Can I make this without the ingredients?
October 6, 2014 1:00 PM   Subscribe

All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog is a list of, well, the most common comments on every recipe blog.
posted by GuyZero (191 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Yatzhee dice" for the win.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 1:08 PM on October 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


Mallory Ortberg p0wns Metafilter.
posted by gwint at 1:08 PM on October 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that few, if any, of these comments are actually all that common. It's just a hunch, mind you.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:09 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


“I just started Paleo yesterday, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make this without the ingredients.” was where the list really got me.

I worked at a Fancy Pants™ grocery store (in the same vein as Whole Foods) during college, and sweet jesus, we would get asked stuff like this all the time. It was paaaaainful.

I worked in Produce, and I would constantly get asked if certain fruits were low carb.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:10 PM on October 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


I dunno, Thorzdad; I read a bunch of recipe blogs and I have definitely seen many/most of these archetypes play out in the comments. Particularly the "I replaced every ingredient with something else and it came out terribly, 0/5 stars" kind.
posted by dorque at 1:11 PM on October 6, 2014 [62 favorites]


Basically everybody should read everything Mallory Ortberg writes every day, always, forever.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


Bakery workers routinely get asked if baguettes are vegetarian or gluten free. Buzzwords work, y'all.
posted by oceanjesse at 1:15 PM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]



Bakery workers routinely get asked if baguettes are vegetarian or gluten free.


this is the best one of those stories cause you can almost hear the guy saying it.

posted by The Whelk at 1:19 PM on October 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


All I had in the fridge was beer so I opened a beer and now I have a beer but I'm still hungry? Anyway 2 stars out of 5.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:19 PM on October 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


"Instead of cream I used rocks and instead of meat, I used nothing 0 stars."

"I've never made it but I hate tuna, 0 stars."

"Impossible to follow! What does "boiling" water even mean! Speak EnGlIsH sheesh 0 stars."
posted by The Whelk at 1:21 PM on October 6, 2014 [18 favorites]


My gas is turned off, can I bake it for six months at room temperature instead?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:22 PM on October 6, 2014 [43 favorites]


I was actually wondering the other day about the gender roles at play regarding the omnipresence of "Made this for hubby! He loved it!" comments.
posted by papayaninja at 1:22 PM on October 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that few, if any, of these comments are actually all that common. It's just a hunch, mind you.

Read this and see if you still think this is an exaggeration.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:23 PM on October 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


Thorzdad, these are comically exaggerated, but I have absolutely seen comments based on almost every single one of these examples.
posted by yasaman at 1:23 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I read a different article and now I'm offended. Flagged as inappropriate.
posted by ckape at 1:24 PM on October 6, 2014 [100 favorites]


I posted a recipe on Metafilter once, and received MeFi Mail that was almost exactly like this.
posted by penduluum at 1:25 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Speaking as an engineer I see no reason why you can't substitude cordial cherries for eggs.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:27 PM on October 6, 2014 [33 favorites]


Often I see the "made for hubby" comments describing how their SO is either picky or hard to cook for and thus this recipe is Good because it pleases said person.
posted by Carillon at 1:29 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Others have already addressed Thorzdad, but just for fun, I picked one of the recipes from my Pintrest (this one). Here are some choice examples:

Delicious. Multiple thoughts. ... 4. Add more yogurt. I added an extra couple of tablespoons, and my husband and I both agreed that we would have enjoyed even a little more. 5. Huge surprise - could not find garam masala at the store, which has just about everything! Even if I had found store spice, it would not have copied, necessarily, Aarti's flavor profile. So I just mixed a little bit of ground cinnamon, ground cloves and ground cardamom in a small bowl, took 1/2 teaspoon of it, and called it good. And it was good! Try to get the proportions right, and you'll be okay. Loved this dinner. Definitely will make again!

This was my first time making Saag. I followed the recipe exactly with only one change. I replaced the cheese with shrimp.

