Have you ever tested a recipe and did not like it?

What did you do? Sent your review or passed on the opportunity to test. Would like to hear your thoughts.



drbabs February 16, 2013
I agree with everything said here. I've tested recipes that didn't work because of techniques or something left out, and I've added what I did to make it work if it was salvageable. Like AJ, I send a version of my reviewntonthe recipe writer. And we used to know who was testing our recipes-- I would write the tester and ask for feedback if the recipe wasn't chosen. I agree that it would be nice to see all the reviews. We all have different tastes and skill levels, and it's really nice to get feedback.
ATG117 February 15, 2013
I think it's important to co
nstructively provide negative feedback. I alctually would love to see reviews included as a tab on the recipes page. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that part of my hesitancy in using many recipes boils down to lack of reviews and a feeling that everything is, perhaps unrealistically, praised. I understand the delicate balance in trying to maintain a sense of community and not wanting to hurt feelings. But uktimately, ihink honesty and transparency and thus reviews--both good and bad--are important
pierino February 13, 2013
And of course Food52 encourages constructive crit from testers. Personally I welcome it.
This past Sunday I had to chef a Chinese Lunar New Year dinner for a large group including a whole bunch of bratty kids. I pitched my no-hitter for the year. But still, I was awake almost all night going back through the whole working day (about12 hours) going over what I could have done better; this detail or that detail. I welcome helpful criticism from testers. Hit me with it. I won't take offense.
susan G. February 13, 2013
I think that the contest testing procedure was changed to have up to 3 testers to account for the subjectivity of recipes -- if one doesn't like a recipe and 2 do, it may be personal opinion. If there are poor results which seem to be due to the recipe itself, it will show up in consistent feedback. I have tested and loved a good number of recipes on food52. Only once did I have a problem. I tried the recipe twice, but something just didn't work out. I ended up with something delicious totally unlike the intended outcome -- and sent a sad but honest report in.
em-i-lis February 13, 2013
This is a great, constructive thread, and I'm happy you posed the question, QueenS, and happy y'all answered honestly and thoughtfully, everyone else. I agree with pretty much everything said above and do let the editors know my thoughts when a recipe I test just doesn't quite seem to make it.
QueenSashy February 13, 2013
Thank you all for your thoughts. I cannot agree more, I like to get the feedback on my dishes, good or not-so-good, they both count. (Come to think about it, not-so-good counts even more.) But, when faced with the prospect of writing a not-so-glowing review, I am a huge chicken, and sometimes even make the dish before signing up to test, just so that I am on the safe side ?

SeaJambon I love your idea of testing your own recipes, if you ever need a subject count me in!
sdebrango February 13, 2013
I couldn't agree more, it's hard to write a review that is less than glowing but honestly, I really like to hear the good and the not so good, it helps me write a better recipe and I truly appreciate constructive criticism.
boulangere February 13, 2013
I, as well, once tested a recipe that I did not like. It just didn't work: it didn't come together well, didn't bake up remotely as the photo showed, and all in all seemed thrown together. I wrote an honest review and sent it to the editors.

Voted the Best Reply!

AntoniaJames February 13, 2013
Another point to remember when testing recipes here . . . . even recipes that get good reviews are not chosen for community pick honors. There seems to be some unspecified (and, I've observed, variable) limit on the number that are posted. But to answer your question, I always send a message to the editors explaining exactly why I don't like a recipe, providing a lot of detail about what doesn't work, and why I cannot recommend it. I usually send the same message to the author of the recipe as well (adapted somewhat, of course), as I assume that he or she is interested in constructive feedback. That takes some courage, I know, but it's not as hard as you might think, especially when one makes an effort to be diplomatic. ;o)
mrslarkin February 13, 2013
Yep, just send your feedback to the editors. Be honest and compassionate. Don't be mean.

From a testee's perspective, I don't expect all my recipes to be universally liked, especially if it's some weird or unusual technique, and I would welcome any comments and suggestions to improve the recipe/instructions/final product. But it sure feels tons better when a recipe is met with success by others. :)
ChefJune February 13, 2013
I'm presuming you're referring to testing recipes here on food52. I haven't tested one here I didn't like, but if I did I would send in my evaluation and let the staff decide how to handle it.
aargersi February 13, 2013
I have tested and not liked a recipe before, and I think in my case it WAS personal preference not a flawed recipe - I gave my honest feedback to the editors and let them decide!!!
SeaJambon February 13, 2013
I have actually sent out recipes to be tested and intentionally solicited honest feedback (even with forms designed for that purpose, asking pointed questions on texture, taste, what would make it better?) as that's how recipes get improved. I would absolutely want your honest feedback as without honest feedback, the recipe can't be improved. And, sometimes it isn't the recipe, but rather the directions (cooking time or temp wasn't right; the directions on mixing were less than clear or required knowledge of a complicated technique that I didn't know). All of that is VERY valuable feedback. Again, the recipe can't be revised/adjusted/improved without honest feedback.

Having said that, I'd also want to know if it was a matter of taste (for example, if someone asked me for an assessment of a recipe that relies on a food I don't like, I would seriously note that -- since it might be me, not the recipe).

Finally, I guess I'd take into account the reason for the testing. If it is your mother-in-law who wants to know what you think of her recipe, but she really has no interest in improving it, I might say something diplomatic and non-committal. But if it was a formal review, I'd go with the honest (kind and honest are not incompatible -- I personally struggle in keeping the "brutal" out of "brutally honest").
sdebrango February 13, 2013
I once tested a recipe that i didn't like, I sent my notes to the editors along with the reason I didn't like it. I felt it was important to let the editors know, I don't remember if there were any other testers for that recipe who may have liked it. Sometimes it can be a matter of personal taste or could also be inherent flaws with the recipe.
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