I Don't Like Spiders And Snakes... - SoGirl Blog at Allrecipes.com - 297471


I don't like spiders and snakes... 
Feb. 15, 2013 9:24 am 
Updated: Feb. 21, 2013 4:42 am
As the song goes.  I actually DON'T like spiders at all (I know, they eat insects, they serve a purpose, etc, etc, etc.) but I STILL don't like them.  Snakes...well, I'm ok with them as long as we both understand our boundaries.  I'm far less likely to encounter a snake than a spider, so I'll stick with my statement. 

Now, don't leave yet.  This is not a blog on the merits of a love/hate relationship with arachnids or reptiles.  

I read many reviews and enjoy those who add their own touches to a dish the most.  I like to see what other people add/delete to make it their own.  If I read one that says, "I made exactly as written, and we loved it.", that's all well and good, but it doesn't really pique my interest for the way I cook.  That will always be a hotly debated topic here, and we'll never all see eye-to-eye, so I'll leave it at that.  Not too long ago, I had an "electronic conversation" with someone who provided a recipe for an Italian meat sauce that included ingredients that aren't really my cup of tea.  The strong recommendation was that the recipe be made as-is...no deletions or substitutions.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is an almost impossible task for me.  I simply don't cook that way.  I was taught to cook by wonderful women who almost never measured anything and just threw in whatever sounded good.  I've rarely had a recipe fail...might not have liked some of my creations very much, but rarely was it a complete flop.  So to be fair to the recipe and respect the recommendations of the recipe owner, I decided to try to stick as closely as possible to the recipe.  The one thing I absolutely refused to add was celery.  As a kid I picked the pieces of celery out of a can of Campbell's soup before I would even heat it!  I simply cannot eat the stuff in anything.  But it also had rosemary (not a fan--it's like chewing on a pine needle) and a chicken boullion cube (I have never liked boullion cubes and do not use them).  However, celery aside, I decided to proceed with making the recipe as it.  My concession was that I would make the whole recipe but half the recipe into two pots for different batches...one following the recipe exactly (except for celery) and one made my own way.  It was very easy to do, and my kitchen smelled great.  I was enjoying the experiment.  Sauce done, time to taste and see the results.  The verdict...despite the long simmering time, I could still taste the rosemary, and the chicken boullion cube just didn't do it for me, either.  The flavors I didn't like were just concentrated, and I could not overlook them.  However, I loved my version which was minus the rosemary and boulllion.  Bad news for anyone who wants a recipe made exactly as they created, but good news for me because I now have a sauce recipe that I really like. 

I respect the right of a recipe owner to suggest that you make the recipe as-is.  And I also respect the right of someone who wants to follow a recipe exactly.  But many on this site learned to cook as I did and cook like I do.  We know what we like, and we are experienced enough to know when we can add or take away to make a dish that we think we will like.  I didn't review or rate the recipe I made for the sauce.  I don't want to offend the submitter.  I am very glad their family loves the dish, and I am happy to have my version now.  We, however, did not like the "unedited" version.  I love this kind of sauce, I just don't love some of the ingredients in this version. 

But that also brings me to another topic along these same lines.  An Italian meat sauce is easy to customize.  I'll continue to do that.  But if I read a recipe and the main ingredients are things that I don't like, I'm not going to make it and then rate it low.  If it's a celery salad, I'm not going to touch that one.  It doesn't matter how many other ingredients I love in the dish;  I'm not going to like the salad with celery.  If I think I would like it and then it turns out that the sum of the ingredients just don't add up in the end dish, I will review according to our tastes.  Wrong or right, I don't know, but that's my take.  I made a dish exactly as written a couple of years ago...it contained ingredients that I don't really eat very often but liked the last time I had them.  So I decided to try it.  We didn't care for the sum total AT ALL and could not eat it.  I rated that low.  Not trying to defend myself, but it's also not someone's family recipe...this dish has versions published all over the place (only basic difference is the soda used), and they probably originated with the manufacturer of one of the key ingredients in the dish.  I'm also not going to read a recipe that has, for example, 2 sticks of butter, a pint of whipping cream, 3 cups of sugar, etc, and then submit a review that says something like "I would never eat this!  It has way too much fat!".  Seriously?  Then move on to your healthy recipes and leave this one alone.  Anyone can see the ingredients, and we really don't need your policing of the recipe.  We can read the nutrional info, and if we want to splurge and make it, we'll do so anyway.  Don't penalize the submitter because you are on a nutritional high horse. 