Although my paneer didnt stay as firm as we would have liked the dish was a big hit and I will make it again...I used both white and red onions and added a green chili in place of the serrano pepper... I have a two year old so we try not to make things too hot...it was very tasty...I think I will add more onions and garam masala to it the next time...seemed that the spices were not as pronounced..

And there were, in fact, similar comments on another I looked at ( this one), but they were mainly of the "Well, if you sub in X and Y it's great!" variety.

So no, not the majority of comments, but they will be there. Every. Single. Time.
posted by damayanti at 1:29 PM on October 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


I can't remember the site that got posted here, something like Pinterest Disasters? And the posts were exactly like this. "Well it said to use butter but all I had in the house was Crisco and it said to bake at 450 degrees but all I have is a microwave WORST RECIPE EVER WOULDN'T MAKE AGAIN."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:31 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm experimenting with molecular gastronomy at home. Can I substitute liquid nitrogen and manganese dioxide for the eggs and butter?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:33 PM on October 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


This was my first time making Saag. I followed the recipe exactly with only one change. I replaced the cheese with shrimp.


....what.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on October 6, 2014 [41 favorites]


The "made for hubby" comments are coded messages between cultists of the eldritch demon god Hhub-É, whose ire can only be appeased through offerings of salted caramel cake pops, cheddar-jalapeno cornbread muffins, etc
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:35 PM on October 6, 2014 [49 favorites]


I feel like I should be Anne Patron of the Toast.
posted by boo_radley at 1:40 PM on October 6, 2014


Empress Callipygos, at least one of the other commenters rightly call them out on that one.
posted by damayanti at 1:43 PM on October 6, 2014


I performed this ritual, but substituted egg. Resulting demon was feathery and kept pecking at me. 0 pentagrams, will not use again.
posted by ckape at 1:43 PM on October 6, 2014 [17 favorites]


I suspect the "made for hubby" comments are all posted by lonely delusional men who are trouble finding love because they believe wives should talk like that. They end up messaging their own dummy profiles on dating websites. For weeks.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:45 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


"I made this for the DH and even though it was ethnic, he never knew and ate all of it! A winner!!"
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:48 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I also assumed the "made for hubby" where elaborate fictions driven by delusional minds.

There was never any hubby. Not even one.

(Also the "traditional values" streak that run through some full-time cooking blogs. It's usually subtle but once you see it you can't unsee it)
posted by The Whelk at 1:48 PM on October 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


NB: a cat is not a hubby.
posted by bonehead at 1:50 PM on October 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


I think people underestimate the number of "traditional value" web users from "middle America" - the web isn't just laid-off NYC journalists and SF techies.
posted by GuyZero at 1:50 PM on October 6, 2014 [45 favorites]


"Well it said to use butter but all I had in the house was Crisco and it said to bake at 450 degrees but all I have is a microwave WORST RECIPE EVER WOULDN'T MAKE AGAIN.

Well, the Dunning–Kruger effect goes for cooking as well as every other human activity. Everybody who's a good cook knows when a recipe has to be followed to the lettre and which steps can be skipped or amended, what can be substituted as ingredient and what not.

Bad cooks know they need to follow the recipe.

Bad cooks who think they're good cooks end up with things like this.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:51 PM on October 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


no it's about 6 college friends as far as I can tell.
posted by The Whelk at 1:51 PM on October 6, 2014


"I ironically made this American Chop Suey recipe for my poly lifemate! He loved posting about it on Ello!"
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:55 PM on October 6, 2014 [35 favorites]


NB: a cat is not a hubby.

