A Message From A Mazolaoid…Lighten Up, Please! - New Horizons in the Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 324093

New Horizons in the Kitchen

A Message from a Mazolaoid…Lighten Up, PLEASE! 
Mar. 21, 2014 9:56 pm 
Updated: Mar. 26, 2014 6:36 am

This is in response to Raedwolf’s bog on March 19 which has had many, many comments posted.

I’ve been on this site for nearly four years, and I consider myself to be an ACTIVE member of Allrecipes.  I’ve posted reviews and uploaded photos on nearly 1,100 recipes (excluding the ones that I’ve done on AR’s global sites).   I’m proud to say that I have been one of Allrecipes Allstars Ambassadors since inception of the program.  And to clear something up, I have NEVER received an apron or an oven mitt from Allrecipes!    I’m still using my old, beat up pink Celestial Seasonings apron that I bought at their plant in Colorado years ago.

As most of you know, ownership of this site changed, and along with that, changes have occurred in how the site is run and its format.  That’s not so different from the rest of corporate America, is it?   Sure, we all have our opinions on whether or not the changes were the best for the site, but understand, change is inevitable, and it will continue to occur.  

Allrecipes offers features that I don’t see on any other food site in the U.S. and at no charge to userswe all need to appreciate that.  Obviously, Raedwolf’s  blog hit a nerve with many people, and honestly, his first paragraph somewhat offended me.  I think he made some valid points and expressed his opinions well on GMO’s, a hot topic of great importance these days.  That’s his prerogative and a good topic for a blog.  But it should not have been prefaced by criticizing the Allstars program and calling the ambassadors  “shills.”  That was uncalled for, and simply is not the case.  What the heck is that all about anyway???  

Please understand how this program operates.  Most months there are sponsors; i.e., advertisers who pay the bills for this site.  The ambassadors are asked to prepare sponsor’s recipes, review them, and post photos.  And occasionally, not always, write a blog for that sponsor.  For March, Mazola is the sponsor, and people are blogging to fulfill their program activities.  That’s why you’re seeing Mazola blogs right now, the deadline for submission was this week.  

If we don’t like the sponsor’s recipes, we don’t rate them highlythere's no retribution for that.  If we have problems with the brand itself, we communicate that to Allrecipes and in some situations, just opt out of writing a blog altogether.  We also fill out a sponsor’s survey after the activity is completed, and respond honestly with how we feel about their products.  We simply do not endorse Mazola because they sent us a bottle of corn oil.  We are not SHILLS as Raedwolf called us, and we are not CORPORATE PAWNS as one community member commented.

Let me be very clear by saying that I am NOT a blogger.  I do it when I’m asked to do it  as part of the Allstars program, and in the past, would post my blog on Allrecipes.  Not sure why, but there appears to be a resentment among a group of community members toward this program and its participants.  Does somebody want to do a blog on that and clear it up because I really don’t get it?  This is not an exclusive group of special people, anybody can apply to the program, we’re all just community members, like the rest of you, who have volunteered our time. 

I read a blog comment not long ago that if a blog was being written by an ambassador for a sponsor’s product to state it right up front, so this person wouldn’t even have to read it.  How sad and denigrating to those who have taken the time to write a blog to complete their activities.   That single comment, that attitude, forced me to set up my own external blog which I did this week.  And understand, it was not an easy thing for me to set up.  However, I no longer felt comfortable in posting a blog that nobody on this site wanted to read.  

The Allrecipes Allstars Brand Ambassadors program is comprised of people who genuinely care about this site, use it, support it, promote it, love cooking, and enjoy the camaraderie among its members.  I would ask that you don’t demean any of us or criticize us simply for being part of this program.  It’s voluntary, we do it because we enjoy it, we don’t get tons of free merchandise like many think, and you’re more than welcome to fill out an application to join us.  We would encourage you to do so.  Trust me, you just might find out it's fun.  Be honest, be kind, be considerate, and lighten up, PLEASE.  

