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Friday, June 6, 2008

Recipe Dealbreakers

I read the article in the New York Times on recipes and what turns people off from making them. I read a few comments, posted my own, and got to thinking: Is there anything I won't try? I haven't had luck cooking tofu-- I can never get it to taste like anything other than paste-- but is that to say I wouldn't try a recipe if someone sent it to me and said "here, this is the mother of all tofu recipes"? Marla swears that she has some good tofu recipes, and I'll try them. Not really a "dealbreaker".

A lot of people said that their "dealbreaker" is odd ingredients-- you know, the spice you need a teaspoon of but rarely use again. Terry often says, "Man, I'd love to make that, but I don't have X," and usually I have it-- I love buying sauces and spices.

Another comment that came up on the Ruhlman blog is cook vs. some other designation-- that you have to be willing to do everything to be a cook, otherwise you're just faking it. This reminds me of the Foodie discussion we had here a couple of months ago.

So are you a cook? What makes a cook? Is there anything you refuse to touch in a recipe?

10 comments:

marlatiara said...

I wish I had a more profound blog to give you for linkage. ;) And I WILL give you tasty tofu recipes.

Maureen Jacob said...

Well, needless to say, as a vegan, recipe/ingredient dealbreakers are obviously any animal products.

But other than that, I'm a pretty adventurous cook (yes, you can be an adventurous vegan cook!). I'm open to trying anything: spices, indigenous vegetables/soy products, etc.

And as for great tofu recipes, I can assure you Julie, if you've had tofu that tastes like paste, then it wasn't prepared properly.

Trust me...and I'll prove it someday!

:)

vudutu said...

I have a sixth sense about recipes, I used to work for a cookbook author, I read and helped test a lot of them, the room we worked in had hundreds of cookbooks, over 60 feet of them, I can spot a good one from ten paces. Bad or poorly written directions are the number one dealbreaker. The number one plus for me is unusual pairings or unique ingredients.

Julie said...

Maureen-- I LOVE tofu I get in restaurants, I just haven't been able to duplicate it at home. I would love for you to show me how!

Vudutu-- I'm with you on poorly written directions. I've had problems with some fairly well-respected cookbook writers with accuracy, as well. I usually just correct them as I go.

vudutu said...

Julie, I usually do the recipe pretty much by the book the first time then tweek it. My SO takes one look and twists and pounds it into her own immediately.

I was astounded by the number of mistakes, this was a very large book, we had a copy with post-it notes sticking out all over. The cycle was interesting, work and test like mad then when an edition came out immediately start checking it again and correcting.

Julie said...

Vudutu, I sound more like your SO. If I see something that doesn't make sense in a recipe, I just change it. Terry always marvels at how I use recipes-- or, more likely than not, don't use them. Or just use them for inspiration.

Cin Twin1 said...

If a recipe call for breadcrumbs, I won't make it. My mother never cooked with them, and I honestly feel there are much better recipes out there to try. Unless you have a killer recipe that includes breadcrumbs, I think I will live without them just fine.

Julie said...

Cin Twin, store bought bread crumbs or fresh? I have a few recipes-- like one for a traditional white gazpacho-- that call for good breadcrumbs (not the ones in the cardboard box).

Jaime said...

If I see a recipe that uses any cream of anything soup I won't make it. That stuff grosses me out and its so much tastier to make a white sauce yourself.

Julie said...

Jaime, I generally agree with you, though I make an exception for green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. This year, however, I intend on doing one completely from scratch (though maybe not the onions...).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Recipe Dealbreakers

I read the article in the New York Times on recipes and what turns people off from making them. I read a few comments, posted my own, and got to thinking: Is there anything I won't try? I haven't had luck cooking tofu-- I can never get it to taste like anything other than paste-- but is that to say I wouldn't try a recipe if someone sent it to me and said "here, this is the mother of all tofu recipes"? Marla swears that she has some good tofu recipes, and I'll try them. Not really a "dealbreaker".

A lot of people said that their "dealbreaker" is odd ingredients-- you know, the spice you need a teaspoon of but rarely use again. Terry often says, "Man, I'd love to make that, but I don't have X," and usually I have it-- I love buying sauces and spices.

Another comment that came up on the Ruhlman blog is cook vs. some other designation-- that you have to be willing to do everything to be a cook, otherwise you're just faking it. This reminds me of the Foodie discussion we had here a couple of months ago.

So are you a cook? What makes a cook? Is there anything you refuse to touch in a recipe?

10 comments:

marlatiara said...

I wish I had a more profound blog to give you for linkage. ;) And I WILL give you tasty tofu recipes.

Maureen Jacob said...

Well, needless to say, as a vegan, recipe/ingredient dealbreakers are obviously any animal products.

But other than that, I'm a pretty adventurous cook (yes, you can be an adventurous vegan cook!). I'm open to trying anything: spices, indigenous vegetables/soy products, etc.

And as for great tofu recipes, I can assure you Julie, if you've had tofu that tastes like paste, then it wasn't prepared properly.

Trust me...and I'll prove it someday!

:)

vudutu said...

