Tag Archives: recipes

Cooking isn’t hard

So, I am a food lover.  I have (by choice) watched cooking shows since I was two years old.  As a teenager, if I had nothing to do, I would read cookbooks over and over again to understand basic technique and recipes.  I have been baking for around sixteen years and have been cooking the majority of my meals for about four years  and I have come to some conclusions.

Cooking isn’t hard.

Some may want to argue with me.  But, really, cooking meals from scratch isn’t hard. The type of cooking that you are most interested in may be difficult–not everyone can be Gordon Ramsey or Ina Garten.  But the act of heating and combining foods to make an edible meal is not actually all that complicated, nor is reading a recipe and following the steps.

Which is why the many magazine articles and books dedicated to quick, easy [insert number here] step meals and the bizarre amount of boxed and bagged dinners available in the grocery store bug me: because they imply that all other cooking is too difficult for mere mortals to master.

Honestly, with a small amount of research to understand terms, I’m fairly confident that anyone with proper motor skills and some interest can make just about any recipe.  I’m also confident that you don’t need three cans of soup and two packets of dressing mix to make chicken in a crockpot.

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No, really, Pinterest.

I mean, anyone can make whatever they want with whatever weird or non-weird ingredients they want.  But I just think it unfair for convenience foods to have the corner on the Easy Dinner market.  Especially when the “convenience” is often simply that they combined incredibly common ingredients for you (I’m looking at you, pancake mix).  Many, many dinners are easy.  If you’re looking for hands-off cooking, there are thousands of slow cooker recipes out there that just involve chopping a few things up and chucking them in that Crock Pot Grandma gave you for your wedding.  That prep takes all of 15 minutes.

I think I’m just irritated that food is presented as this complex animal that only the truly dedicated can understand, leaving the rest of humanity with their packets of flavoring and boxed dinners.  And, if you want to eat those, that’s fine; but don’t feel like you have to eat them because you think cooking is too hard; it really just takes a bit of research and a little bit of time.

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Dear People Who Review Products on Websites

Dear People Who Review Products on Websites,

I’m not sure what part of the phrase “Product Review” is confusing, but clearly there is some clarification that is needed.

When you write a product review, you are supposed to review the product.  When you write a recipe review, you are supposed to review the recipe.  You are not supposed to write a review of the packaging used, the shipping time, or of your own culinary incompetence.  In the past, I felt this was self-evident, but apparently it is not.

For instance, if you purchase a book on Amazon.com and wish to write a review, you are supposed read the book, consider the contents, decide if you liked or disliked it, and write about your like or dislike of the book.  You are not supposed to write a review praising or denouncing the time the item took to ship.  You are not supposed to write a review praising or denouncing the cover art of the book.  You are not supposed to write a review praising or denouncing the author’s other works or a review that simply states how excited you are to read the book before you are actually able to read it.  All of these things serve to give the book in question an inaccurate star rating, which is incredibly unhelpful to the general public.

In the same vein, if you visit AllRecipes.com and wish to review a recipe, you should make the recipe, taste it and decide if you liked or disliked the meal produced from the recipe.  You should not write a review of the recipe if you changed half of the ingredients.  You should not write a review if your own incompetence or ignorance as a cook caused severe problems with the recipe.  You should not write a review if you once tasted a recipe similar that your Great Aunt Miffy made ten years ago and you hated it, like, really, really hated it and no one wanted to eat it and it ruined Christmas.  Once again, these types of reviews only serve to muddy the waters of quality reviews.

If you have genuinely experienced the book, product or recipe that you wish to write about, by all means, review it.  The public has a right to know about the products they are considering devoting money, time and energy to.  However, if you are reviewing anything other than the book, product or recipe at hand, save your comments for a personal blog, your diary or conversation among friends, where they can be properly dissected and not affect the star/spoon/whatever rating that is supposed to indicate the quality of the product.

Thank you for your time.  Please reform your habits.

Sincerely,

Chelsea