Mar. 21, 2014 10:16 pm
wow! a-MEN!! Kudos Kudos. You've said it all. TY
Mar. 21, 2014 10:31 pm
Thanks mis7up.
Mar. 21, 2014 11:15 pm
Well said! I set up my own off site blog this month also because I felt I wasn't welcome on the website that has between such a help to me. I am a firm believer if you don't like what you are reading ..move on. You have only spent a few seconds clicking on the blog and if you see what it is about and don't like it don't read it. No different than if I am watching TV or reading a magazine. I guess I just don't understand how a blog post can cause such distress when we all deal with so many more stressful things in life. The Allstar group is made up of some wonderful , caring, hard working folks that I continually learn from.
Mar. 22, 2014 1:02 am
Thanks for this blog. I have a lot of admiration for the AllStars. I understand you have assignments to complete and sometimes that can be very time consuming. Carry on - please ignore the derogatory comments!!! I have no desire to make a commitment to the AllStar program. Rather than being a fun hobby, it would be a burden so I would not be a good representative for the AR site or the sponsors we need. It makes me appreciate your efforts even more.
Mar. 22, 2014 4:37 am
Well done, lutzflcat. I don't know how many board feet of cookbooks I have that are now gathering dust. AR is the first place I look, when it comes to cooking. I think it's the voices (of all the other cooks--even the "peppery" ones--on the site in the reviews and posts) that keep me coming back. Some of the comments do sting a bit, but it is a public forum, open to all. It's just sad to me that so many folks think they can make their own candle burn brighter by trying to blow someone else's out. (Have to credit the quote--from Oprah, lol!)
Mar. 22, 2014 4:52 am
VERY well said. I don't understand the ignorance of those who decide to make a public statement without knowing all the facts. I personally stayed out of the Mazola promotion this month because I just don't use corn oil. It doesn't mean I don't use other Mazola products! I do not in anyway feel that one single member of the allstar team sells themself out for a product they do not stand behind. I have been an outside food blogger for over 7 years now and part of the reason I do not blog on AR is because of the angst of those not in the program. Jealousy is not a pretty face and that is how it comes off when the Allstars are put down.
Mar. 22, 2014 5:00 am
Great points! There seems to be a forgotten sentiment that Allrecipes IS for everyone, and we're able to utilize it freely. There's been an Allstars vs. The Others mentality on the Buzz, and I'm proud to say that it hasn't been perpetuated by the Allstar group. You'll be hard-pressed to meet another group who shares the love of food, cooking, exploring, and learning than this group I'm proud to have been a part of from the beginning. I've been a member of AR for 12 years now, and there have always been those who complain about whatever they choose--and they can, but it's much better to be silent if your words won't be helpful!
Mar. 22, 2014 5:15 am
Great comments! As an ambassador, I have blogged here at times as part of the assignment as long as I could put a cute spin on it. Other times, I would post off-site in a place where very few could find it because it wasn't a good read. I believe the program is being tweaked a bit and perhaps sponsors need to know what a negative backlash it causes to require blogs, particularly in large volume. Make it an option in order to get quality blogs, particularly those off-site foodie blogs where that may be something they already do for some of their blog sponsors. I do understand the frustration of seeing so many product blogs posted at the same time because other heartfelt blogs may get lost in the avalanche, but in the time it takes to make a negative comment, you could have scrolled past several blogs. As for being shills? Not necessarily. I know ambassadors that wouldn't use or blog about product because of sugar substitute, high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, product unavailability, or a company's policies. While there are coupons or free product in order to review, and occasionally a gift from the sponsor, it doesn't even come close to what may actually be spent in order to fulfill the assignment. I noticed the required recipes from Mazola included salmon, grapefruit and tomatillos, none of which are cheap products, particularly in many parts of the country. While the program may not be perfect, it is voluntary.
Mar. 22, 2014 5:28 am
Very well said Pat! I, too, have enjoyed the site for 10+ years. It is my go-to site for recipes, the one I turn to first. I always count on the reviews and appreciate the visual the recipe photos give. So when I was offered the opportunity to be an Allstar I gave it a go. For me it's time consuming because I put a lot of thought into my work and do the best I can. At times the program can be tedious and overwhelming, especially when working outside the home. But what I do for the program - cook, rate and review and photograph the recipe have become a hobby I actually enjoy. I have fun with it and at the same time am helping my favorite recipe site. I have just dabbled in the blogging aspect and think I have 2 posts on this site and took mine off site over a year ago. Blogging for me is a work in progress and I feel I'm getting the hang of it. I try to keep my sponsored blogs as honest as I can while retaining my values and will not praise the areas I do not believe while still I giving the sponsors exposure when required. My fellow Allstars have become friends and family to