime example. Do I just grate it into the measuring cup and call it a day or do I pack it down.

And sometimes, the ingredient isn't listed but the instructions tell you to add it.

I can get past poor directions like these but some may be confused. It's the writer's obligation to write with clarity and not assume too much.
Very true, and in addition, I know this comes up time and time again in the forums, but when they say use a certain sized onion ( or whatever ). What really is a small, medium or large onion ?? I prefer when its exact measurements ( a cup, half cup ..).

In reality , after I make it the first time, Ill probably change things to my own liking anyway, but Id like to be dead on or at least pretty close first time around to appreciate where the author of the recipe was going. That being said, it doesn't bother me much, just keeps me wondering why they didn't make the small effort to make it easier to be duplicated by the person reading the recipe.

And I guess another thing that kinda annoys me is when something calls for vegetable stock. Being a vegetarian , I come across this all the time. Big problem is, vegetable stock ( unless a specific brand) can vary soon much depending on which vegetables used, method of making it, herbs added ( or not). Having cooked for many years, I can get around this easily, but its still kinda nice to have more specifics so the recipe I'm following comes out as the author intended.
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
Very true, and in addition, I know this comes up time and time again in the forums, but when they say use a certain sized onion ( or whatever ). What really is a small, medium or large onion ?? I prefer when its exact measurements ( a cup, half cup ..).
I've decided to simply assume that small = half cup, medium = 1 cup and large = 1.5 cups, approximately. I try not to have too many bits of veggies left over, so I use whole or halves as much as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
In reality, after I make it the first time, Ill probably change things to my own liking anyway, but Id like to be dead on or at least pretty close first time around to appreciate where the author of the recipe was going. That being said, it doesn't bother me much, just keeps me wondering why they didn't make the small effort to make it easier to be duplicated by the person reading the recipe.
It's because recipe writing is an art that needs to be learned, just like any other form of writing. Most bloggers and home cooks who post on the Internet haven't learned how to do it. They're thinking more about the food than the people who will be reading and following the recipe.

I took a food-writing class several years ago and rewriting poorly written recipes according to standard guidelines was one of the lessons.

This is also why I like to use Living Cookbook for saving and organizing recipes. I can import recipes from anywhere and then edit them to my own preferences. I print them out for cooking the first time, make notes, edit the document, and print it again for my recipe notebooks.

This is not to say that I always cook strictly by recipes, but sometimes I do
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:30 PM   #13
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Another one of my pet peeves is not listing ingredients in order of use. It's such a pain to make sure you've used everything.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:17 PM   #14
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Recipe Writing is the same as technical writing Re procedures.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Recipe Writing is the same as technical writing Re procedures.
Maybe but so often the recipes I see don't appear to be written by folks who actually cook. Assembly instructions are convoluted or in the wrong order. One of my pet peeves is assembly instructions that lead you to use many more bowls and utensils than are actually needed. Clear directions can avoid this but often they just don't exist.

I recently made a cheese souffle using a new recipe. The instructions called for making a white sauce in a small sauce pan and then adding shredded cheese off heat. The next step was to add whipped egg whites to the sauce by thirds, folding to incorporate in a large bowl. bah... bad instructions.
Simply making the cheese base in a large pan would allow you to add the egg whites into that pan, thus avoiding having to wash yet another bowl.
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Old 01-04-2016, 02:57 PM   #16
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Here's a funny DC blast from the past that some may remember. It involved two regular members at the time, who shall remain nameless.

I don't remember the title of the recipe but it was for a savory meat main dish. The recipe author included Condensed canned milk in the recipe, rather than Evaporated canned milk. A member made it the way it was written and couldn't figure out why it was so sweet.
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:25 PM   #17
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Along the lines of what's been discussed, my biggest pet peeve is with (usually older) recipes that call for a "can" of this or a "package" of that. At one point in time, commercial priduct sizes seemed pretty static. Any more, though, companies seem to be constantly changing the size of their packaging in order to charge the same for less product.

Take canned tuna, for instance. For many, many years, the size of the can was a predictable 7 ounces. Then it became 6.5, then 6.25. Currently, I believe it's 5 oz. Even worse, is when companies use the same size package, but fill it with less of the product.

This practice is very frustrating, in particular for younger cooks, who may be unaware of how product amounts have gradually been reduced over the years. The result is recipes that no longer work. Like Andy said, it's always better to specify actual product weight in recipes.
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Old 01-04-2016, 03:40 PM   #18
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Another one of my pet peeves is not listing ingredients in order of use. It's such a pain to make sure you've used everything.
Yes, you're right. I helped put together a church cookbook, and it was amazing how mwny people just listed ingredients helter skelter. It was a lot of work to make some of the recipes make any kind of sense at all.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:40 PM   #19
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How to Make the Perfect Pan-Fried Burger

On this recipe (mid page) for the fry sauce. It calls for 6 cups of mayonnaise and it makes 2/3 cup of sauce.

Quote:
Ingredients for 2/3 cup of fry sauce
6 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon kosher dill pickle juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. The sauce will keep in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I was surprised yahoo didn't fix this recipe.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:54 AM   #20
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Another one of my pet peeves is not listing ingredients in order of use. It's such a pain to make sure you've used everything.
THIS! And it's not just home cooks posting on blogs. The biggest offender I have come across lately is "The Chew". The ingredients are so out of order sometimes it's not even worth trying to work from their printed recipe. I just read over what is written and work from memory. So it's not exactly like it tasted on the TV show version? Meh, they never offered me a taste when I was watching so I don't know what it's like exactly anyway!
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