Recipe Reviews - With a Dab of... Blog at Allrecipes.com - 281624

With a Dab of...

Recipe Reviews 
 
Aug. 11, 2012 8:06 am 
Updated: Jan. 16, 2013 3:32 am
I've been a writer for several years, a professional writer for the last couple, and I have found that my biggest pet peeve is reviews.  Not the reviews themselves, no, but the way that many write them.

I have seen it here on this site, and it gives a false impression of a recipe to others. For example, even in the written review the person admits to having made mistakes/changes to the recipe, then rates it lower as it did not turn out right. That's a "false" review as it is not taking into account the changes made. Now, if there was a change like adding more flour to combat sticky dough in baking, or adding more cornstarch to thicken something more, that's completely different than switching ingredients completely or changing the process of which the recipe is made.

Now, back to my opening line; I've been a writer for many years, and I have read and written many reviews for fellow authours during that time. I have found, through trial and error, a good baseline of writing a review.

Note the changes you made during the creation of the recipe.  Why were the changes made?  Keeping that in mind, those changes could be the reason a lower score was made (or is needed).

What problems came up in making the recipe?  Were there any missing or unclear steps?  Missing ingredients from the list that were present in the directions?  Cooking time off by a couple dozen minutes?  Make note of these, as they can help both the original writer of the recipe, along with those who read it after you.

What did you like most about the recipe?  Even in a negative review, pointing out the strong point(s) helps lessen the impact, along with giving the recipe creator an idea of what they should be aiming for.

Recommendations.  Oil instead of butter? Milk instead of water? Less flavour? More?  Leaving recommendations from problems found in the second step can help the recipe creator modify and 'repair' the recipe if it is needed.  However, if the recipe recommendations are based more on personal taste (i.e. less heat in the spices) I would instead use the nifty ability to create a custom version of the recipe (or just write down your own custom version if you cannot use the on-site one) instead. 

As to the star ratings, try to keep it as honest and unbiased as possible.  If you are leaving three stars, let it be because the recipe was unclear, lacking flavour, not working, or missing steps. If leaving five stars, give the reasons.  Some recipes are harder than others to make, and that should be taken into consideration before rating the recipe. Also take into account the purpose or intent for the recipe in the first place.

An example of this is a recipe I came across as a pasta base.  It was a simple recipe that was meant as a launching pad into different tastes and varieties. I had read reviews where they said it was 'flavourless' and 'bland.'  They obviously missed the purpose of the recipe, which then lead to an inaccurate rating of the recipe.  

Now that I've had my rant, I'm off to find more recipes!
 
Comments
Aug. 11, 2012 9:23 am
Well done, well said.
 
Aug. 11, 2012 3:07 pm
apparently all-recipes likes the way there rating system works, 99% of everyone thinks otherwise.
 
Aug. 11, 2012 4:52 pm
I would like a system where you could comment on the recipe without assigning a star rating to it.
 
sensored 
Aug. 12, 2012 7:13 am
I've yet to write a review though I have sampled many a recipe from this site. The thing I always found, I rarely ever follow a recipe religiously, but more look to it for ideas as a launch pad for what I really want to accomplish... Based on that, haven't felt "qualified" enough to write a review...
 
Aug. 12, 2012 10:29 am
Sensored, I think your reviews with the changes you make would be greatly appreciated. I always scan down through the reviews before trying an AR recipe. Suggestions from others who have tried it, save me lots of times from making something that is too sweet or too spicey for my liking. Also, have you considered posting your own recipe that you develop from that basic AR recipe? Giving mention to the original cook as a starting point, of course, but still with changes you veer off and make, it sounds as tho you do come up with an entirely new recipe.
 
Aug. 12, 2012 1:50 pm
Wow I just read just the tagline in "recent review" for a vegetable soup. The reviewer said she could even think about making it because it used canned veggies. How can anyone review something they haven't tried. Also the original review this morning gave her disclaimer about the canned veggies saying she had not time for fresh as she was a round the clock caregiver. Please at least try a recipe before giving your 2 cents.
 