me over the past 2 years we have been working side by side. I enjoy the interaction with the real people of the site. To me, they aren't just a screen name hiding behind a bunch of insults and misunderstandings. We are real. We help each other. We are kind to one another. We are respectful to one another. And that doesn't stop within the "four walls" of the program - I have seen many reach out to others via the buzz and offer very helpful advice. This site is about community home cooks coming together to help one another. It should be where we can all sit at the "kitchen table" and enjoy a cup of coffee and get to know one another instead of criticizing something we may not fully understand. That being said - I love the site and will always come here first, I enjoy the program and will continue as long as it fits my life and I love the people who are now my friends. I love some of the sponsors who actually make the program more exciting - they have allowed me to try different product I wouldn't have without them. So bring it on! And bring on the community support and understanding. I have way better things to do than let the naysayers get me down. I'm going to grab my apron that my mom made me and the oven mits I got for a wedding gift many many moons ago and get cookin'!
Mar. 22, 2014 5:29 am
Thank you for this, lutzflcat. I am an AR Ambassador and I do it because it is fun and I love AR. BTW, I have never liked the term "AllStars" so I will continue to refer to myself as an Ambassador. About that apron and oven mitt .......
Mar. 22, 2014 5:31 am
Nicely said, KGora!
Mar. 22, 2014 5:35 am
Thanks for this! Being an Allstar has been a highlight for me, not because I feel I am better than anyone else but because it allows me to do something I love, try new recipes and products, I typically would not. My family can't yell at me if it is an "assignment"...lol! I have met many great people both in the Allstar program and outside of it. Allrecipes has become a big part of my life and helped me get through some major catastrophes in my life;ie my MIL passing. That was so hard on me and having the assignments kept me going. Wasn't much fun stuff in my life at that point in time. I am sorry that so many take offense to the program.
Mar. 22, 2014 6:02 am
Very well said, everyone! WOW I wish there was a like button for all the comments. Great blog. I've only been in the Ambassador program for a year, but it's been such fun. Terrific bunch of people. But I blog outside of the site just for the reasons stated. Love the Buzz, too, and look at it every single day. BTW....I have ONE follower to my blog, and that's my husband!!! I'm anxiously awaiting next month's assignments. Such fun!
Mar. 22, 2014 6:10 am
Thank you for taking the time to express opinions shared by me, lutzflcat! I have been an active member of this site for a number of years and consider it to be my "home" away from home. I always liken it to a big family where not everyone always gets along. I always hope for the best, get disappointed when members disagree, but still love it. And YOU, lutzflcat! The community should be very grateful for all the GREAT photos you take and the helpful reviews you write!
Mar. 22, 2014 6:12 am
Very well said! I remember before ever becoming an Allstar, I saw all the blogs and thought they were neat (one of the reasons I signed up.) I learned about some products I wouldn't have paid attention to otherwise. Like you, I was putting up photos and reviews years before being accepted as an Allstar. It stings to be judged by one aspect of our 'being' here and not given a chance otherwise. Kudos for this post!
Mar. 22, 2014 6:36 am
Nicely done. I did not enter this program for any kickbacks, notoriety or to be anyone's poster child for controversial food choices. I did this for fun, to be more interactive with the AR folks and because it was something I could share with my kids as we love to cook and try new things. I am taken aback by the hostility.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:05 am
happyschmoopies, isn’t it sad that you felt your blogs weren’t welcome here and also have moved on to an external site? And I so agree with you, if the blog is one that has no interest to you, just move on to one that does. One of the benefits of a Pro Membership (I’ll admit it, I hate that term) is blogging, but bloggers are going elsewhere to post their blogs.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:06 am
Maggi, thanks for your support and encouragement of the Ambassadors program. And you’re so right, each of us has to evaluate whether or not we’re in a position to fully participate before we make the commitment. Your kind words are appreciated.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:08 am
Bibi, totally agree with you. The internet is where I go to search for recipe info, and AR is my first choice. At one point, I had a full bookcase of cookbooks, I now have two shelves. One day I just boxed them up and took them over to the Friends of the Library, so they could resell and make a little money. I frequent the Buzz only occasionally, but even I noticed a number of people who at one point were active on this site became very unhappy about changes that were made and they have just dropped out of sight. They’ve moved on is probably a better way to put it, and I respect them for that.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:09 am
Grumpy’s Honeybunch, yet another blogger who feels uncomfortable with blogging on this site because of the backlash from community members not involved in the Ambassadors program. The Mazola campaign came with concerns from many, and they have been honest expressing those issues. And guess what, you are not a SHILL or a CORPORATE PAWN for being honest, and there will be no repercussions as a result of it either!
