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Professionally written recipes?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I'm finding it difficult to find good recipes. They have confusing, non-standard type instructions, unpredictable results, etc. Published cookbooks aren't so helpful either since anyone can self publish these days. 

I'm not experienced enough to be able to spot and correct mistakes before I make the recipe. Recipe websites with reviews aren't really helpful either because people drastically change the recipe and then review the changed recipe. 

So, I guess I'm asking for websites that offer professionally written recipes. Which would you recommend? 

I've already got foodnetwork, cooking channel, recipetv and PBS.

post #2 of 10
What you need to understand about recipes, even ones that are tested thoroughly, is that the user may need to improvise to get best results. You are cooking with organic material that was alive. It is highly variable between one orange and the next. How sweet is it, how acidic, how much did it rain. It could affect how much sugar or vinegar you need to use. You have to taste and think at every step. Maybe Jacques Pepin can explain it better:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/jacques-pepin-says-following-a-recipe-can-lead-to-disaster/


It's difficult because people who need recipes the most are the ones who don't know enough to improvise. Fundamental cooking knowledge and techniques are more important than any single recipe.
post #3 of 10
I agree with everything millions said. That said, Essential Jacques pepin has recipes that everyone seems to agree are well tested, and also comes with a DVD of techniques and has sidenotes about the techniques for many of the dishes.

Standard cookbook recommendations also include joy of cooking and fannie farmer, but I've actually never used either.

Websites it seems like the new York times is full of good recipes, although I'm not sure how thoroughly they're tested. Serious eats seems to be somewhat polarizing, but I don't think anyone would say the kenji Lopez or Daniel gritzer recipes haven't at least been tested.

If you're looking for a particular style of food somebody might be able to make a recommendation for that if you call it out.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

What you need to understand about recipes, even ones that are tested thoroughly, is that the user may need to improvise to get best results. You are cooking with organic material that was alive. It is highly variable between one orange and the next. How sweet is it, how acidic, how much did it rain. It could affect how much sugar or vinegar you need to use. You have to taste and think at every step. Maybe Jacques Pepin can explain it better:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/jacques-pepin-says-following-a-recipe-can-lead-to-disaster/


It's difficult because people who need recipes the most are the ones who don't know enough to improvise. Fundamental cooking knowledge and techniques are more important than any single recipe.

 

Jacques Pepin can make warmed up cardboard look tasty.....I recall he noted that recipes are more of a 'roadmap' and not something that is followed in a rote manner.

post #5 of 10

Recipes come in various formats. Professional recipes aren't as descriptive as you might think, and depend on your experience to aid you through the process. Like what MillionsKnives said. Recipes for non professionals or people with little kitchen experience are better off followed to the letter, and should be chosen based on reputation.  I've found poorly written recipes littered with mistakes online as well as everything from a Williams Sonoma catalog and a Food and Wine magazine to a Jean-Georges Vongerichten cook bookRead recipes twice and thrice before starting, imagining every step.

 

It should also be noted that everyone has a different cognitive process, and requires a different approach to get to the same place. I always like to give the example of a crane. Many people require a basic understanding of levers, fulcrums, etc,  first, to understand how a crane works. In other words, provide information in a sequential order, ignoring the big picture or concept. Others want the concept first, and the details afterwards. It's linear thinking vs abstract. Some people can jump between the two, others not so much. 

 

If I know something is basically a roast, braise, or whatever, I read ingredient list and quantities and fill in the blanks based on my experience. I usually guess right on the process or technique, unless is something out of the ordinary. Then I monitor the process at every step, adjusting as need be. 

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jake t buds View Post
 

Recipes come in various formats. Professional recipes aren't as descriptive as you might think, and depend on your experience to aid you through the process.

 

Have you ever read recipes from really old cookbooks, especially cookbooks prior to 1900?  In many cases the recipes aren't a whole lot more than a listing of ingredients with the vaguest of directions because it was expected that the reader already knew how to cook.  They are priceless, but useless to those that those that aren't strong cooks already.

post #7 of 10
I think technique and end objective matters

The recipe process is a guiding step of approximate measures only

I just cant follow recipes, it needs my touch, else all products would taste like frozen fries
post #8 of 10

A local newspaper ran an article about a farmers market in Santa Barbara, CA.  The writer included a recipe for a fish dish at a local restaurant.  The court bullion serving for four used two ounces of saffron.  This is an example of garbage food reviews and recipes in magazines and on the net.  These are published by journalists and writers not cooks.  I imagine that the original court bullion recipe called for two or three threads of saffron.  Saffron at $320.00 per ounce would ruin the food cost and taste terrible.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimyra View Post
 

A local newspaper ran an article about a farmers market in Santa Barbara, CA.  The writer included a recipe for a fish dish at a local restaurant.  The court bullion serving for four used two ounces of saffron.  This is an example of garbage food reviews and recipes in magazines and on the net.  These are published by journalists and writers not cooks.  I imagine that the original court bullion recipe called for two or three threads of saffron.  Saffron at $320.00 per ounce would ruin the food cost and taste terrible.

That IS a lot of saffron!  

 

This is how I feel when i see asian recipes for one or two servings calling for 1/2 cup of soy sauce.  Do people understand how much salt that is?  

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimyra View Post
 

A local newspaper ran an article about a farmers market in Santa Barbara, CA.  The writer included a recipe for a fish dish at a local restaurant.  The court bullion serving for four used two ounces of saffron.  This is an example of garbage food reviews and recipes in magazines and on the net.  These are published by journalists and writers not cooks.  I imagine that the original court bullion recipe called for two or three threads of saffron.  Saffron at $320.00 per ounce would ruin the food cost and taste terrible.

That IS a lot of saffron!  

 

This is how I feel when i see asian recipes for one or two servings calling for 1/2 cup of soy sauce.  Do people understand how much salt that is?  

 

:eek:.

 

Wonder what happened to the OP.

I came to stand up for the self published cookbooks.

Esp those printed by church ladies organizations as they include the dishes we learned as we "came up" cooking at Gma's or mommy's (or daddy's ;-) knees.

Not fancy but good solid (edible) dishes that apply technique and seasonings in a manner that encourages "play".

As in "I like to use MaryLou's meatloaf recipe but always substitute the diced celery for a good celery salt..."

 

I think I am safe saying none of the rock star chefs learned to cook by reading "Joy".

 

mimi

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