Why Can't I Follow Directions? - What's for Dinner? Blog at Allrecipes.com - 74007

What's for Dinner?

Why can't I follow directions? 
Feb. 2, 2009 10:49 pm 
Updated: Mar. 8, 2009 5:34 pm
Have you ever read those reviews here on AllRecipes that go something like, "Well, I didn't have any barbeque sauce, so I used ketchup, and I didn't have any cheddar cheese, so I used cheese whiz, and I'm trying to cut out fat, so I used fake turkey crumbles instead of ground beef...and by the way, this recipe was awful!"

Why do those people even bother to review the recipe?  They didn't make it!  They made some mutant version so full of changes that it can't possibly qualify as the same dish.  Oh, sure, I understand subbing apple cider vinegar for red wine vinegar - but doesn't everyone have 8 kinds of vinegar in their pantry?  (For the record, I have: distilled white, red wine, white wine, rice, sherry, champagne, apple cider, and the matriarch, balsamic.)  Or maybe using parmesan cheese instead of Romano.  Those slight flavor variations don't substantively change the recipe, and reviews are fair.  But once you start making major substitutions, like textured vegetable protein instead of sirloin, you are done.  Do. Not. Review.  There's no point.

That being said, apparently I'm constitutionally incapable of making a recipe exactly as it's written.  It's not that I think I'm a better cook than anyone else, and can therefore improve upon someone else's creation.  It's just I know what my family likes, and can't help but try to tweak dishes to our own tastes.  For example, I made a new dish tonight, Quick Weekday Pasta, and of course I made some minor changes.  I mixed the cheese (a little more than called for) in with the pasta, instead of sprinkling it on top.  I added a cracker topping (I had Ritz crackers in the house, which I rarely do, so I couldn't resist).  But that's all.  So I will review the recipe, both here and on the recipe page.

My review?  It's a fine dish, pretty bland, but my family really liked it, so I'll probably make it again.  My husband, in fact, asked me to double it next time, so he could take leftovers to work for lunch.  Next time, will I make changes? 

Oh yes.  There will be changes.
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Feb. 3, 2009 5:31 am
I agree with you, half the time it's not even close to the original recipe. If it was a good recipe originally, people might pass on it because of a bad review, when technically it was a great recipe to start with. It makes me cringe when I see this.
Feb. 3, 2009 6:23 am
I couldn't agree more! When I see a review that's longer that the original recipe, I know I'm in for "add this, leave out this, substitute this," so I don't even bother to read it! As I've said before - either review it the way it's written or submit YOUR OWN recipe.
Feb. 3, 2009 9:30 am
And don't you love the ones that start with "These are my changes" and then go on with a LONG list! I don't even read reviews which have a bunch of changes anymore.
Feb. 3, 2009 9:37 am
Completely agree! I'm guilty of tweaking to my families taste too! They are not the best at supporting my kitchen adventures. It makes me nuts to see people make that many changes and then review. The only way I "got" chemistry even a little in college was putting everything in "cooking" speak so to say. People, you have no clue the beautiful and delicate balance to a recipe posted as is!
Feb. 3, 2009 1:54 pm
Some reviews should be deleted because they are so out of line with the recipe. The review that really ticked me off was posted by laura for Zabaglione. the ingredients are egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine. She gave it one star and said it was terrible because it tasted too much like egg yolks. RU kidding me.
Feb. 8, 2009 10:46 am
The recipe for Baked Ziti I: Nearly half the reviewers thought sour cream sounded "gross" so they substituted ricotta... And then hated the results for being bland and dry. (Hahahhah! Suckers. It's great as written as long as you remember to cover it with foil while baking.)
Feb. 9, 2009 3:56 pm
I don't bother reading the long drawn out reviews that have completely changed the recipe either. I often tweak the spices usually adding more but I do not divert from the core of the recipe. Okay, okay, I've added veggies here and there when none was called for but it's frustrating when you are trying to read through the reviews to get other people's take and useful information on the recipe itself (like longer cooking times, different cooking method or doubling the sauce) and there are reviewers who have added everything but the kitchen sink. Not helpful people!
Mar. 8, 2009 5:34 pm
I couldn't agree more, some of the reviews are so completely ridiculous! there is a review out there for pb&j that reads "I just made a few changes of course instead of peanut butter I used sliced turkey breast and instead of jelly I substituted cheddar cheese."
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About Me
My mom was a "from scratch" cook - it wasn't until I moved out of the house that I realized that you could actually buy lasagna noodles! Fresh, simple meals were a staple in our house, and I try to carry that forward.
My favorite things to cook
I love trying new things, so a new recipe is my favorite thing to cook. My kids have learned to be "adventurous eaters", so I know they'll at least taste everything I try, even if they don't like it much!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Just like most families, every holiday seems to have developed its own special food tradition - chili on Halloween, Thanksgiving dinner at the beach, fanciful cakes for birthdays.
My cooking triumphs
I've cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner at the beach, with just a small grill and a two burner camp stove!
My cooking tragedies
I was making dinner for some foodie friends once, and they poured me some wine while I was cooking. Bad idea! I was steaming some sweet potatoes and wasn't paying attention - there wasn't enough water and the pan scorched!
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