Mar. 22, 2014 7:10 am
jrbaker I think it may be time for the entire community to sit down and really evaluate what’s available on this site at no charge...and it’s a LOT. Do you know of another site where you can do an ingredient search, a program feature that is free to all of us? That feature on its own is HUGE in my opinion. Unfortunately, there are people who think it’s better to gripe, complain, and smack somebody down rather than saying something positive about ANYTHING. And there are times when it’s best to NOT say anything rather than hurting somebody whose heart is really in the right place.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:11 am
Magnolia Blossom, the program is in full swing once again after a 3-month lapse, and I think all of the ambassadors are cranked up and excited about it. I think that’s one of the reasons so many of us have been taken back/offended by some of the comments being made about the program. Personally, I would love to have blogs be “optional” as part of this program. Many ambassadors enjoy blogging, are very good at it, and then there are others who simply put, do not. And it is a bore for the community to see multiple blogs, one right after another, posted for a specific sponsor. Folks seem to think that the Ambassadors program is a free ride, and as you pointed out, sponsors’ free products don’t even come close to the cost of participating in this program. I just paid $10.99 lb for salmon and $2.49 lb for tomatillos to complete Mazola’s recipes.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:13 am
KGora, very well put. Obviously, you’re yet another passionate and committed ambassador (and there are many of us) and have explained to others who may read your comment what this program really is all about. This program is not for everybody, and each person needs to make his/her evaluation. As we all know, there are those who join the program and then find out they either don’t have the time for it or they just simply don’t enjoy it, and they move on. But to those who do move on, just let it go because the program wasn’t a good fit for you, and don’t make negative comments about it in somebody’s blog. Thanks for taking the time to express your thoughts about this program and all of its benefits.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:13 am
Baking Nana I’m with you on the “Allstars” name. When I’m talking with others about the program, I always refer to it as “Ambassadors.” Maybe that term on its own has been problematic for the AR community. The program is not comprised of an “elitist” group of people, we’re just ordinary people cooking meals everyday in our kitchen like everybody else. BTW still waiting for my apron and oven mitt :-)
Mar. 22, 2014 7:14 am
Carrie C. you’re oh so right in that this program has opened my eyes to products that I may never have tried. One that comes to mind is al Fresco chicken sausage. That sausage has become a mainstay in my house, and their breakfast sausage is all that I buy. And I’m glad to hear that the program members also have helped you during some tough personal times. The ambassadors really are a group of caring and supportive individuals. Good times are ahead, so it’s time to bury all of that negativity that has surfaced recently and move forward.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:15 am
Judy in Delaware thanks for stopping by. You’ve been in the program long enough to know what it’s all about, and I’m so glad to hear you say that it’s fun...I agree! And hey, at least you have one follower on your blog, that’s one more than I have. Hmmm, I think I’ll have to talk to my hubby about that. I was so excited to see that I did get a comment on my first blog. Sorry to hear that you’re yet another person who felt compelled to blog outside of the AR site for various reasons.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:26 am
Marianne, blushing big time right now, thanks for your kind comments. There are times when this community does seem like one big dysfunctional family, but each of us is certainly entitled to an opinion. We just don’t have to be mean or hurtful when expressing that opinion. Unfortunately, I think that’s what has just happened. This site is important to me, and I use it just about everyday. And I APPRECIATE all that is available on this site! Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:32 am
Faith N, I have to wonder if part of the hostility toward the program is just a lack of understanding the Ambassadors program itself. Hopefully, that will change, and we don’t need to feel singled out as a bad group of “shills.” And if it doesn’t, well we all need to ignore the comments and get on with our program. Thanks for stopping by.
Mar. 22, 2014 7:39 am
What’s for dinner, mom? you’ve joined the Ambassadors program for all the right reasons, we’re all soul mates! And I don’t really understand the animosity either. For those who have been so vocal about this program, I’d like for them to really explain exactly why. I just think it has to be a matter of misunderstanding, what else could it be? Or maybe they are just negative people who move through life complaining about everything anyway, not just the Ambassadors program???
Mar. 22, 2014 7:52 am
