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.