What are your biggest recipe pet peeves?
I'm hunting recipes for the next Genius cookbook (for beginners) and I need your help! I'll be asking a series of questions here on the Hotline as I develop the book, and I'd be very grateful for the community's wisdom, as always.
This week, I want to hear about the things that frustrate you most in recipes—confusing lingo like "divided" or "stiff but not dry peaks" or "until done" come to mind, but I want to hear about any other sneaky things that have thwarted you, too.
Here's a bit more on the book: https://food52.com/blog...
And the last 4 questions:
What's the very first recipe you learned to make? https://food52.com/hotline...
What book (or TV show or magazine) taught you how to cook? https://food52.com/hotline...
What are the biggest cooking mistakes you've ever made? https://food52.com/hotline...
What types of recipes do you always need more of? https://food52.com/hotline...
Thank you all!
Perhaps for this reason, my cookbook club all thought Salt Fat Acid Heat was the book we wished we'd had when we were just starting out. Its emphasis on breaking down cooking into conceptual units was really revolutionary, and we've all found that in the months since we used that book for our club, we've changed our style.
Another thing I'd like to see in a book for beginners is a way to make the connection between what's in the recipe and what's in the larder. Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything was helpful to me when I was first starting to cook for a family, because his recipes are so well scaffolded, and he includes many suggestions for how to alter them or substitute ingredients.
I'd also like to see suggestions for how to use up what one has. In part because I've belonged to a CSA for nearly 20 years, I frequently will modify a recipe to use what I have in the house. No kale, but chard--that's fine! No butternut squash, but pumpkin will do. For all of his fussiness about arcane spices, Ottolenghi's recipes are well-enough constructed that the substitution of ingredients is frequently possible without changing the basic nature of the dish. Deborah Madison is another author whose recipes are rock-solid.
-Recipe description such as: old family favorite, great flavors, can be frozen, concise because I am cooking, not reading a [email protected]!
-Please tell us that ALL recipes have been tested
-Give alternate cooking vessels, pressure cooker if appropriate w/conversion times
-many of us now use induction so we need temperature, not cook on medium 350, 250, ??
"Allow it to cool to room temperature"?
"Let it cool to room temperature"?
"Bring it to room temperature"?
"Cool to room temperature"?
Allow - means - To give permission. You can't give permission to an inanimate object.
Let - means - Not to forbid something. One can't forbid or not forbid an inanimate object.
Bring - means - Come to a place with, or carry, (someone or something). Or, to make (someone or something) move in a particular direction or way.
"Cool to room temperature" - Is correct, logical and concise.
"Mix the butter and sugar together".
Mix the butter and sugar means the same thing. "Together" has become a cliche.
"Bake it 350 degrees *for* 30 minutes. You are not baking FOR the minutes! Bake 350 degrees, 30 minutes is more gramatically correct.
Remember, we do not all live in NYC. We are not all able-bodied. We are not all wealthy. We do not all have easy access to fresh produce year round. Please.
There are only two of us. Most recipes are for four or more! Tell us if your recipe ingredients can be cut in half.
It would be SO helpful to have a high elevation section/ conversion scale such as 'Pie in the Sky' cookbook. There are a multitude of cooks that exist above sea level.😉
Also don't like when the preparation is not listed next to the ingredient and I have to drop everything to chop something.
Assumes everyone knows the size and can find it.
This can happen with recipes from the past or from another country, both of which are difficult or impossible to source or define.
Second most frustrating is description of produce by adjective (sm, med, lg).
In all of these, please give weights, volumes or at the very least inches for your onion, apple, cauliflower.
Grandmother recipes (cup, pinch, enough), difficult as they may be,are piece of cake compared to these assured but mysteriously vague measurements.