Thank you so much for this Pat! Hopefully others will come to understand what the program IS, and what it IS NOT. I was invited in the beginning, but had declined at the time because I really didn't understand what the commitment was, and my life was crazy at the time. Last year when I saw that they were looking to add more Ambassadors for the 2013 program - I decided to give it a try! I love Allrecipes, and used it everyday anyways, so I thought, what the heck - let me see what it has to offer. I have enjoyed the program so much, and all of the great people that I have met through the program. For me, it's the one thing that I have that is FOR ME. The kids and hubby all have their thing, and this is MY thing. I have to cook for my family anyways, so why not be encouraged to try things that I might not have otherwise tried. It's fun, exciting, and it's nice to feel like someone cares about your opinion. It has also given me the courage to start my own blog (not because anyone said I had to, but it was something that I had been thinking about for a long time, but too scared to do it). My AR friends were so helpful when I was setting up my blog, I couldn't have done it without them. My blog is for my kids. Someday when I am long gone, they can look back at my blog for those cherished recipes and memories. When we were asked to blog about Mazola and it's heart healthy benefits - I wasn't going to write anything in my blog that I didn't fully agree with. I made my blog post more about the recipe, and how the recipe related to my personal life (Lent and meatless Fridays). That's what is so great about the program. There are Ambassadors from all walks of life, and varying interests and points of view. A sponsor really does get great feedback - the good, the bad and the ugly, so that they can improve themselves as a company. Great R & D on their part if you ask me!
Mar. 22, 2014 7:53 am
There is one additional point that I did not mention in my blog that I think is relevant. Never at any point has Allrecipes ever asked any of us to be less than honest about how we feel about a sponsor, its products, its recipes, or the brand itself after completing the campaign. The only thing that they have asked of us is to be HONEST.
Mar. 22, 2014 8:12 am
Kim I’m so glad to hear that the Ambassadors program has been a good fit for you and your family. You obviously approached it the right way, made an evaluation that it “might” be something you’d really enjoy, and what the heck, let’s give it a try. Nobody is signing a contract, this is all voluntary, and if the program doesn’t meet your expectations, one can opt out at any time. You’ve done a nice job on your blog, and I feel certain its readership will continue to grow. And that’s so well put: “the blog is for ME, it’s one thing that I do for myself.” I firmly believe that what the sponsors are looking for is honesty, they don’t want us to be “shills” either. I recall one conference call where somebody made the comment that they really didn’t like the products and how should they handle that. AR’s response was not to sugarcoat it, make the recipe and be honest because that’s what the sponsor wants. I think back to the Progresso Recipe Starters campaign that was not received well by most of us. That particular product was new and just hitting the shelves of supermarkets. They sent five cans of their product, I made five of their recipes, I didn’t like any of them, and rated them accordingly (and I eat just about anything). It was a total disappointment in every respect, and I related that in my reviews and the campaign survey. Since that time, I’ve seen this product in the Dollar Stores for $.50 each, so I guess a lot of other folks didn’t care for them either. Thanks for posting a comment.
Mar. 22, 2014 8:44 am
Well said young lutzflcat. I too have enjoyed the program and have recently taken a break because of my crazy move and some things I think needed tweaks in the program. I am tickled to come back with the new and improved program and couldn't agree more that this program is about a love of cooking and friendship. I am perplexed about the request to put our sponsor disclaimer up front because one of my better blogs was my butter blog and it received lots of good comments and good will. If I put butter in the title when the blogs were being buttered heavily with "I love Butter" blogs, would it have gone unread? I am putting up a link here to show that a product can be promoted without an in your face introduction. I still tear up when I read it and I would hope RW and others who choose to criticize would appreciate it too. http://allrecipes.com/cook/10587678/blogentry.aspx?postid=273617
Mar. 22, 2014 9:39 am
Well done lutzflcat! I find myself hard pressed to make any comments that haven't already been so eloquently said. KGora said it best - We are friends and family. Whether you like the 'Allstars' title or not they are all 'stars' in my mind. I respect everyone's opinion on the buzz and in their blogs. I read the newspaper every day and some sections I just skip on by. One section I do read is the Opinion Section and have yet to find anywhere in that section that it gives me a title that doesn't suit me. I would give you the name of the newspaper but then again I would sound like a shill. I am truly thankful for the Ambassador program and the amazing people that I have met since joining.
Mar. 22, 2014 10:39 am