For my own submitted recipes with the exception of one that I altered a little from one my mom gave me and one altered from a recipe from my husband's aunt (my changes were enough for me to consider them my own), I did create them myself.  And I enjoy reading the reviews where someone changed something or the helpful feedback where someone said the recipe was a good idea but a little bland.  And you know what?  That reviewer was right about that.  I started using lime oil in it instead of lime zest, and it made a huge difference!  But likewise, I'll be honest and admit I was a little miffed when someone reviewed another recipe rated it low,saying it didn't rise and they threw it away.  I can't be responsible for your yeast performance (or baking skills if you are not experienced).  Should our recipe ratings suffer because of that?  I don't think so.  If you don't like it, that's fine.  I'm ok with that.  Rate it according to your taste.  We all have different ones. 

I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning him here, but Doug Matthews has a great recipe for corn muffins published.  Now, I'm a southern girl and never had flour in mine, but I love the basic idea.  I make that recipe all the time except I use corn meal only and I just bake mine in a cast iron skillet.  Oh, and I use buttermilk and add a bit of baking soda with the rest of the ingredients because of the buttermilk.  Same recipe or different?  You can decide, but he is the one who gave me the idea and the recipe I used.  I did make the recipe as-is the first time, and it was very good, but I wanted more cornmeal.  So I put my own spin on it, and I thank him for the idea!  Doug, if you read this, I hope  you don't mind my shout-out and  my revisions to your recipe.  It's in regular rotation in my house.

I love this site, and I love the interaction with others.  We all have different views and cook our own way, and I think it's great.  There are some who would seek to spoil this with nasty comments.  I won't let them take away my enjoyment of this site.  It is my number one go-to site when I look for recipes or ideas.  And I'm going to keep cooking my way, and I sincerely hope that I have never offended anyone with my comments on their recipes.  I try to be honest in how we felt about it but in a courteous way.  I would hope for the same with my recipes should anyone try them. 

As far as recipe ideas, where do you get yours?  I love to read the reviews, and I always browse the photos.  I find a lot of interesting dishes this way, and we've had some from that. 

