Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

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J a y H a c k
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Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#1 Post by J a y H a c k » September 1st, 2020, 6:39 pm

I was reviewing the recipe for Lamb stuffed tomatoes that I was referred to in my thread on tomato recipes (by the way, we really liked it), and I decided to look at some of the comments. It reminded me that some people are born idiots, or perhaps they have idiocy thrust upon them. Regardless, I just love a review that gives a recipe one star out of five and the text is roughly something like this, "I left out the garlic because I don't like garlic, I used only half of the ground pepper because I thought the recipe called for too much, and I didn't have any turmeric. This recipe was terrible because the spices were too light." Well moron, what did you think was going to happen when you left out half the spices?

In other recipes I have seen people make brilliant comments like, "I am a vegan, so I substituted ground eggplant with walnuts for the ground beef and tofu slices for the cheese, and this recipe was awful." Of course it was, you idiot, it wasn't designed for people like you. I once even saw a comment by someone who substituted every ingredient in a recipe, all the way down to the salt, which was removed because her husband had hypertension, and then complained that the recipe didn't work.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#2 Post by Betty C » September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm

There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#3 Post by c fu » September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am

Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#4 Post by Victor Hong » September 2nd, 2020, 4:11 am

Missing ingredient in many recipes: user intelligence.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#5 Post by Jay Miller » September 2nd, 2020, 6:50 am

Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
The quote that I like goes

"Some recipes call for one clove of garlic. This is wrong. No recipe should use one clove of garlic unless it is a recipe entitled How To Cook One Clove of Garlic. Even then, use two."


There was a great Yelp review of my favorite local taco place which gave it one star complaining that there was an entire wedge of lime on top of the taco. How was she expected to eat that?
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#6 Post by ybarselah » September 2nd, 2020, 7:22 am

there are a handful of items where the fresh farm version is so much better and different that it's essentially a completely different ingredient. garlic is at the top of that list. the garlic you get at a supermarket is so bland, dry, and lacking in flavor and aroma that you'd need 20x to make any impact whatsoever. i'm very serious about garlic.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#7 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 2nd, 2020, 9:35 am

ybarselah wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 7:22 am
there are a handful of items where the fresh farm version is so much better and different that it's essentially a completely different ingredient. garlic is at the top of that list. the garlic you get at a supermarket is so bland, dry, and lacking in flavor and aroma that you'd need 20x to make any impact whatsoever. i'm very serious about garlic.
Yaacov (or anyone who loves garlic): if you haven't already done this - and if you have, I expect you're doing it every season - when the fresh young garlic is available in the farmers' markets, make garlic confit. Peel as many cloves as you have the energy to peel, cover in a small saucepan with high quality canola oil, and put it on your lowest burner setting, preferably on a diffuser, for about an hour. It should never get above the gentlest of simmers. The resulting cloves are sweet and delicate and pure, and can be thrown whole into every vegetable dish right at the end, smashed on top of toast, used in dressings....tons of uses. Store them in the fridge in the oil used for cooking, and use the oil as well for light sautees in which you want just a hint of garlic. We do 20-30 heads of garlic like this every season.

To the original question, comments often drive me crazy, for many of the same reasons that Jay mentions. There are also recipe quirks that drive me crazy. Notably, most recipes don't want to admit that it takes as long as it takes to caramelize onions. They all say "sautee onions until light brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes." Bullsh-t.

Same with instructions for reducing - it takes a lot longer than most recipes tell you.

I can also go off on plenty of restaurant pet peeves, like temperature issues. For instance, cheese shouldn't be cold. I get that this is the land of lawsuits and regulations, and people get hysterical about refrigerating everything constantly, but cold cheese is gross. Sushi and sashimi also shouldn't be cold.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#8 Post by Ethan Abraham » September 2nd, 2020, 9:49 am


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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#9 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 2nd, 2020, 9:55 am

Ethan Abraham wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:49 am
https://slate.com/human-interest/2012/0 ... elize.html
This is a classic.
Yep. Exactly. Julia Child tells the truth. So does David Chang in the Momofuku cookbook. Most everyone else lies.

Experienced cooks don't fall for it, but lots of people are scared in the kitchen and will follow recipes to the letter. Their dishes will never come out right if those who write recipes continue to lie about things like this.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#10 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 2nd, 2020, 10:49 am

c fu wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am
Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
This. TOTALLY.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#11 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 2nd, 2020, 11:16 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:55 am
Ethan Abraham wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:49 am
https://slate.com/human-interest/2012/0 ... elize.html
This is a classic.
Yep. Exactly. Julia Child tells the truth. So does David Chang in the Momofuku cookbook. Most everyone else lies.