I have a sixth sense about recipes, I used to work for a cookbook author, I read and helped test a lot of them, the room we worked in had hundreds of cookbooks, over 60 feet of them, I can spot a good one from ten paces. Bad or poorly written directions are the number one dealbreaker. The number one plus for me is unusual pairings or unique ingredients.

Julie said...

Maureen-- I LOVE tofu I get in restaurants, I just haven't been able to duplicate it at home. I would love for you to show me how!

Vudutu-- I'm with you on poorly written directions. I've had problems with some fairly well-respected cookbook writers with accuracy, as well. I usually just correct them as I go.

vudutu said...

Julie, I usually do the recipe pretty much by the book the first time then tweek it. My SO takes one look and twists and pounds it into her own immediately.

I was astounded by the number of mistakes, this was a very large book, we had a copy with post-it notes sticking out all over. The cycle was interesting, work and test like mad then when an edition came out immediately start checking it again and correcting.

Julie said...

Vudutu, I sound more like your SO. If I see something that doesn't make sense in a recipe, I just change it. Terry always marvels at how I use recipes-- or, more likely than not, don't use them. Or just use them for inspiration.

Cin Twin1 said...

If a recipe call for breadcrumbs, I won't make it. My mother never cooked with them, and I honestly feel there are much better recipes out there to try. Unless you have a killer recipe that includes breadcrumbs, I think I will live without them just fine.

Julie said...

Cin Twin, store bought bread crumbs or fresh? I have a few recipes-- like one for a traditional white gazpacho-- that call for good breadcrumbs (not the ones in the cardboard box).

Jaime said...

If I see a recipe that uses any cream of anything soup I won't make it. That stuff grosses me out and its so much tastier to make a white sauce yourself.

Julie said...

Jaime, I generally agree with you, though I make an exception for green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. This year, however, I intend on doing one completely from scratch (though maybe not the onions...).

Friday, June 6, 2008

Recipe Dealbreakers

I read the article in the New York Times on recipes and what turns people off from making them. I read a few comments, posted my own, and got to thinking: Is there anything I won't try? I haven't had luck cooking tofu-- I can never get it to taste like anything other than paste-- but is that to say I wouldn't try a recipe if someone sent it to me and said "here, this is the mother of all tofu recipes"? Marla swears that she has some good tofu recipes, and I'll try them. Not really a "dealbreaker".

A lot of people said that their "dealbreaker" is odd ingredients-- you know, the spice you need a teaspoon of but rarely use again. Terry often says, "Man, I'd love to make that, but I don't have X," and usually I have it-- I love buying sauces and spices.

Another comment that came up on the Ruhlman blog is cook vs. some other designation-- that you have to be willing to do everything to be a cook, otherwise you're just faking it. This reminds me of the Foodie discussion we had here a couple of months ago.

So are you a cook? What makes a cook? Is there anything you refuse to touch in a recipe?

10 comments:

marlatiara said...

I wish I had a more profound blog to give you for linkage. ;) And I WILL give you tasty tofu recipes.

Maureen Jacob said...

Well, needless to say, as a vegan, recipe/ingredient dealbreakers are obviously any animal products.

But other than that, I'm a pretty adventurous cook (yes, you can be an adventurous vegan cook!). I'm open to trying anything: spices, indigenous vegetables/soy products, etc.

And as for great tofu recipes, I can assure you Julie, if you've had tofu that tastes like paste, then it wasn't prepared properly.

Trust me...and I'll prove it someday!

:)

vudutu said...

I have a sixth sense about recipes, I used to work for a cookbook author, I read and helped test a lot of them, the room we worked in had hundreds of cookbooks, over 60 feet of them, I can spot a good one from ten paces. Bad or poorly written directions are the number one dealbreaker. The number one plus for me is unusual pairings or unique ingredients.

Julie said...

Maureen-- I LOVE tofu I get in restaurants, I just haven't been able to duplicate it at home. I would love for you to show me how!

Vudutu-- I'm with you on poorly written directions. I've had problems with some fairly well-respected cookbook writers with accuracy, as well. I usually just correct them as I go.

vudutu said...

Julie, I usually do the recipe pretty much by the book the first time then tweek it. My SO takes one look and twists and pounds it into her own immediately.

I was astounded by the number of mistakes, this was a very large book, we had a copy with post-it notes sticking out all over. The cycle was interesting, work and test like mad then when an edition came out immediately start checking it again and correcting.

Julie said...

Vudutu, I sound more like your SO. If I see something that doesn't make sense in a recipe, I just change it. Terry always marvels at how I use recipes-- or, more likely than not, don't use them. Or just use them for inspiration.

Cin Twin1 said...

If a recipe call for breadcrumbs, I won't make it. My mother never cooked with them, and I honestly feel there are much better recipes out there to try. Unless you have a killer recipe that includes breadcrumbs, I think I will live without them just fine.

Julie said...

Cin Twin, store bought bread crumbs or fresh? I have a few recipes-- like one for a traditional white gazpacho-- that call for good breadcrumbs (not the ones in the cardboard box).

Jaime said...

If I see a recipe that uses any cream of anything soup I won't make it. That stuff grosses me out and its so much tastier to make a white sauce yourself.

Julie said...

Jaime, I generally agree with you, though I make an exception for green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. This year, however, I intend on doing one completely from scratch (though maybe not the onions...).