I was looking for a recipe for a salad to take to a neighborhood picnic this weekend. My all-time favorite recipe is for a cold spinach salad with sesame oil dressing but you have to blanch and chop about 6 pounds of spinach and I didn’t want to take the time for that. Instead I searched for similar recipes on the Internet and found one I liked at Epicurious.com. (If you’re interested, click here.)
I admit that when I’m trying a recipe for the first time, I follow the directions exactly. I want to see what the recipe is supposed to taste like before I start changing it. So it’s surprising to read how many cooks just start tossing in their own ingredients right from the start. Granted, most of them are probably better cooks than I am.
I did read the reviews because I never know when I’ll come across an idea for a blog post, and these reviewers did not disappoint.
First, most of the reviewers loved the recipe. They might have added an ingredient or two, but not enough to make something other than what the chef had in mind.
However, if you are reviewing and rating a recipe that you’ve changed, what, exactly are you reviewing? Is it great –or bad–because of your tweaks or in spite of them? One reviewer acknowledged this when he or she wrote: “At this point I’m no longer reviewing the original recipe, since all the modifications make this an entirely different salad.”
Another cook gave it a low, two-star (actually, two-forks) rating after making 8 (eight!) changes to this simple recipe. “I thought the salad wasn’t really memorable,” she wrote.
Maybe that’s because she forgot what the original recipe was supposed to be.