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Delicious Living Blog

Recipe deal breakers

I read a funny article in the New York Times this morning, on what stops a person from making a recipe she or he reads in a magazine, cookbook, newspaper, etc. I could relate immediately; I'm a pretty experienced cook, but if a recipe calls for something too "out there" or fussy, I'll generally keep turning pages until I find something that immediately tells me "you can do this!" Things that give me pause are costly items that can't be found easily (specialized spices, truffle oil) or recipes that take several steps over multiple days.

Just the other day, Nancy (DL's editor in chief) remarked that she'd pass right over a certain upcoming DL recipe because it called for a habanero pepper, which rates superhigh on the heat scale and requires careful handling. I'm glad she pointed that out, because what makes one person avoid a recipe may make another embrace it; I'd likely make it BECAUSE it calls for habanero, which is unusual but easy to find. (I made an easy fix to the recipe by adding "or substitute a jalapeno if you want less heat.") In the NYTimes piece, one person says they won't truss a chicken; I've gotten around that by using silicone bands by Architec, which are wonderful for anything that usually requires kitchen string or toothpicks.

But once again, it made me wonder whether we're hitting the mark with DL recipes. My goal is to have a mix of recipes so that everyone can find something they like and will make, both easy dishes and things that might teach you something -- the bottom line, for me, is they need to be DELICIOUS and they should use real (healthy) food, not fake stuff. But we'll be taking up this issue at a staff meeting soon, so if you have recipe parameters that hit your sweet spot or things that annoy the heck out of you, let us know.

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