I made this for tabby. He loved it! Then he threw it up all over the couch and ate it again. Great recipe! Twice!
posted by The Bellman at 1:56 PM on October 6, 2014 [47 favorites]


this recipe fills a much-needed niche!
posted by bruce at 1:58 PM on October 6, 2014


"ran out of meat so substituted ground hubby and fed to tabby. success!"
posted by poffin boffin at 1:59 PM on October 6, 2014 [24 favorites]


SOMETHING SOMETHING GOOGLE WESTON A PRICE
posted by en forme de poire at 2:00 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


"ran out of meat so substituted ground tabby and fed to hubby. success!"
posted by marienbad at 2:01 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Tastes great!" "Less filling!"
posted by IndigoJones at 2:01 PM on October 6, 2014


“We don't have Thai red curry paste here in the south, so I made some with cayenne pepper and despair. What is it supposed to taste like? C–.”
posted by chinesefood at 2:06 PM on October 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


"I TOOK YOUR ADVICE AND ATE MY CAT AND MY HUSBAND. DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT HAVE I DONE. THIS RECIPE SUCKS. 1 STAR."
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:08 PM on October 6, 2014 [13 favorites]


"I think people underestimate the number of "traditional value" web users from "middle America""

I'm a stay-at-home mom in Peoria - I am like the intersection of "traditional" and "middle America" - and I honestly can't tell if I'm being mocked or defended.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:09 PM on October 6, 2014 [22 favorites]


Killing husband and feeding him to cat currently leads killing cat and feeding him to husband by four favorites to nil. Ecce MeFi. Updates as they occur.
posted by The Bellman at 2:10 PM on October 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


"fed recipe to galactus devourer of worlds but he is still hungry and now we're all going to die, would not make again"
posted by poffin boffin at 2:11 PM on October 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


"Hubby" is denoted by that word carved into the chest of whatever sobbing vagrant is tied to the dinner table that week.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:14 PM on October 6, 2014 [18 favorites]


I have neither a cat, nor a husband, so I killed my upstairs neighbor, and fed him to my ferret.

One star. Would not make again.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:14 PM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


I followed this recipe exactly, except instead of doing any of it I played video games for a couple hours.

It came out pretty well, except I'm still hungry. Next time I might try doubling the recipe.
posted by aubilenon at 2:14 PM on October 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


George_Spiggott: "Speaking as an engineer I see no reason why you can't substitude cordial cherries for eggs."

Speaking as a topologist I see no reason why you can't substitute Yahtzee dice for eggs.
posted by Splunge at 2:15 PM on October 6, 2014 [22 favorites]


Guys, it makes sense once you realize that "hubby" is common American slang for "Hubble", as in the space telescope. See? OK.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:16 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


“I just started Paleo yesterday, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to make this without the ingredients.”

For people incredulous that this exists I have a real life example. First big kid dinner party in my first apartment in college, I make sure to ask my 6 invited guests if they have any dietary restrictions, etc. I make spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. Roommate's coworker invites herself to it after overhearing roommate and roommate's (invited) friend discussing it. We'll call this person Kate.

-Kate shows up 3 hours early (again, to a party no one invited her to)
-Brings a loaf of bread
-Waits until everyone there and dinner is actually being served to tell us that she's gluten free and can't eat spaghetti (YOU BROUGHT BREAD)
-Then says she's vegetarian and can't eat the meat sauce
-We serve her literally a bowl of microwaved Ragu jar sauce as it's the only other food thing in the house
-Kate proceeds through the meal slurping jar sauce like it's soup exclaiming how delicious it is

...
posted by phunniemee at 2:19 PM on October 6, 2014 [79 favorites]


HAH, I totally missed that “heal your body through food” just links to <a href="some bullshit">
posted by en forme de poire at 2:19 PM on October 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


"Gentlemen, the almonds have been activated, you have 20 seconds to escape or may god have mercy on your souls."
posted by The Whelk at 2:21 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


phunniemee, is it possible she was a bird who had been enchanted into human form for the day?
posted by The Whelk at 2:23 PM on October 6, 2014 [26 favorites]


Kate brought real people food to share and ate her depressingly inadequate meal substitute with a good attitude? She's doing the I-have-impossible-dietary-restrictions thing like a mensch, you gotta give her that.
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:23 PM on October 6, 2014 [29 favorites]