Aug. 12, 2012 5:37 pm
There are only a few things that are good canned. If a recipe tells me to use canned campbell's cream of mushroom soup or other creamed campbell's soups, It would at lease lose a star. I do like a few campbell's soups (Chicken Soup, Bean, Split Pea, And Potato soup). I am not going to use Lipton's Onion Or Beefy Onion Soup. I would rather cut up a fresh onion and some beef stock. I go to work for 8 hours working changing Tires, Oil Changes etc.. and still come home and cook a fresh meal for my wife. Tonight was Pork And Shrimp Fried Rice And Egg Rolls, From Scratch. If you watch people shop they they buy ready made meals, and out of the box. Not Really Cooking.
 
Aug. 12, 2012 8:24 pm
Obviously the people writing reviews based upon their additions/subtractions in a recipe still don't get the purpose of following a recipe exactly and then rating it because they are still doing it. Some things will never change.
 
Aug. 13, 2012 9:32 am
What I just found funny, Is I reviewed some posters reviews in this blog, and one of them who said they should not review recipes if they make changes, made 3 changes in a review, and rated the recipe with the changes.
 
Aug. 14, 2012 6:30 am
This is something that's been debated for quite some time on this site, and it has supporters in both camps. Personally, I don't mind at all if someone changes a recipe I've submitted and then provides a rating as long as it's not because of something like "I omitted the vanilla and orange zest, and it was completely bland"...of course it would be bland in a case like that, you omitted the ingredients that added flavor! That's just an example, but it's my 2 cents. I'm not going to rate a recipe that I've never tried because of, as someone mentioned seeing in a review previously, it uses canned veggies, and I dislike canned veggies. But for those of us who never make a recipe without tweaking, we typically don't mind a rating with changes. But most of us also understand the other side of the fence for those that prefer to follow a recipe exactly. The customized recipe feature is a great thing, too. I agree with covergirl, too, that it would be nice to leave a comment on a recipe without requiring a star rating. Most important above all to me is that we keep it civil and mind our manners as sometimes the reviews can get pretty nasty.
 
Aug. 14, 2012 9:07 am
I have to disagree. I think the reviews are fine the way they are. Why not let people say what they want to say about a recipe? I read them for inspiration and possible substitutions to fit what I have on hand. I want to see if someone has had success making a recipe more healthy or less expensive. I usually skip the snotty or rude reviews. The "I made it exactly as written-5 stars" reviews are very boring to me. The star system is kind of annoying to me, though. Technically, on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 should stand for near perfection or exceptional, 4- above average, 3-average, 2-below average and one- inedible. It seems like we give 5 stars for simple good food, then we have no room to go up for truly exceptional recipes.
 
Catkin 
Aug. 14, 2012 12:29 pm
I think it's only the star rating that's a sticking point for me. If a reviewer said they liked the recipe only with the changes they made, that would be fair enough if there was no star rating. It just doesn't make sense to me to give a high star rating when you have made alterations that change the recipe beyond what it once was. But I think a few tweaks are ok, in my opinion of course! I do usually try to stick to the recipe when I make it the first time, for a fair review. However, I have come under fire even when doing that and posting my review based on the recipe as it is!!
 
Sharon 
Aug. 14, 2012 2:34 pm
I don't like to leave ratings because of the star system but when I do it's usually because I used the recipe as posted. I do agree though that if you change anything in the recipe then you are not giving a fair rating. I know, I know, I have left ratings but I also explained the changes and try to keep the rating neutral. As for canned veggies.. people! :) Just make it with fresh instead of passing up on what might be the meal of your life! Honestly, canned soup was a staple in the 60's for people with large families to feed. My mother used to use canned veggie for her hamburger goulash. She also used canned bean sprouts, canned water chestnuts and canned mushrooms... She fed 8 people 3 times a day, you cut corners where you can to stretch your grocery money. Her hamburger goulash was fantastic by the way.
 