mauigirl, life gets in the way occasionally, but we’re happy to see you back in the program, as I always considered you a valuable and passionate member who contributed a lot. As you know, blogging has been an issue discussed many times in this program. Some of the ambassadors love blogging and some do not, but do it anyway just to fulfill their monthly program activities. For many, it’s boom-it’s done, for others, it’s as tough as brain surgery. Personally, I would love to see the blogs as “encouraged,” but still “optional.” Let’s face it, bottom line, some are just better bloggers than others. Some do better reviews, some do better photography, some are better at social media, some are experienced cooks, and some are novices. One is not more important than the other, they’re what we all do. IMO, the quality blogs are what the sponsors really appreciate anyway, not just a blog written to satisfy a requirement. A really good blog is a commitment AND a lot of work. It has to have relevance, it has to have content, it needs to be done on a regular basis to maintain readership, and it needs to be constantly promoted. Your butter blog was full of nostalgia and love and life, and that’s what made it special to so many readers. It wasn’t the margarine vs butter story. You expressed with warmth what Trudy meant to you, intertwined the butter element, and we all love reading blogs like that. Why have those blogs disappeared from AR’s site? I, too, see a lot of excitement in the Ambassadors program once again. The program itself didn’t need to be reinvented. It did need some TLC, tweaking, and better communication. And I see it happening, there’s an abundance of energy just like existed when the program started. Thanks for stopping by today, enjoyed reading your butter blog.
Mar. 22, 2014 10:47 am
Thanks bd.weld. What’s reassuring to me is reading all of the comments from the Allstars or the Ambassadors or whatever title you want to use to describe us...just don’t call me a SHILL or a CORPORATE PAWN :-) I simply will not be judged that way. This is a program with meaning and purpose, and its members can and should be made to feel proud of what they provide to the program’s success. Looking forward to a fun year of activities. Thanks for taking the time to read.
Mar. 22, 2014 11:46 am
Very well thought out and written. I have been using some iteration of Allrecipes since the days of Cookies.com. I have seen many other users/members come and go. I have made and reviewed literally thousands of recipes. I have offered help and suggestions on the Buzz, celebrated births, mourned deaths, and prayed for healing.....all for other Buzz members I have never met. We are a community and just as you should respect your real life neighbors, you should respect the rest of our little community........and as I type this the thought occurs to me that a handful of negative comments have riled many of us and there are many more people who either enjoy what the Ambassadors do or quietly ignore us. I do think I will simply let this go and carry on as usual.
Mar. 22, 2014 12:44 pm
BSM, I seldom get involved or vocal to this extent, and yes, you’re right, it certainly did annoy and hurt many of us. Not sure that any of it will make any difference, I hope so, but I think what needed to be said has been said. Time will tell, and it’s time to move on.
Mar. 23, 2014 6:13 am
very nicely said everyone.
Mar. 23, 2014 6:15 am
I wrote a little blog about how I felt so I won't repeat it here other then to say I am proud to be an Allstar.
Mar. 23, 2014 7:53 am
lutzflcat - You probably don't know who I am, but I certainly know a little bit about you. I had added you to COOKS I LIKE the first week I was at Allrecipes. I hate the COOKS I LIKE name since I like everyone, but the truth is I only use that feature to keep track of recipe boxes I like for whatever reason (reviews, recipes, photos) or people whose comments I always appreciate. I can like everyone (no exceptions) but there are only certain recipe boxes I like. I had you in my top 7 so I could keep an eye on what you are doing. You don't know this about me, but I actually check the newest recipe photos and reviews every day, and to tell you the truth I am always looking for yours and those of a few other very talented chef photographers whose work I greatly appreciate. Your photos are stunning, and even during the "Faceless Frenzy" I was always interested in what lutzflcat had to say in her reviews. I have made your excellent "Cuban-Style Picadillo" and I have your "Oktoberfest Potato Salad" on my "must try list" for next Oktoberfest. In short, you have at least one follower who appreciates your work (me) and quite probably many, many more followers who are also looking for the peacock icon. I know I would go off-site to read your blog if I knew where it was. I now have and have always had no intentions to ever offend you.
Mar. 23, 2014 7:54 am
After engineering school, I entered a post-graduate two-year program for technical writing. I have worked as a contract technical writer and web developer for numerous high-tech and companies and government organizations since 1995. I have set up corporate documentation standards for many companies, and have taught technical writing and documentation accessibility to corporate executives, engineers, and federal government employees. My work is available in many languages (with Japanese translations being the coolest!). In short, I am a professionally-qualified technical writer. The comment to identify blogs for sponsors up front was my comment. I think it would resolve many of the issues associated with the sponsored blogs. I was imagining a standard disclaimer that all Ambassadors would use, something like this:
Mar. 23, 2014 7:55 am
I am an Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador. I participate in the Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador Program at my own expense (recipe ingredients and time). Allrecipes provides me with a pro account at no charge, and sponsors provide me with product samples for experienced-based reviews. I receive zero compensation for my opinions or any other work I do on or for Allrecipes.com (i.e. focus group surveys for sponsors) except the satisfaction of belonging to and supporting the Allrecipes community (more info: link to explanation of the Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador program).