Hannibal Lecter's recipe reviews "This is a workable method for preparing the meal but I find it works better if you replace the veal with a census worker."
posted by The Whelk at 2:26 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


SHE WAS NOT INVITED TO THE PARTY
WE DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH CHAIRS BECAUSE OF HER
ALSO IT WAS A LOAF OF BREAD NOT A LOAF OF BREAD
IT WAS WRONG
posted by phunniemee at 2:27 PM on October 6, 2014 [92 favorites]


This is SPOT on. Bravo.
posted by Vitamaster at 2:27 PM on October 6, 2014


"Speaking as an engineer I see no reason why you can't substitude cordial cherries for eggs."

Speaking as a topologist I see no reason why you can't substitute Yahtzee dice for eggs.


Speaking as a software developer, I see no reason why you can't use a template instead of hard-coding specific ingredients into the recipe.
posted by Foosnark at 2:27 PM on October 6, 2014 [41 favorites]


I can assure you those comments look very familiar to knitwear designers too.

"I didn't have any fingering-weight wool, so I used worsted-weight cotton. It came out way too big. This sucks"

"I don't knit. Can you make a crochet version of this?"

"I don't like knitting cables, so I replaced the stitch pattern with moss stitch and it turned out awful. I want a refund."

"I don't like that shade of blue. You need to make a red version. i'd buy the pattern if this was a different colour"

"I LOVE the pattern, but I am going to make it sleeveless, top-down, in the round, with a cable in the front, no waist shaping and no ribbing."

Etc.
posted by kariebookish at 2:31 PM on October 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


IT WAS COLLEGE YOU AIN'T THE ONLY PERSON FIGURING OUT DINING PARTY ETIQUETTE
SHE JUST WANTED TO HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH SOME PEOPLE MAN
posted by boo_radley at 2:31 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is SPOT on. Bravo.

It is also shockingly like what is on Bravo these days.
posted by srboisvert at 2:33 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a software developer

Updates Since Scrambled Eggs 2.2:

- fixed issue where pans overflowed when ostrich eggs were used in place of chicken eggs
- prevent user from using eggs blended with shells instead of separating shells
- resolved cooktop Fahrenheit-Celsius conversion issue
- resolved issue of cooktime to adjust to user's local planetary time basis; eggs no longer cook for 32 months on Europa
- previous avian-only egg restriction has been loosened to allow turtle & alligator eggs
posted by GuyZero at 2:35 PM on October 6, 2014 [73 favorites]




Guy: CONFIRMED ISSUE (QA #955) any egg with double yolks causes stove to explode.

please address asap
posted by boo_radley at 2:38 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was actually wondering the other day about the gender roles at play regarding the omnipresence of "Made this for hubby! He loved it!" comments.

Make Your Hobby Hubby!
posted by JanetLand at 2:38 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


The one that I have seen multiple times and can never get over is people who say, "Didn't have any tomato sauce in the house so I used ketchup."

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding.

(No, no they are not, as they always go on to complain that the consistency came out wrong and the recipe was too sweet.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:49 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I work with a large number of women who refer to their husbands as "hubby." It makes me wince. And they absolutely say things like "I made this fabulous casserole for the hubby (or "the hub" or "my hubby") last night! You've got to try it!"

I wish I were kidding.
posted by tzikeh at 2:54 PM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


I didn't have any "fettuccine" in the house so I used a mixture of egg and flour and worked this mixture into a sort of dough and I set the dough aside to rest and then I got the dough back out and divided it into portions and I put the dough through a "pasta machine" a number of times and used some other equipment and made the dough into "fettuccine" which I used except I didn't have any flour or egg or a pasta machine I just used pieces of linguine which I split down the middle and then glued back together side by side so they were flatter and wider, it was okay but I think this recipe would benefit from added salt.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on October 6, 2014 [19 favorites]


Hubby is better than DH. Like, loads better.
posted by phunniemee at 2:58 PM on October 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


I used to say "hubby"! Basically because I saw other people do it and I derive all my colloquial English from the internet.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:59 PM on October 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


I've seen "bought this for hubby and he said it was great" reviews on Amazon and I always worry that the product is bad, but hubby is just too polite to say anything.

