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Do Any Recipes that Call Themselves "The Best" Live Up to The Name?

September 21, 2016

There are the confident recipes ("my best", "our best", "Alice's best") and then there are recipes that are proud to the point of recklessness. These shrug off the possessive pronoun and shoot straight for the definitive: the best, the best ever, the greatest of all time.

And we have quite a few of these haughty chest-puffers in our own archives...

When I see a recipe that pats itself on the back in the title, I'm immediately skeptical—but also intrigued. Imagine the audacity—and assuredness—behind such a declaration! It better be really, really good.

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In an effort to find "the best" recipes that truly are the best, we want to know: Which recipes that have called themselves the best are true to their names? Are these chocolate chip cookies really the best ever? What about this pumpkin pie? And is this fried chicken (made with cream of chicken soup) truly better than the best? (From the other side, which of these have let you down?) Tell us in the comments! We can't wait to do some testing.

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Top Comment:
“There are recipes circulating since mid 1970s in Canadian food journalism headlined the "Best of the Best" or "Best of Bridge" that may actually deserve the titles. They come from a bridge-game group (I think originally in Calgary) who pooled their tried-and-true recipes and published them in a first book. In the vein of old community fund-raiser books (all over the map from Junior League to Hadassah) and/or the WI (Women's Institute) in England. Down to earth, accessible, good tasting, sometimes with fun stories. Oh, a lick of modesty.”
— Nancy
Comment

Which recipes that say they're the best really are? Drop a link or a reference in the comments below!

21 Comments

marc510 September 25, 2016
I can't recall any recipes that I have made called "best" -- and I think it's outrageous to put that name on any recipe. <br /><br />When roaming around town, I take note when I see a restaurant or shop saying they have the "best _____ in town." So here's a free idea for a TV show or a series of webisodes: take a team of expert tasters around a big city with a bunch of "best ice cream in town" signs, and do taste tests. Perhaps a stop at one or two other places that are renowned for the same item would be a good addition.
 
Nancy September 23, 2016
Maybe we should declare a moratorium or retirement of certain words in recipe titles on grounds of overuse or misuse. Best, genius, amazing et al. It also suggests a laziness (tell me about the recipe, not your self-evaluation).<br />Last, one possible exception.<br />There are recipes circulating since mid 1970s in Canadian food journalism headlined the "Best of the Best" or "Best of Bridge" that may actually deserve the titles. They come from a bridge-game group (I think originally in Calgary) who pooled their tried-and-true recipes and published them in a first book. In the vein of old community fund-raiser books (all over the map from Junior League to Hadassah) and/or the WI (Women's Institute) in England. Down to earth, accessible, good tasting, sometimes with fun stories. Oh, a lick of modesty.
 
SonjaM September 22, 2016
I'll probably try a bunch of these recipes, especially the cabbage. <br />A recipe that never lets me down is the high altitude recipe (I live just outside Denver) for chocolate chip cookies (that I make as bars because I'm lazy) on the back of the Nestle package. Not kidding! They are my go-to for office parties, slumber parties and bake sales. People are always surprised that I'm not using a secret amazing recipe.
 
MarieGlobetrotter September 22, 2016
The "best" is obviously very subjective...at least to some extend (of course some recipes are better than others). Since food is also about emotions, we may feel that our grandmothers' cake is the best in the world simply because it brings back memories of childhood. My mother makes fantastic over-baked trout but I is associate it with a great dinner I once had with her and that's why I think it's the best. But that's my point of view.<br /><br />Plus, let's say you say "the best chicken recipe in the world"...it's rare that people have taste all the chicken recipes in the world...
 
nutcakes September 22, 2016
I think World's Best Braised Cabbage is one. It's from Molly Stevens All About Braising cookbook. I see genius recipes already features two from this book, maybe the cabbage is already widely known. But I'm not a big fan of cabbage and this recipe really is the greatest. That's 3 keepers at least in this book, maybe I should get it.
 
nutcakes September 26, 2016
I want to add that the cabbage is both braised and then caramelized, truly wonderful and you can find it online or in her book.
 
Daryna T. September 21, 2016
Have you ever tried the "World's Best Lasagna"? Here's a five-star recipe that has over 10k reviews:<br /><br />http://allrecipes.com/recipe/23600/worlds-best-lasagna/?internalSource=hub%20recipe&referringContentType=search%20results&clickId=cardslot%202<br /><br /> It's not fancy, but it is satisfying. I guess I'm not the only one who thinks so!<br /><br />
 
pierino September 21, 2016
And of course we are now living in era of Trumpian exaggeration where everything is "YYuuuuuggge" or beautiful. I can't wait for the "beautiful Wall" which is sure to become a destination in itself, with "awesome" taco trucks parked along its length. Unfortunately the "ultimate Trump Taco Bowl failed to live up to its billing. Maybe it has a future as a January college football game. Naming rights are for sale.
 
Kasey C. September 22, 2016
Well, I'm thinking "huge" and "beautiful" are better than "ah-MAY-zing!" But if I hear them as much as I've heard "ah-MAY-zing," I might just have to agree with you. ;-)
 
ChefJune September 22, 2016
"Amazing" is not quite as offensive to me as is "Awesome." Sounds like folks don't know what AWESOME means. It's almost never the appropriate comment.
 
Kasey C. September 22, 2016
Yep, ChefJune, I agree: both are overused and incorrectly used. And I'm not even going to "life-changing": it really gets me to hear "I found this great pair of shoes on sale - it was life-changing!!!" (Where is the ROTFLMAO emoticon when I need one?)
 
Smaug September 22, 2016
As long as they don't try to "change the world" (into what?) I can stand it.
 
Kasey C. September 22, 2016
;-)
 
Meisenman September 21, 2016
This genius article blew my mind!
 
Smaug September 21, 2016
I might consider a "best" recipe, but "Ultimate" recipes are absolutely out of the question.
 
ChefJune September 21, 2016
That's why I would never NAME any of my recipes "Best," or "Best Ever." I prefer to have someone else who's made the recipe deem it "The Best." It's kind of like calling yourself the best looking.... I might indicate "best ever" in head notes, but not the title.<br />Don't get me started on that "Genius" title. It's about as accurate as "Awesome" -- an adjective I don't use because so few things really are awesome.
 
Pastraminator September 21, 2016
I love "The Best Recipe" cookbook from cook illustrated, They alway explain why they are referring to it as the best. Usually they talk about an issue and how they overcame it. Sometimes it's cooking time, expensive ingredients, prep time, easier not screw up etc etc.
 
SonjaM September 22, 2016
My 14 year old turns to our America's Test Kitchen cookbook often - almost as often as the Internet!
 
Pastraminator September 22, 2016
It's a great book to learn by! explains what they are trying to accomplish and what they are prioritizing and what failed. It gives you an opportunity to think about experimentation.
 
amysarah September 21, 2016
Maybe too obviously in this context, but this same case can be made for the now often used superlative "genius." To my ear, it only applies in the rarest of cases, but I pretty much accept it as a generational thing - semantics are ever changing. With that disclaimer, of course my mother's brisket was "the best."
 
Smaug September 21, 2016
"Genius" has the further disadvantage of not being an adjective.