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Wednesday Wisdom: Finding, Reading and Understanding a Recipe on Web

Wednesday Wisdom: Finding, Reading and Understanding a Recipe on Web

No matter how long we have been cooking, no matter how skilled we are and no matter how many recipe we know by heart, there is always room for improving and learning which means we will always be looking for new recipes, new cuisines, new hacks and new methods of cooking. The most common and easiest way to explore the world of food and cooking is the internet and thousands of recipes are just a click away. It is convenient and tiring at the same time and I mentioned it an older post of Chocolate Chip Cookies that the best way to overwhelm yourself for no particular reason is to search the web for THE best chocolate chip cookies. It is not limited to one recipe, most recipes are labelled and tagged as THE BEST or PERFECT which is fine if a company or a recipe developer believe so but there is a chance that people who try may not agree with it. Here are few simple steps to find a recipe you are looking for and to get successful results:

  • Be Specific with Search: Think carefully what exactly you are looking for to save your time and energy. Like what ingredients you plan to use, what cooking method is convenient for you at that time or how much time you have. If you are looking for a Roast Chicken recipe, for example, do you have a whole chicken or pieces? Do you have a particular flavor in mind? Are you looking for pan roasting?
  • Recipe Source: Once you have a list of different recipes, look for a credible and dependable source. Some websites even mention how many times a particular recipe has been tested in their kitchen. Most reliable recipes used to have ingredients mentioned in weights but this trend has changed and usually both weights and measures are now mentioned.
  • Picking a Recipe: Do not fall for a pretty picture only. Yes, recipe photos can be very deceiving thanks to the wonders of editing. Sometimes reading reviews are far more helpful in deciding which recipe to follow.
  • Reading a Recipe: This can be tricky because most people only jump to the recipe after seeing a beautiful food photograph. There is nothing wrong with it and food bloggers understand that too so they provide all details in the recipe’s ingredients list and method of cooking. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list or long description of cooking. Give yourself some time to read and comprehend the written instructions. Do remember that preparation and cooking time can vary because recipes are tried and tested in a more controlled manner than how we execute them in our kitchen. so a “Quick” recipe may not be that quick. Pay attention to recipe details given in recipe notes.
  • Check and Prepare Ingredients: Make sure you have all the ingredients before starting cooking. Wash, dry, chop, weigh and measure everything before turning on the stove top or preheating the oven. Try not to “half” the recipe and avoid substituting ingredients if it is a new recipe that you are trying for the first time.
  • Understand the Techniques Involved: It may sound very basic but mostly people who share recipes mention a specific technique that a reader may or may not understand, specially if the reader is totally new to cooking. Like what does saute even mean? What is caramelized onion? What is the difference between shallow frying or deep frying? Cream butter and sugar? Fold in dry ingredients? Yes, sometimes these basic cooking terms and techniques can be confusing and if it is not clearly described in recipe, search for definition, pictorial demonstration or a short video.
  • Gadget in the Kitchen? Many young cooks are very confident of taking their gadgets to the kitchen so it is up to you if you want to take your phone, tablet or laptop in the kitchen or you take screenshots of the recipe. Here is an easy way to keep phone or tablet safe in the kitchen . I am still a very conservative in this department and usually I write recipes and take my diary to the kitchen or I take a print out. Yeah I am literally a dinosaur in the kitchen!!

For some cooking basics check out this post about basic tips and this post for measuring flour or dry ingredients.

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