Mar. 23, 2014 7:55 am
I am not going to involve myself anymore with the issues with these sponsor blogs. I can only do my best to offer what I myself perceive as "help" because I love the Allrecipes community. I am out of here, and if anybody asks, I am at Recipe-holics Anonymous.
Mar. 23, 2014 10:24 am
BigShotsMom--I got hooked with all of the different sites--Thanksgivingrecipe.com, cookies.com--and I've loved seeing the evolution into Allrecipes.com! On another note, those who run the Ambassador program give great instruction, and I'll stick with their requirements. No need to add anything additional to my blog as far as a disclaimer. Everyone using this site is capable of reading what they choose. Or not.
Mar. 23, 2014 1:57 pm
Mrs. J, thanks for stopping by. It's always interesting to get a different perspective on things.
Mar. 23, 2014 8:44 pm
I will apologize in advance if this was already mentioned. I don't mind the program. I trust the ambassadors to be honest in their reviews, but honestly, I don't enjoy the sheer number of items (reviews, blogs, whatever) of a single product all at once. Honestly, I am just starting to ignore them. I don't have any examples or statistics, just stating my personal experience. Well, I do mind a little bit when an ambassador gushes. Really...I have seen a few. I mean, it's corn oil. Not a new discovery. I know...I am jaded = )
Mar. 23, 2014 8:47 pm
BTW, Lutzflcat, I love your reviews. I always read them and they are always helpful.
Mar. 24, 2014 7:17 am
Thisni Caza, I appreciate your candor, and I totally understand where you're coming from. We, too, all recognize that it can be a little overwhelming to have a number of blogs posted all on the same subject over a very short period of time. But thank you for not being mean-spirited about how you feel. Many ambassadors have gone off site for their blogs, and the ones who are posting here are just trying to fulfill their obligations to the program. And a BIG thank you from me for the kind remark about my reviews!!!
Mar. 24, 2014 12:12 pm
I guess I am glad I missed the original blog and now I won't go looking for it. your response answered all the questions I would have had anyway. I have always loved writing for this site but in recent months it hasn't been the same. Childish Animosity with the PRO namestarted to kill me, then the AllStar backlash and finally the blogs getting kicked to the back end of the Buzz. I don't want to write anywhere else but it's almost like everyone wants us to. Keep fighting the good fight. Your pictures are always appreciated - especially when you take pictures of my recipes - they always look better than my own.
Mar. 25, 2014 8:40 am
Doug, your’re so right about how a single word can create animosity. For example, ALLSTARS versus AMBASSADORS, and now the word PRO added to a paid membership...I’m not pro, but I’m not hostile about it either. Apparently, the blogs are not a priority to AR these days, and many folks are complaining. Unless you’re a regular user of this site, you wouldn’t know they even existed or how to find them. IMO the blogs either should be given some visibility on the home page or just eliminated. I’m no blogger, but as part of the ambassadors program, I did just set up an external blog because of the things that you just mentioned. I’m no techie, and it was definitely a challenge for me, but it’s now done. In the last conference call, AR mentioned that the blogging is currently being addressed, and something will evolve over the next 3 months (I believe that was the timeframe). So for those of you who enjoy blogging, hang in there, maybe good things are coming.
Mar. 25, 2014 5:45 pm
I think, for me, you just hit the nail on the head lutzflcat - I'd love for all of you to blog about what you love - I'm just not sure where the *scheduled* AR sponsored blogs should go. I'm one of the ones that stopped reading when it just became a free for all of blogs about the same *sponsored* blog. Personally, I don't want to see those on the front page. I want (I know, I know, I just need to get over it, lol) to go back to when the blogs were actual fun, interesting blog posts.
Mar. 26, 2014 6:36 am
Scotdog, I fully understand what you're saying. It can be boring to see a bunch of blogs on the same subject posted all at one time. And if it’s not a give-away in the blog title, you’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if a blog is about a sponsor’s product just by quickly scanning it. As in reading the newspaper, if there's something that doesn't interest me, I just move on to another article. I think part of what happened to blogs on AR is simply many regular bloggers have gone offsite to Blogger and Wordpress and set up personal blogs, and some of them are very professionally done, good and interesting. I know many community members are upset with the blogging format on AR right now, (unable to upload photos, for example), but it’s being addressed. IMO the “Blogs” need visibility, where to find them, and if it’s not on the home page, for many, they think they’re just gone, just eliminated. Many don’t know that you now have to go to the Buzz and then click on the Blogs tab. Maybe all of us need to make a commitment to be a little more pro-active in putting some life back into it and start posting blogs again...and not necessarily just sponsor blogs. :-) Thanks for posting your comment, your opinion matters!
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Home Town
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Living In
Lutz, Florida, USA