Experienced cooks don't fall for it, but lots of people are scared in the kitchen and will follow recipes to the letter. Their dishes will never come out right if those who write recipes continue to lie about things like this.
Check out Thomas Keller's recipe for French onion soup:

FOR THE SOUP: Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 tablespoon salt, reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes and regulating the heat to keep the mixture bubbling gently, for about 1 hour, or until the onions have wilted and released a lot of liquid. At this point, you can turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquid, but it is important to continue to cook the onions slowly to develop maximum flavor and keep them from scorching. Continue to stir the onions every 15 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom and get in the corners of the pot, for about 4 hours more, or until the onions are caramelized throughout and a rich deep brown. Keep a closer eye on the onions toward the end of the cooking when the liquid has evaporated.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#12 Post by TimF » September 2nd, 2020, 11:19 am

I love onions and grill them with peppers for fajitas on a regular basis. I don't cook them for 45 minutes -- maybe 15. I don't think I'd want them at that point. I guess onion soup is different.

My pet peeve is when people say, "sear it to seal in the juices". That's not what searing is for...
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#13 Post by Christine Huang » September 2nd, 2020, 12:00 pm

12 lbs of sweet onions, 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, salt, and 5 or so hours later.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#14 Post by ClarkstonMark » September 2nd, 2020, 12:11 pm

Andrew Kotowski wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 11:16 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:55 am
Ethan Abraham wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:49 am
https://slate.com/human-interest/2012/0 ... elize.html
This is a classic.
Yep. Exactly. Julia Child tells the truth. So does David Chang in the Momofuku cookbook. Most everyone else lies.

Experienced cooks don't fall for it, but lots of people are scared in the kitchen and will follow recipes to the letter. Their dishes will never come out right if those who write recipes continue to lie about things like this.
Check out Thomas Keller's recipe for French onion soup:

FOR THE SOUP: Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 tablespoon salt, reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes and regulating the heat to keep the mixture bubbling gently, for about 1 hour, or until the onions have wilted and released a lot of liquid. At this point, you can turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquid, but it is important to continue to cook the onions slowly to develop maximum flavor and keep them from scorching. Continue to stir the onions every 15 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom and get in the corners of the pot, for about 4 hours more, or until the onions are caramelized throughout and a rich deep brown. Keep a closer eye on the onions toward the end of the cooking when the liquid has evaporated.
I made that Keller Onion Soup once. The veal stock was a bigger issue for me
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#15 Post by Brian Gilp » September 2nd, 2020, 12:42 pm

c fu wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am
Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
I remember the day I learned this. In college cooking for some friends. Misread mom’s recipe that called for one clove of garlic and used one head. Turned out way better than mom ever made it.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#16 Post by ybarselah » September 2nd, 2020, 12:50 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:35 am

Yaacov (or anyone who loves garlic): if you haven't already done this - and if you have, I expect you're doing it every season - when the fresh young garlic is available in the farmers' markets, make garlic confit.
i do a version of this but with olive oil and butter (fat and water soluble compounds work better here) and in the oven so you can just leave it alone on a low setting. easier than the stove top. glazed garlic with sherry vinegar, honey, and thyme is also an insane side dish.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#17 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 2nd, 2020, 12:56 pm

ybarselah wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:50 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:35 am

Yaacov (or anyone who loves garlic): if you haven't already done this - and if you have, I expect you're doing it every season - when the fresh young garlic is available in the farmers' markets, make garlic confit.
i do a version of this but with olive oil and butter (fat and water soluble compounds work better here) and in the oven so you can just leave it alone on a low setting. easier than the stove top. glazed garlic with sherry vinegar, honey, and thyme is also an insane side dish.
I tried it with olive oil and, while good, prefer the version with neutral oil for a purer garlic flavor. Never tried adding butter. The sherry vinegar etc. glaze sounds fantastic.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#18 Post by Kenny H » September 2nd, 2020, 12:57 pm

c fu wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am
Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
Bingo! Also most store garlic has green making it bitter, blanching is critical.

I like to confit garlic sous vide. That way it is preserved and can be opened any time for over a year.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#19 Post by Victor Hong » September 2nd, 2020, 1:08 pm

Kenny H wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:57 pm
c fu wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am
Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
Bingo! Also most store garlic has green making it bitter, blanching is critical.