Happy cooking!
Feb. 15, 2013 9:58 am
I don't think I can find a thing to disagree with up there :) I think you hit a lot of the gray area that most ignore when complaining about reviews. We have so many dietary restrictions in our family that it can be difficult not being very imaginative (which I'm not) and necessary to tweak other people's ideas. Many of "our" allergies are common, so I feel that reviewing with the changes shows respect to the author that you thought their dish could stand up to your subs and help to others in the same boat. I think it's interesting that I use white whole wheat flour almost exclusively. I bought some AP to try a couple of my new favorite recipes as written to see if it pushed them over the top. They did not come close to being as good as with the WWW. Now I wonder about that. Is it my preference or is the original not as good as it seemed without being tweaked? I get my ideas from all over the place, but I really value reviews that refer to specifics, even personal taste. Some reviewers I follow like others follow a movie or wine critic because I've discovered we seem to have similar taste.
Feb. 15, 2013 9:59 am
oh my gosh, that's toooo long. I won't be offended if you delete it :)
Feb. 15, 2013 10:17 am
LOL, linda2d, that is not too long! I appreciate the feedback, and I agree on the WWW flour. I love whole wheat flour, and the white whole wheat is very nice. It adds a nice flavor without being too heavy, and I keep it on hand all the time. And that's a great idea on the reviewers! Some people have such great ideas.
Feb. 15, 2013 10:47 am
When I make a recipe for the first time I always make it the way it was written. I will sometimes put my own spin on it after that. I don't ever entirely change the recipe and then give it a bad review. Thats not fair.
Feb. 15, 2013 10:53 am
Good blog! Some recipes I do follow exact but not very many as a personal touch might be better in my mind at the time (doesnt mean it is). Love AR buzz and all the great folks with their help and recipes.
Feb. 15, 2013 11:36 am
Yay! A place for my two cents, which is worth considerably less in these hard economic times! Anywho, I agree with most of what you're saying, but... You aren't really reviewing a recipe if you change it and review that. You're reviewing your own recipe. We are probably all guilty of that too! I am trying to make the recipe as written first, though if it had something I really detested, I might leave that out. If it was something that really changed the whole recipe by its omission, I might choose to not review the recipe then. I think a lot like you though. The great fun of cooking is making something yours. Ownership must be part of human make-up. :)
Feb. 15, 2013 1:02 pm
Agree, wisweetp! In a tomato salsa, cilantro is an important ingredient. But if you hate cilantro, and routinely sub flat-leaf parsley, go ahead and try it. There are LOTS of people in the world who can't stand cilantro, and they may be glad to find that the recipe works with a substitution. However, if the item is a Cilantro and Lime sauce, where cilantro is the main ingredient, you might want to pass this recipe by. It's usually pretty easy to spot the "haters", and I've learned to gloss over their words. I've actually trained my eye to look for the reviewers I have agreed with in the past, and whom I now trust. I LOVE cilantro, but I'm not really fond of oregano. Do I pass up recipes just because of that? NOT. I sub Italian Seasoning blend, because it has a LITTLE BIT of oregano in it. I also have learned to steer clear of recipes that call for more than a TBS of Worcestershire, simply because the creator didn't know how to build flavor with anything else. But, Doc, I hear you, too. Usually for me, the cooking method or time is what will make or break a recipe, or if it's just too much trouble for the end result!
Feb. 15, 2013 1:54 pm
LOL! I know what you mean! I rarely review a recipe unless I have made little or no subs. With that being said, I appreciate reviews that tell about their tweaks and why if they aren't being snarky. One of my favorite reviews was kind but at the end she did note that with all she'd done to the recipe she guessed she didn't really make the recipe. She had good reason, IMO, to totally change the recipe. In this house, if we don't have it on hand, we aren't running out to buy it but that doesn't mean I can't get a great idea from a recipe. I did that just the yesterday. I needed a fresh salad using green pepper. I scouted some recipes, put together what I thought would work with what I had and LOVED it!
Feb. 15, 2013 1:56 pm
Rosebud, I agree it's not fair to entirely change a recipe and then give a bad review. I will review if I change some but not enough that I think it will affect the outcome. I think I'm just not capable of making a recipe exactly as it's stated, LOL!
Feb. 15, 2013 1:56 pm
Cliff G, agree completely with all!
Feb. 15, 2013 1:58 pm
Doc Simonson, I hear you and see your point. I just find the reviews much more interesting when someone puts their own spin on it instead of saying they made it exactly and it turned out great. We pretty much know what we like, and I have a pretty good idea if we'll like a recipe before I make it. But that's the great thing here...we can all have an opinion that may not be the same, but we all love cooking!
Feb. 15, 2013 2:01 pm
Bibi, funny that you mention cilantro. I really, really dislike cilantro, and if there's more than a speck in a dish, that's all I taste! And that's an excellent point on the worcestershire sauce, too. A dash is plenty for me on that. It's a strong flavor. Thanks for dropping in with comments!
Feb. 15, 2013 2:02 pm
Cat Hill, I so agree...I am NOT running to the store for one item for a dish if I have all the rest of the ingredients or reasonable substitutes. Those can turn out to be the best dishes, too!
