Reviews, Revisited - Ellen's Tastes Blog at - 271160

Ellen's Tastes

Reviews, revisited 
Mar. 25, 2012 10:25 am 
Updated: Mar. 25, 2012 7:22 pm
Recently, one of my recipes (Ellen's Chicken Cacciatore) was published on this site. It happens to be a recipe I created with some jazz cooking — meaning I was making it up as I went along, and then I refined it over time. As it happens, I'm gaga for rosemary, so I tend to use more than most recipes call for. For those who don't like rosemary, it'd be a mistake to make this dish without lowering the amount that's called for (try adding thyme).

The recipe combines tomatos, white wine, and orange juice. One reviewer left the OJ out completely, and added a slew of italian seasonings, all of which would alter the flavor of the dish I created — to the point of my version being unrecognizable. To her credit, she was good enough to give the recipe 5 stars, despite her major changes, in part because she was able to do some jazz cooking herself and came up with a Chicken Cacciatore that reminded her of her mom's. I'm happy to have helped her get back to a taste she's been looking for, but to suggest that readers drop the OJ is to mislead them.

Another reviewer didn't like it at all, although she doesn't bother to explain what she didn't like. With nearly all reviews of this recipe, it's gotten 5 stars. So when someone doesn't like it, it suggests they're not fond of an ingredient (or more) in the recipe. It would be more helpful to let readers know the offending elements of the recipe so they can tweak it themselves if they happen to share the same dislikes.

Naturally I like to see 5 stars: it's why I submitted the recipe in the first place. I think it's delicious and I make it a lot. It gets devoured at our home, whether served just to hubby or at a dinner party. I don't mind reviewers who find the recipe not to their liking, but I mind when the negative isn't given any specifics and I definitely mind when a key ingredient is eliminated from a recipe, even when the reviewer still gives it 5 stars. Let's face it, the 5-star rating is a review of HER jazz cooking, not mine. 

I've tweaked recipes here myself to adjust to my tastes. But when it's the first time I make a dish, those tweaks are generally minor because I want to know how the poster intended the recipe to taste. I usually pick new recipes with ingredients I like, so it's not hard to stay near the posted version, and it seems only fair to the person who created it.

I already know I can't change what people want to write. I'm just sayin'...

Mar. 25, 2012 1:55 pm
This is such an ongoing comment made by submitters. I am a chronic tweaker, and I find myself not reviewing many of the recipes I make because I have made so many changes. I am now off to look for yours and I promise to either make it as written or refrain from commenting (but I'm sure it will be great.)
Mar. 25, 2012 4:23 pm
I've made an easy two hundred recipies from here and, like BigShotsMom, I tweak too much to submit an honest review.
Mar. 25, 2012 5:31 pm
Well, I have only done a few reviews, but, once someone starts messing with the recipe it is no longer your recipe, it is theirs and it is now being made for their liking. So once they change it, they should not rate it, it is that simple. I always make the recipe the way it is listed, then after trying it if it needs changes, then I do them. But, 9 out of 10 times, I leave them alone. So keep on cooking and consider it a 5 star.
Mar. 25, 2012 7:22 pm
I'm with BSM and Mike, I tweak recipes too much and it isn't fair to the recipe creator when I've customized it too far to be recognizable to the the original recipe, good or bad as the adaptation might be, so I rarely review.
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Living In
Concord, New Hampshire, USA

Member Since
Dec. 2004

Cooking Level

Cooking Interests
Baking, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Mediterranean, Healthy, Gourmet

Photography, Reading Books, Music, Painting/Drawing, Wine Tasting

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About Me
I've loved cooking since I was a kid, and still have my first (very battered) cookbook. Other than cooking, I adore interior design, writing, and playing bridge. Oh... and tasting new wines (or old favorites).
My favorite things to cook
As I've grown older, my tastes and philosophy have changed. I now use organic ingredients whenever I can, and I prefer using unprocessed ingredients.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, my mother (bless her) had 8 people to feed, so she made foods that were easy to prepare. My favorites were her baked ribs with barbecue sauce; english muffins topped with cheese, tomato, and bacon, and then broiled; and spaghetti noodles with tomato soup and cheddar cheese stirred in. I wouldn't make these dishes today, but they're full of fond memories.
My cooking triumphs
Adding orange juice to diced tomato sauce • Adding Cointreau to fresh fruit salads or a chocolate sauce • Adding tequila and bittersweet chocolate to chili • "poaching" salmon in orange juice, sprinkled with Old Bay and tarragon • adding cidar vinegar and soy sauce to vegetable soups • adding fresh mint to steamed red potatoes • knowing how to bail out a botched dish (example: over-steamed broccoli mashed with bleu or swiss cheese isn't nearly as bad as over-steamed broccoli on it's own).
My cooking tragedies
Over-steaming broccoli and most any other veggie... and a lasagna that was so loaded with oregano, no one could eat it.
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