But thanks to this thread, I will now worry that there is some kind of Norman Bates thing going on.
posted by a dangerous ruin at 2:59 PM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


"Made this on the grill. Am a man. A manly man who cooks. Cooked this. Can't use pronouns. For ladies. Can't use subjects in sentences. Tasted pretty good."
posted by Hypatia at 2:59 PM on October 6, 2014 [23 favorites]


How would you even say DH aloud? Dee Aitch or DUH?
posted by poffin boffin at 3:00 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just pretend "DH" stands for "dickhead" and enjoy a little private amusement for yourself.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:00 PM on October 6, 2014 [33 favorites]


i mean either one is terrible so there is no good answer obvsly
posted by poffin boffin at 3:00 PM on October 6, 2014


How would you even say DH aloud?

In the National League we pronounce it "pitcher".
posted by davidjmcgee at 3:00 PM on October 6, 2014 [63 favorites]


I hubbied the eggs and tabbied the flour and used splenda instead of sugar, but my ds and dd and dh didn't like it, but I don't belong to book club anyway.
posted by xingcat at 3:01 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


> "I'll admit I've trolled recipe sites."

I've seen worse.
posted by kyrademon at 3:03 PM on October 6, 2014


All these acronyms ..you'd think they're into bondage or something


(they all meant to type "bunny" very nice meals for happy rabbit friends.)
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on October 6, 2014


My general impression of the comments on EatingWell are that they are either (a) People who do things like double the butter and add cheese, bacon, and a tub of sour cream and think the recipe is great, (b) People who were disappointed because they thought the recipe was bland, and (c) People who think that the people in (b) must be cigarette smokers who can't taste anything.
posted by amarynth at 3:13 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


It used to be part of my job to read every comment posted on every recipe at CHOW.com.

This article really needed a Trigger Warning.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:17 PM on October 6, 2014 [20 favorites]


it was okay but I think this recipe would benefit from added salt

Sure, if you don't care about the warranty on your pots.
posted by The Bellman at 3:17 PM on October 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


In the National League we pronounce it "pitcher".

Yes, the DH is right up there with other Crimes Against God, Nature, and Humanity. As should be the use of the term "Hubby", its counterpart "Wifey", and the infantile "Veggie" to refer to proud vegetable comestibles.

Also the horribly ubiquitous use of the word "generous" in recipes. Formerly made me quite stabby, but I try now to limit it to a mild sneer and just move along.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:20 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'll take a hubby or a DH any day over what my dear sister calls my brother in law.....he's her "hubster."

Why, yes, she is painfully white, why do you ask?
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 3:24 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I do not have access to human pancreas or kidney. Are sweetbreads and lamb's kidney an acceptable substitute?

Also, I feel that I am too tall to wear a full Windsor. Is a half-Windsor appropriate, or should I switch to a bow tie?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:26 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


The illustration accompanying this article made me think of Ina just cut and pasting, "It's because you didn't use good <ingredient>."
posted by ob1quixote at 3:27 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


How would you even say DH aloud? Dee Aitch or DUH?

DELL-tuh hoe-TELL
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:27 PM on October 6, 2014 [11 favorites]


...it just occurs to me that the counterpart might then be Bravo Whiskey, and I might start calling biscotti that until I require correction.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:29 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


should I switch to a bow tie?

Bow ties ensure you end up in the stew not eating it. A schoolboy knot is always acceptable in a pinch.
posted by The Whelk at 3:38 PM on October 6, 2014


How would you even say DH aloud? Dee Aitch or DUH?

