Sunday, July 17, 2011

Recipes and Cook Books

People are constantly asking me why writing my cookbook is taking so long. The answer is simple...I'm doing it myself; I'm working from recipes that have been given to me by other people, and even my Mom.
The problem with other people’s recipes is that often they are simply an outline of something that they make all of the time. The problem starts when you pass your recipe on to someone else. I made a hash brown bake just yesterday and came to a point, just after mixing the ingredients together when I did not know what to do next. I had to call the person who gave me the recipe and ask a couple of questions. Now that it's mixed what do I do with it? You bake it was the persons response! In what size casserole dish? Is it greased, buttered, sprayed or prepared in any other way? What about the casserole toppings? Are they added before baking, near the end, 5 minutes before being done?
When I was getting married my wife was given a bridal shower and everyone brought five of their family's favorite recipes. These recipes were fantastic, but for the most part not written clearly. So when passing a recipe on make sure that you cover each and every step clearly and as if the person reading it is conceptually challenged.
In Microsoft Word when you do a spell check it gives you a "Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level." If your recipe is 7 or over don't use so many big words. Don't worry about fragmented sentences. Write down each and every step of the recipe, even if you've made it 100 times before. So when writing a recipe to pass along, remember "KISS" (Keep it simple Stupid)! 
What are the best cook books to buy? I like the fundraiser cookbooks often written by church groups and family cooks consisting of everyday meals, for real families, eaten by real people. I have many celebrity chefs’ cookbooks that are great if you want to put on a gourmet dinner or do a food show. Don't trust all online recipes because many of them are not accurate and often have a disclaimer attached to them. 
© Tmelle 1998-2011

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