I like to confit garlic sous vide. That way it is preserved and can be opened any time for over a year.
Or keep refrigerated, to prevent sprouting.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#20 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 2nd, 2020, 1:50 pm

Kenny H wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:57 pm

I like to confit garlic sous vide. That way it is preserved and can be opened any time for over a year.
I have thought of doing this. I sometimes do duck confit sous vide, even though I don't like the results as much, because I like how little fat you need for a big batch. But in the case of garlic confit, the oil used in the cooking process is a great side benefit so I want a lot of it.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#21 Post by Ron Slye » September 2nd, 2020, 1:53 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 9:35 am
ybarselah wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 7:22 am
there are a handful of items where the fresh farm version is so much better and different that it's essentially a completely different ingredient. garlic is at the top of that list. the garlic you get at a supermarket is so bland, dry, and lacking in flavor and aroma that you'd need 20x to make any impact whatsoever. i'm very serious about garlic.
Yaacov (or anyone who loves garlic): if you haven't already done this - and if you have, I expect you're doing it every season - when the fresh young garlic is available in the farmers' markets, make garlic confit. Peel as many cloves as you have the energy to peel, cover in a small saucepan with high quality canola oil, and put it on your lowest burner setting, preferably on a diffuser, for about an hour. It should never get above the gentlest of simmers. The resulting cloves are sweet and delicate and pure, and can be thrown whole into every vegetable dish right at the end, smashed on top of toast, used in dressings....tons of uses. Store them in the fridge in the oil used for cooking, and use the oil as well for light sautees in which you want just a hint of garlic. We do 20-30 heads of garlic like this every season.

To the original question, comments often drive me crazy, for many of the same reasons that Jay mentions. There are also recipe quirks that drive me crazy. Notably, most recipes don't want to admit that it takes as long as it takes to caramelize onions. They all say "sautee onions until light brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes." Bullsh-t.

Same with instructions for reducing - it takes a lot longer than most recipes tell you.

I can also go off on plenty of restaurant pet peeves, like temperature issues. For instance, cheese shouldn't be cold. I get that this is the land of lawsuits and regulations, and people get hysterical about refrigerating everything constantly, but cold cheese is gross. Sushi and sashimi also shouldn't be cold.

Absolutely on caramelizing onions! Years ago I made the mistake of making onion soup the night before we were going to serve it. I thought, a few hours, get the onions ready, nice night's sleep, etc. I was up all night. And there is such a big difference between onions that are properly caramelized and those that are just translucent or browned.

I actually gave up a long time ago on paying much attention to timing in recipes.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#22 Post by Ron Slye » September 2nd, 2020, 1:55 pm

[/quote]
Check out Thomas Keller's recipe for French onion soup:

FOR THE SOUP: Melt the butter and oil in a large heavy stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and 1 tablespoon salt, reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes and regulating the heat to keep the mixture bubbling gently, for about 1 hour, or until the onions have wilted and released a lot of liquid. At this point, you can turn up the heat slightly to reduce the liquid, but it is important to continue to cook the onions slowly to develop maximum flavor and keep them from scorching. Continue to stir the onions every 15 minutes, being sure to scrape the bottom and get in the corners of the pot, for about 4 hours more, or until the onions are caramelized throughout and a rich deep brown. Keep a closer eye on the onions toward the end of the cooking when the liquid has evaporated.
[/quote]

This was the recipe I followed. It took more than four hours to do it properly!

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#23 Post by Jay Miller » September 3rd, 2020, 8:31 am

I do a version of caramelized onions that's pretty easy and has the advantage of cooking a chicken dinner for part of the time the onions are caramelizing.

Slice the onions, place on the bottom of a lidded pan. Layer the fresh herb of your choice on top (thyme, tarragon, etc.). Place chicken thighs skin side up on top of the herbs. Cover and cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes, then remove the chicken.

I finish the chicken under the broiler to crisp up the skin, sometimes adding some more flavor (a rub, a bbq sauce, etc).

I leave the the onions which are cooking in chicken fat and juices infused with the herbal flavor on the stove for another 2 hours or so uncovered.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#24 Post by David K o l i n » September 3rd, 2020, 8:36 am

Christine Huang wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:00 pm
12 lbs of sweet onions, 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, salt, and 5 or so hours later.
Thank you.

BTW, that may for the inspiration to load homemade bread with scallions. Brilliant.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#25 Post by Betty C » September 3rd, 2020, 10:02 am

Brian Gilp wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:42 pm
c fu wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am
Betty C wrote:
September 1st, 2020, 8:49 pm
There are very few recipes on Earth calling for two cloves of garlic that are actually good with only two cloves.
"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
I remember the day I learned this. In college cooking for some friends. Misread mom’s recipe that called for one clove of garlic and used one head. Turned out way better than mom ever made it.
I'm curious - do you remember what you made?
Ch00

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#26 Post by Brian Gilp » September 3rd, 2020, 11:14 am

Betty C wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 10:02 am
Brian Gilp wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:42 pm
c fu wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:51 am


"two cloves of garlic? Don't mind if i add 8" - my general motto
I remember the day I learned this. In college cooking for some friends. Misread mom’s recipe that called for one clove of garlic and used one head. Turned out way better than mom ever made it.
I'm curious - do you remember what you made?
It was a chicken dish. Probably a version of chicken cacciatore but am not sure. I checked her handwritten recipes and the only cookbook of hers that I kept and can’t find it.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#27 Post by Betty C » September 3rd, 2020, 12:31 pm