Feb. 15, 2013 2:30 pm
Well said, wisweetp! When I recently began rating recipes I tried on the site, I first worried about hurting someone's feelings if I didn't give it a five star. Now, I'm more candid. In the event I replace or omit an ingredient, I will not rate it based on that change. I think most are fair about this. If someone feels compelled to get nasty, they should go elsewhere. I too love this site!
Feb. 15, 2013 3:11 pm
Cilantro,is not for me either,very good reading wisweegtp.I'm lactose intolerant,so i do change recipes that i would like to try,but when i rate it i mention that.I'm like you,i won't try if i don't like.As for the Italian spaghetti sauce,i'm sorry but a true Italian(namely me)does not put bullion cubes or rosemary in the sauce.No offense intended.Just my opinion.I learned to cook from my mom(who was great)and like you don't measure alot of things.Makes it hard to write it out,but i have submitted a few of mine.Alot of times i see one i want to try,but of course it would have both milk and cheese in it.I use lactose free milk,and maragine,but hard to find cheese.Thanks for this blog so interesting.
Feb. 15, 2013 3:59 pm
Other than a few cooks who I’ve followed long enough to know our taste preferences are closely aligned, the individual reviewer who makes changes based on taste preferences provides little useful information for us as we have no magical way of knowing if our taste preferences align with someone we haven’t followed. If the choice becomes ignoring the recipe submitter, and adopting the changes of some unknown reviewer, the submitter wins out. What’s more useful is when there are a number of reviewers who are reaching similar assessments such as the recipe is bland, correcting an ingredient, measurement, or cooking time. It seems kind of silly to say we like our version of changing a recipe better than what was submitted as who is to say one taste preference is better than another . . . its like arguing over what brand and model of car is better than another. ‘Fair’ is in the eye of the beholder . . . if someone makes significant changes to a recipe to suit their taste preferences, and then rates it low, I think the reviewer must be rating their self as screwing up rather than interpreting the low rating against the submitter who had no say so in the changes made. A lot can be learned about the competency of a cook when you find that cook has an unusually high number of 1 or 2 star ratings in their review pages, and those same recipes have hundreds of highly satisfied reviewers.
Feb. 15, 2013 8:19 pm
And well said by you, also, Cookin'Cyn! : )
Feb. 15, 2013 8:22 pm
manella, thank you for the comment on the sauce. I wondered about that as i have quite a few cookbooks by noted Italian cuisine authors (it's probably my favorite cuisine!), and I had never seen chicken bullion cube mentioned, either! And a very good point you make on the lactose intolerance, too. Sometimes, people don't have a choice but to substitute. I don't think they should be excluded from rating a recipe based on this. Thanks for the comments!
Feb. 15, 2013 8:26 pm
ConkyJoe, thanks for your comments. I find it helpful and interesting to read the reviews where people have made changes, but that's my style and preference. I know mine and my family's preferences and tastes and have a pretty good feel for what will be successful for us. But that's the nice thing about this site...there's enough of both kinds to satisfy everyone.
Feb. 15, 2013 9:12 pm
I like your blog wisweetp. I have a beleif about cooking and 'original' recipes. Coming up with a new recipe is a bit like writing a song. It's almost impossible to come up with something that someone, somewhere, some time, has already done. It's a school of outright theft and I'm all for it. As a former musician and and current cooking enthusiast, I say steal your heart out and use what you learn from doing to leaven your attitude towards others doing the same. It's our differences that make us interesting. Of course that said, there are occasions when someone makes a recipe that just doesn't make sense, when with a wee tweak you could have something far far better. I made a review on a recipe for Brunswick Stew that basically suggested that whoever makes it needs to add a lot more fluid than the recipe calls for. Its not so much a criticism as it is a heads up to whoever makes it to pay attention to fluid dynamics which, you really wouldn't know if you were new, or a literalist. I say tweak at will and only review if you've something valuable to add. I've never reviewed something unless I felt I had something to contribute(not counting my own submissions lol). Be it a warning to not make the mistake I made or to try it with a success I stumbled onto. IN closing, great blog and yes, Cilantro is a poison.
Feb. 15, 2013 10:05 pm
Taste is so hard to define it is amazing we can get as good consences as we do. I think of good cooking as an art and art requires a degree of creativity, so I have no issue with someone putting a slightly different spin on a recipe, as long as (s)he remains true to the intent of the recipe. To me, switching parsley for cilantro or stock for wine is fine. Switching a chicken for a beef roast is not........There are a few rather prolific reviewers who select recipes way below their level of expertise and then reconstruct them. I almost think it is done not to actually review the recipe, but to have a recipe to attach the picture they took of their recipe without actually submitting a recipe and opening the self to criticism. But I may be too cynical..........As long as people actually prepare the dish and offer a respectful review it is fine with me..........Food police need not comment!
Feb. 16, 2013 9:32 am
