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Old 01-04-2016, 12:59 AM   #1
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When you read a recipe...

I spend a lot of time reviewing recipes. I am pretty good at picking out where there is an Oops! missed a step or this is not going to work. In another life, I kept a file of bad sentences (when I was an editor). I now have a collection of bad recipes/techniques. My current fav is a recipe for a rice pilaf with fresh asparagus tips. The instructions had the tios being cooked with the rice for 20 minutes. Yuck-I didn't need to cook that to know the asparagus would be worse than canned (I think I likened the asparagus tips to worse than baby Sh*t when I sent my comments back W/out having to make the recipe). I often review recipes with a flat flavour profile where the mid and high notes are missing.

Wondering what red flags others pick up on when reading recipes? I have a lot more "not gonna work recipes," but asparagus tip pilaf is one of my favs. What are some of your favs?
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Old 01-04-2016, 01:45 AM   #2
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One that always bugs me is the direction to add garlic too soon. Years ago, before I really learned to cook, I frequently burned garlic because of that. I thought I was doing something wrong. Now I know it was bad recipe writing.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:13 AM   #3
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Unless I am baking, at home I cook on the fly. When testing a recipe or cooking for a restaurant, I follow the recipe exactly, including timing with timers. It ticks me off when I am told "you should've cooked that at 400" when the temp written was 350. Gee, make sure your recipes are written correctly before you have s/one else make them. Just saying. I baked cornbread muffins according to the recipe. The line cook complained almost every dsy. Finally the Exec chef looked at the recipe and said "the recipe is wrong." Not my fault.
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Old 01-04-2016, 05:26 AM   #4
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Gee, I just had a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with nuts this week. I make sure I have all my ingredients out along with the equipment. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of flour. I knew it was wrong when I read it. But For giggles and laughs, I went ahead. Added the two eggs, had soup on my hands. So I added what the amount of the missing flour should have read. Cookies came out fine. Someone didn't proof their recipe. That could have been a culinary disaster for an inexperienced cook.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:00 AM   #5
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I recently had a recipe that I tried and knew it was wrong but went along with it anyway, i.e. against my better judgement.

It was a kind of spaghetti carbonara but baked - like a cake. It called for folding in RAW torn up pieces of baby spinach and then baking the mixture. Sure enough there were hard, brown, crispy bits of spinach emerging from the top of it (I thought I had pushed most of it down).
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:29 AM   #6
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One of the recipes I had to cook for the food photographer had couscous in the ingredients and barley in the instructions. I went with Freekah for the photoshoot since I had to rework it anyway.

Reshooting is expensive so I fix the problems before we shoot or kick the recipe back to the chef or rework the recipe to fit our criteria
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addie View Post
Gee, I just had a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with nuts this week. I make sure I have all my ingredients out along with the equipment. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of flour. I knew it was wrong when I read it. But For giggles and laughs, I went ahead. Added the two eggs, had soup on my hands. So I added what the amount of the missing flour should have read. Cookies came out fine. Someone didn't proof their recipe. That could have been a culinary disaster for an inexperienced cook.
How much flour should it have Been?
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:05 AM   #8
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Parmesan Cheese.
Its usually found in almost every magazine recipe, and my wife falls for it every time.
I have nothing against parmesan cheese, and I use it all the time.
But when I read a recipe and the last thing says, add 1/4 or 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, I know that the whole dish is going to taste like parmesan cheese, totally counteracting anything else you added up until that point.

Im not saying this is a bad thing, and for some recipes it works nicely, but for many its just too overpowering, leaving just one taste.

Larry
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:37 AM   #9
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For me it is usually the old recipes similar to the one below.

It was assumed that every female, of a certain age, would know how to cream butter and sugar, what temp to use, what size pan, etc... It can be fun converting them and bringing them up to date.




A Cake Bakes in Brooklyn: "Just Cake" and Easy Caramel Frosting
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:56 AM   #10
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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.
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