Often no answers to Hotline questions about food52 on-site reipes

I've noticed for a long time that questions about recipes posted here that are either incomplete (ingredients, quantitates and/or directions) are not answered. There used to be a writer or editor who would address these questions if the members reading the section hadn't seen them or had no answers.
While I understand you only test a portion of the recipes in the test kitchen, users of food52 site may be disappointed both in an incomplete recipe (even if from a member and not tested) and silence on problems once noticed.
Is there a better way to handle these posted-but-not-tested recipes published under your auspices?

  • Posted by: Nancy
  • March 28, 2023


Charlie S. March 31, 2023
Nancy, I got an email today which you probably did as well -- Epi is purging their entire site of all member-posted recipes. Purge starts on April 17.
Nancy March 31, 2023
Charlie. - I’m registered at and have saved recipes at Epicurious, but didn’t get that note. Thanks for mentioning this interesting development.
Are you suggesting they are having similar problems with reliability of member-posted recipes? And/or could it be an issue of cutting tech costs for maintenance of the archive?
Charlie S. March 31, 2023
FYI -- the purge will even remove these recipes from your recipe box according to the Epi email.

I would think the reliability, food safety aspects, etc. of the member posted recipes would be a concern, and at least part of the reason for the purge. How much a part, I have no idea.
Hi Nancy, thanks for writing in, let's talk about the Food52 Recipe Collection!

If a recipe has the test kitchen approved stamp, it has been verified and approved by our Test Kitchen team. If the stamp of approval is not present, we have not yet tested and verified the recipe shared by our Community members.

The easiest way to search a recipe to see if it has been tested and approved is to search a recipe or key words and select the filter on the left titled "Test Kitchen-Approved".

For example, a search for Maple Walnut Cake pulled up 26 results. An amazing show of contributions from our Community! When I selected the "Test Kitchen-Approved" filter, 2 recipes have been verified by our team.

Hope this answers your question and guides you towards the recipes we have tested and approved!
creamtea March 29, 2023
Since Nancy is an original user of the site and and is the member who answers questions with the most frequency of anyone, (whenever I check into a query, she's often already answered it) I'm sure she knows the culture well. I think she may be asking a different question on behalf of users who may be new to the site: a method for tracing incomplete or confusing recipes. Not all users know to look for the "test kitchen approved" symbol and as far as newer members are concerned, all recipes seem to be "equal." As she says, "is there a better way." How can the site be improved?
Charlie S. March 29, 2023
Mods should delete obviously incomplete or confusing recipes. The example she posted in response to me was one. It was an abomination for an inexperienced baker.

I'm an occasional visitor, and experienced cook and baker, now semi-retired and what I find odd about this site, that I've previously mentioned, are all the requests for substitutions and how to make recipes vegan, gluten-free, etc. It's absurd. If it were up to me, I'd simply delete the majority of those posts out-of-hand. They're almost self-parodying. They're ridiculous and there rarely is a right answer though people earnestly post as if there were one. "It worked great" from somebody who couldn't cook their way out of a wet paper sack isn't terribly reassuring. And then other people think it works, but it doesn't, and the process repeats itself.
Nancy March 31, 2023
@Michelle (Customer Care) - regrets, no your prompt thoughtful answer addressed a separate topic.

I'm asking, if new(ish) cooks and users have twice found the food52 site not great:

* recipe they choose to make is incomplete or inconsistent,
* no response on Hotline to question about the problem,

will they come back?

Or just go to another cooking site for a similar recipe, help, shopping?

Thanks for your consideration; over to you,

Charlie S. March 28, 2023
I don't blame Food52. There are far too many questions about substitutions - a seemingly great recipe needs to be made gluten free, vegan, dairy-free, etc. Nobody can test a recipe four or five different ways to accommodate people's paranoia about a food ingredient. Anybody who has a legitimate illness, i.e. not simply following trends, needs to follow their physician's advice and not burden general purpose websites like Food52 with their specific, medical needs.

Some of the threads devolve into coming very close to providing medical advice to people who claim to have celiac and other disease conditions. Taking a stranger's advice about a substitute ingredient could put your health at serious risk. Please don't tempt people to provide such advice out of a sense of trying to be helpful. It's selfish and unfair to the rest of the group. If you're a strict vegan, have a competently and have a legitimately diagnosed serious celiac disease, there are websites specifically for you. If you're not eating gluten simply because it's the latest trend then YOU TELL US how to fix these recipes to make them work with no gluten. Let the rest of us enjoy our wheat flour, butter, cream, and eggs.
Nancy March 28, 2023
If the question were about substitutions (for whatever reason), Charlie, I might agree with you.
What I was (and am) asking about are missing, incomplete and/or misleading basic ingredients lists and directions.
Charlie S. March 28, 2023
How did you figure out something was missing? Have any specific recipes in mind?
Nancy March 28, 2023
I read the (many) questions.
For ex, see the one on hotline home page about no amount for sour cream in maple walnut cake recipe.
Charlie S. March 28, 2023
Yeah, that one's kind of a mess for a straight recipe follower. The amount of fat would vary widely depending on the kind of flour used, and a type doesn't seem to be specified. Then there is the issue of weights vs. volume measurements for dry ingredients, etc.
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