Brian Gilp wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 11:14 am
Betty C wrote:
September 3rd, 2020, 10:02 am
Brian Gilp wrote:
September 2nd, 2020, 12:42 pm


I remember the day I learned this. In college cooking for some friends. Misread mom’s recipe that called for one clove of garlic and used one head. Turned out way better than mom ever made it.
I'm curious - do you remember what you made?
It was a chicken dish. Probably a version of chicken cacciatore but am not sure. I checked her handwritten recipes and the only cookbook of hers that I kept and can’t find it.
I can see how a whole bulb of garlic would make that better.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#28 Post by TimF » September 3rd, 2020, 1:28 pm

When I make risotto, I add two bulbs of roasted garlic. My wife claims she can barely taste it.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#29 Post by Andrew Kotowski » September 3rd, 2020, 2:02 pm

Not washing your rice before cooking.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#30 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » September 4th, 2020, 3:21 pm

Love how this thread on the idiocy of changing the recipe is now a paean to changing the recipe.
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#31 Post by TimF » September 4th, 2020, 3:59 pm

P@u1_M3nk3s wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 3:21 pm
Love how this thread on the idiocy of changing the recipe is now a paean to changing the recipe.
Isn't it ironic?
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#32 Post by Betty C » September 4th, 2020, 7:18 pm

TimF wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 3:59 pm
P@u1_M3nk3s wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 3:21 pm
Love how this thread on the idiocy of changing the recipe is now a paean to changing the recipe.
Isn't it ironic?
Don’t you think?
Ch00

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#33 Post by RichardFlack » September 5th, 2020, 6:45 am

I nearly always follow a recipe to the letter first time round, unless there is something clearly wrong in a minor aspect (in which case the responsibility is mine). If I think there is something major wrong, I look for another recipe.

One exception for a first time out “tweak” is, and this is my pet peeve, that quantities for sauces, braising liquid etc, are often inadequate so I may ratio all those ingredients up by 25% or 50%, but keeping everything in proportion.

Subsequently, I very often tweak the dish according to my taste.

Other pet peeves... mixing measuring systems, why doesn’t everyone just give everything in grams? 5tbsp of this, 1/4 cup of that, 6oz of the other... I also weigh liquids it’s faster and more accurate.

And, as has already been noted, often the quoted prep time may be reasonable after you have done a recipe a few times but is usually too short for the first time out.

Recipes that don’t have a total prep and cook time (incl any resting or cooling times) at the beginning so you have get out a pencil and paper to figure out when to start.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#34 Post by RichardFlack » September 5th, 2020, 6:55 am

TimF wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 3:59 pm
P@u1_M3nk3s wrote:
September 4th, 2020, 3:21 pm
Love how this thread on the idiocy of changing the recipe is now a paean to changing the recipe.
Isn't it ironic?
That was just the example to get started. The thread is pet peeves. Number one seems to be dishonest recipes.

[Edited for typo]
Last edited by RichardFlack on September 5th, 2020, 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#35 Post by alan weinberg » September 5th, 2020, 10:38 am

I always tweak the recipe. Recipe may say 1 sprig of whatever but what if it is weaker or stronger than usual? So tasting is important.

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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#36 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » September 5th, 2020, 2:43 pm

I'm a tweaker. Not the drug addict kind.
Richard, not sure if some recipes are dishonest so much as inadequate.
Cheers,
Paul

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Mark Golodetz
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#37 Post by Mark Golodetz » September 5th, 2020, 3:10 pm

One of the more entertaining threads. Not surprising that Berserkers can’t keep to a recipe.
ITB

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RichardFlack
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#38 Post by RichardFlack » September 5th, 2020, 3:27 pm

P@u1_M3nk3s wrote:
September 5th, 2020, 2:43 pm
I'm a tweaker. Not the drug addict kind.
Richard, not sure if some recipes are dishonest so much as inadequate.
“ misleading “. Will that do?

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P@u1_M3nk3s
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#39 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » September 5th, 2020, 7:34 pm

RichardFlack wrote:
September 5th, 2020, 3:27 pm
P@u1_M3nk3s wrote:
September 5th, 2020, 2:43 pm
I'm a tweaker. Not the drug addict kind.
Richard, not sure if some recipes are dishonest so much as inadequate.
“ misleading “. Will that do?
[cheers.gif]
Cheers,
Paul

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David K o l i n
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Re: Pet Peeves - Epicurian Division

#40 Post by David K o l i n » September 5th, 2020, 9:09 pm

alan weinberg wrote:
September 5th, 2020, 10:38 am
I always tweak the recipe. Recipe may say 1 sprig of whatever but what if it is weaker or stronger than usual? So tasting is important.
I never stick to a recipe (other than baking). And I usually don’t follow baking recipes. I use them for ideas

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