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How to Follow a Recipe

How to Follow a Recipe

1. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover

Photo by Shawn Eliav

I know it’s cliché, and maybe a tad overused, but that doesn’t make it any less applicable. Don’t judge a recipe by it’s title— there’s so much more to a recipe than the three words used to name it. The title gives you the basic framework of what’s to follow, but the subtle nuances that make each recipe different come from the ingredients. Think about it: how many recipes do you think there are titled “Sugar Cookies”? Make sure to read through the entire recipe before you decide to make it to ensure it’s something you actually like. You also definitely don’t want to discover halfway through that you’re missing an ingredient.

2. ETA

Photo by Shawn Eliav

It’s important to remember that time estimates on recipes are, in fact, estimates. Budget for at least 10-15 minutes more than what the recipe claims. Most authors write their recipes based on how long it took them, but chances are it’ll take you longer (think Rachael Ray’s 30-minute meals). Also, cook times can vary based on oven and stove temperatures. Lastly, don’t shy away from a recipe labeled “difficult” or advanced”— it may not be as hard as you think. Read through the entire recipe (ahem, number 1) before deciding. You might surprise yourself and learn a new trick or two.

3. It’s What’s Inside that Counts

Photo by Shawn Eliav

The ingredients are the most important part of any recipe. They’re what makes each recipe unique and what gives each dish its flavor. That being said, authors make their recipes to their own tastes, not yours. If you know you can’t stand red bell peppers, leave them out. Recipes are also all about ratios. For example, mayonnaise to dijon mustard. As long as you keep the ratio constant, you should be able to swap out regular mustard for dijon without a problem. Recipes should be treated as a guide, not the law. If you’re just learning how to cook, it’s probably a good idea to stick to recipes until you learn how different flavors interact with one another. With a little experience under your belt though, you’ll have more freedom to adjust recipes to your own liking. It may not come out as the author intended, but if it’s good, who cares?

4. Putting it all together

Photo by Shawn Eliav

Like I said, recipes are a guide, not the law. Obviously, it’s best to follow as closely as possible, especially if you’re new to cooking. But if forget to add the peppers in step two, it’s likely not the end of the world to add them in step three. What’s important are key words like “translucent and soft” because those tell you what your end goal is. Also remember that even if it says “sauté for two minutes” you may have to sauté for five, and that’s okay. As long as you know you’re trying to get the onions “translucent and soft,” the timing doesn’t really matter.

5. Picture Perfect?

Photo by Alex Vu

Don’t freak out if your final product looks nothing like the picture. Recipe authors put serious effort into making their pictures flawless and appetizing. Food styling is an art all on its own; you don’t have to be a food stylist to be a good cook!

This article references our very own Alex Vu’s recipe for Maryland Crab Cakes as an example. Check out his full recipe here.

The post How to Follow a Recipe originally appeared on Spoon University. Please visit Spoon University to see more posts like this one. More good stuff from Spoon University here:

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How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


How To Write a Recipe

Fall is finally here, which means the weather will get crisper as the days pass. So naturally, people will stay indoors to cook and bake. Most of us will grab the most recent issue of Bon Appetit or simply search for “best pumpkin pie recipe”—but what about those who have recipes scribbled on scratch paper that have been passed down from their ancestors? Or those who want to write a cookbook and are using their home as a test kitchen?

If cooking is an art form, then so is writing a recipe. Recipes need to be precise, and they also need to use language that’s easy to understand. They need to include each and every step while not providing too much information. Dishes are made up of specific amounts, so they can turn out wrong just by a small incorrect measurement.

It’s your job to make sure the instructions you give others are explicit and concise. In order to put your cooking method down on paper for others to mimic, go to your kitchen and be prepared to start this recipe from scratch.


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