Member Since
Jun. 2010

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Baking, Grilling & BBQ, Stir Frying, Asian, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Healthy, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

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About Me
Retired from a high-stress sales career which involved lots of travel. I now have the time to relax, turn off the alarm clock and sleep in, read a book, magazine or the newspaper (every day, not just Sunday) and, most importantly, take in everything that the Florida lifestyle offers, and that's a lot! And, finally, I have the luxury to really pursue a lifetime passion, cooking.
My favorite things to cook
Enjoy all kinds of food and cuisines, and I literally can't think of one food that I would refuse to eat. And that even includes liver (don't like cooking it, but sure like eating it). I love good food, but you won't find me making a recipe that has 40 ingredients. I just don't have the attention span for that.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband's grandmother was from Bavaria, and his mother learned to cook many of her old-country recipes which she then passed on to me. Our traditional Christmas dinner is sauerbraten (which marinates for at least five days) with gravy, homemade egg noodles sauteed in butter, potato balls (which float to the top of the boiling water if prepared correctly), sweet and sour red cabbage, and freshly cooked apples (gotta have something healthy). It's an exhausting meal that literally takes all day to prepare, but it's worth the effort. Yeah, I know it's also a carbohydrate nightmare, but what the heck, we only have it once a year.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering the Christmas sauerbraten meal was a victory. Also, making homemade goetta, a breakfast meat from Cincinnati. My version is made with all pork, equal portions of boston butt and loin. Today's goetta in Cincy has beef in it, as does the recipe on this site, but I'm sticking with ALL pork. It is totally unhealthy for you, but it's a treat, and I don't make it often.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a number over the years like the potato balls mentioned above just disintegrating into a puddle of potato shreds. There's no recipe, it's just a matter of "feeling right" when you're mixing. Not long ago, I made a peach pie and got so caught up in trying to make the pie crust work that I forgot to add the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, cinnamon, etc.) to the peaches that were sitting in a bowl on the counter. Cooked it anyway, it was ghastly, and then threw it away. My ongoing tragedy is making pie crust. There must a black cloud hanging over my head when I'm making pie crust because I ALWAYS have problems. But I'm not giving up, one day this tragedy will turn into a triumph and be listed above!
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