Raedwulf...ahh, a fellow cilantro-hater! : ) Great comments, and excellent points! And a LOL post!
Feb. 16, 2013 9:37 am
BigShotsMom, I agree. Cooking is definitely an art! And a very good point on the difference in substitutions. I also think a degree if cynicism is not a bad thing, either! I always thought I had plenty of reviews, but holy cow, there are some that have thousands! I cook at least 5 nights a week, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with that many in my lifetime. Especially since we have favorites that are in regular rotation.
Feb. 16, 2013 4:31 pm
I only rate those recipes worth 4 or 5 stars. I have been good at picking recipes that could warrant those ratings. Most often, I embellish the recipe beyond what the author wrote so any review would be dishonest.
Feb. 16, 2013 7:36 pm
Hi, Mike Harvey. Love your new name, by the way! I guess this is six of one, half dozen of the other. I don't think a review is dishonest if you embellish, but can respect the view of those who do. No, it's not the recipe exactly as written, but it's still in the same spirit of the recipe unless there are major changes. Even then, I still enjoy reading the reviews. Maybe that's because not only do I love to cook, I also love to read. Thanks for stopping in!
Feb. 17, 2013 8:12 am
I enjoy the reviews that make changes and comment on them and frequently use the changes or variations therof. I agree wholeheartedly that one should be allowed to tweak and furthermore that one cannot rate a recipe that one has changed a great deal but using the recipe as a base and a conversation about what tweaks worked and what might not have is great.
Feb. 18, 2013 7:48 am
Kate, thanks for stopping in!
Feb. 20, 2013 3:44 am
I live in Fl and until you've lived in the tropics you haven't seen a spider as I quickly learned walking into my kitchen and seeing a wolf spider the size of a tea saucer lingering on the wall. And you can hear them when they run because they make a clicking noise like nails. They jump on you and have no issues with attacking humans if feeling threatened. We also have anacodones from people thinking they are "cute" and brining them in for pets and letting them go we are at a tagged count of 175,000 of them! Taggin them I don't get why not kill them? They have bounties on them because they eat the alligators...oh yes they eat the people to but it's the alligators lives that are important in FL. and not to mention the phythons...longest this year was 14 feet and 3 inches. There are bounties on them as well up to a 1,000 according to size. Then we have the constrictors that people let go and they get away...boas glora...what am I doing here? HeLP! lol
Feb. 20, 2013 7:17 am
My apologies for taking so long to stop by but I couldn't agree with your more on making your own changes (especially to my Basic Corn Muffins - even I alter that one on a regular basis). I have always considered recipes to be a guide. I know what I like & don't like and I will adjust here & there as needed. I won't review a recipe on here unless I make it as exactly as I can and I only rate bad recipes when I have to make them as part of an All Stars challenge or assignment. Every recipe on this site has a customize option - I use it so I can remember the changes I made to the recipes that either inspired me or guided me. Great blog and again, sorry for showing up late.
Feb. 20, 2013 8:15 am
RatherBeCooking, I saw an Infested show a couple of weeks ago where a family in FL had an invasion of those wolf spiders. Finding one of those in my home would send me packing to another state in a heartbeat...after I cleaned myself up! LOL. I could hardly watch the show! It's still giving me the creeps, and now you've added an audio to the visual...ewww. As to the snakes, I agree. People should practice responsibility. Every animal is going to get bigger eventually, so don't get one if you can't imagine keeping one when it does.
Feb. 20, 2013 8:19 am
Doug, it's never too late to join the party. Your corn muffins have been made so many times in my house, I know the recipe by heart. I've added all kinds of things to that recipe, and they never fail. I need to use the customize feature more...I do sometimes, but then others, I let myself get lazy and dont' take the time to do it. I really should. Most of them time, recipes are just a jumping off point for me, but I do occasionally make them exactly if I like all the ingredients in the recipe.
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About Me
I'm a born and bred Southerner now living in the Midwest (temporarily!). I learned to cook by watching and helping my grandmother and great-grandmother, both of whom were wonderful Southern cooks who cooked by "feel" rather than by measuring. And that's how I cook now, too. Recipes are more of a suggestion than instruction for me. I love to garden and use my fresh veggies in my creations, especially salsa and hot sauce, which are my specialties.
My favorite things to cook
Baked goods (especially yeast breads), soups, pizza, roasted and grilled veggies...
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas candy making with my mom. She lives across the country now, so we haven't been able to do that since I moved..better on the waistlines!
My cooking triumphs
Planning an outdoor party for 20 people where the main course and the main side dish were to be grilled. It was POURING when the time came. I moved everything inside and prepared the food on stovetop and oven, and it turned out beautifully anyway.
My cooking tragedies
Making biscuits at my mom's house one time and accidentally using plain flour instead of self-rising. Needless to say, I had to make another batch of biscuits when I realized what I had done! Otherwise, I've been pretty lucky!
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