Aug. 16, 2012 12:26 pm
I like canned peas!
 
Aug. 16, 2012 12:31 pm
I reviewed a recipe I changed, but, the recipe did not have very many reviews. And, the previous review was poor because the reviewer made huge changes to the foundation and not realizing that eliminating one major ingredient would drastically change a dish. My comment was that the basic recipe was solid and then explained why I changed it because it was customizable. (Customizable - is that word spelling police?)
 
Aug. 16, 2012 12:33 pm
I often see someone thanking the person that reviewed a recipe in "The Buzz". If you are going to thank someone why not insert the recipe again so that the rest of us may try it too?
 
Aug. 16, 2012 3:59 pm
I like the review system as it is, its quick simple and easy for everyone to use. The one thing I do think which should be added is to confirm that you have actually made the dish. Now its the reviewers themselves that need to change. I love the fact we have the freedom to be honest and to express our opinions but I feel the reviews should be submitted to help others not to character assasinate the submitter. Even though the recipe is not one of our favorite you have to remember it could have been a family favorite for years!
 
Mhend 
Aug. 16, 2012 8:47 pm
Many things were said while I was out of town it seems... But to comment on some things: The star-rating system is great, I love it personally; when it's used correctly. I'm not giving a bashing on the rating system, I just wanted to vent and bring awareness of those using it in a manner that was causing inaccurate feedback. It sounds like there's really sides to this, and for those who don't follow a recipe to the letter, just remember that those changes do affect the overall outcome. If you feel the changes made are better than the original, then rate the review as such; you might have made those adjustments to compensate for something you felt was lacking. If you made the changes because of an allergy or a dislike of a certain ingredient, don't let that affect the review. Okay, second rant over. Go back at it, I guess :)
 
patty 
Jan. 16, 2013 3:32 am
i really don't understand how anyone's feedback could be called "inaccurate". let's not forget that food and it's taste is very subjective. read the reviews and take them for what they are worth. and i happen to like the "i made it exactly" reviews. that tells me that if i follow recipe exactly, it's a good recipe i don't have to tweak. what's wrong with that? if you are having to overly tweak recipes, maybe it not a recipe worth bothering with. just come up with your own then. on the flip side, great ideas often come from the ones that have to be "tweaked".
 
 
 
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Mhend

Home Town
Syracuse, New York, USA
Living In
Logan, Utah, USA

Member Since
Nov. 2010

Cooking Level
Intermediate

Cooking Interests
Baking, Frying, Stir Frying, Asian, Italian, Healthy, Vegetarian, Quick & Easy

Hobbies
Scrapbooking, Knitting, Sewing, Needlepoint, Gardening, Hiking/Camping, Camping, Biking, Walking, Fishing, Photography, Reading Books, Music, Genealogy, Painting/Drawing

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About Me
I'm a full time university student who loves the simple things in life. Good food, good company, and good entertainment. I'm easy to please, and easily entertained as well!
My favorite things to cook
My favourite things to cook are Asian dishes. I also like making my own pasta sauces, and even made a tomato-based sauce that was sweet. I just like experimenting in general!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family cooks, and cooks, and cooks. I grew up learning that food is company's best friend, and so food was always available to offer to guests. For birthdays we make a Chocolate cake that has a secret ingredient that is always a hit. Kielbasa is also a staple 'comfort' food, always served with vinegar.
My cooking triumphs
When my older brother developed an allergy to soy products, I helped adapt many recipes to become soy-free so he could eat them. It was a lot harder than I first thought it would be - especially the more I discovered how many products have some type of soy in them!
My cooking tragedies
My most memorable cooking experience has to be the first time I made apple pie. The instructor said to add 'as much brown sugar as you want.' I took that a bit too literally (horrid sweet tooth, I admit!) and ended up making what is now called "Apple Soup in a Pie Crust."
 
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