This question made me realize that I always sound out the entire "dear husband" (or "dear son" or "dear daughter") in my head when I see it used in that context, but say "Dee Aitch" when the context is baseball.
posted by jaguar at 3:53 PM on October 6, 2014


"Bravo Whiskey" sounds like how I regard Booker's
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:53 PM on October 6, 2014


Celsius1414: "In the National League we pronounce it "pitcher".

Yes, the DH is right up there with other Crimes Against God, Nature, and Humanity. As should be the use of the term "Hubby", its counterpart "Wifey", and the infantile "Veggie" to refer to proud vegetable comestibles.

Also the horribly ubiquitous use of the word "generous" in recipes. Formerly made me quite stabby, but I try now to limit it to a mild sneer and just move along.
"

Or the word "veg". It sounds too much like Reg. Which is overly familiar even for a side dish.
posted by Splunge at 3:58 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Ug, I hate "veg". I only heard/saw people using "veg" to mean "vegetables" after I heard/saw people using "vag" so they remind of each other. I'm also bothered by shortening a plural noun into a non-plural noun.

I do use "hubby" in a way that's becoming more non-ironic all the time, just because "husband" feels way too formal for most situations.
posted by bleep at 4:14 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


On the subject of the hubby comments, I get what you're saying and why you're saying it, but on the other side of that coin it doesn't seem right to mock people just because they want to please their significant other. We talk about gender roles but a part of a gay male couple could also be saying "Made this for the hubby", I mean, it does happen. I just don't see anything inherently wrong with wanting to please your spouse, regardless of gender, and being proud when you do something that they like. Doesn't mean you have to be on your knees begging (unless, of course, you're into that) for their approval.
posted by DriftingLotus at 4:16 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Wanting to please your partner is fine. Not being able to write a review of your own opinion without centering it on your husband's preferences is not so fine.
posted by jaguar at 4:25 PM on October 6, 2014 [10 favorites]


No look I'm sorry but veggie is worse than veg. I'm not 2, you don't need to talk down to me. It's like couples who talk in baby talk to each other at dinner. Cute when you're home alone maybe, but you're out in public with another couple! Why are you subjecting me to this?

Veggie is bad, burn it with a fire of a thousand suns.
posted by Carillon at 4:26 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Especially because the "DH" comments are usually very nonhelpful. "My husband usually hates food but he liked this!" doesn't really give me any insight into how a recipe is going to turn out. "I thought it turned out perfecly; my husband thought it could use a bit more turmeric" would at least be a reasonable review.
posted by jaguar at 4:27 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have a few recipes out there in the wild that have gotten a fair number of comments, and it's shocking how many people expect you to drop everything and retool your recipe for something completely different. A recipe explicitly for leftovers will get someone asking how to make it with fresh ingredients (well, it's a two day process, but...), or asking if they can try it with something else (NO YOU MAY NOT I HAVE CALLED THE POLICE).

I recently had someone in real life insisting I was holding something out on her with my pot roast instructions, but it turned out that she figured that she could just cook it at twice the heat for half the time, which: If that worked, why wouldn't I have done it that way in the first place? THINK.

Fortunately I haven't seen many 'hubby' comments on mine, because that stuff really puts me in a funk. (And the issue is that it's ALWAYS 'hubby,' never 'wifey,' and all too often, the main point is that the 'hubby' in question eats like a fussy toddler.
posted by ernielundquist at 4:28 PM on October 6, 2014 [15 favorites]


Especially because the "DH" comments are usually very nonhelpful. "My husband usually hates food but he liked this!" doesn't really give me any insight into how a recipe is going to turn out. "I thought it turned out perfecly; my husband thought it could use a bit more turmeric" would at least be a reasonable review.

I'm guessing people that write those don't necessarily consider that they're trying to help other people, they're just writing about their pleasure with the recipe.

Wanting to please your partner is fine. Not being able to write a review of your own opinion without centering it on your husband's preferences is not so fine.

I read a lot of recipe comments that are similar, but about their children. "My kids loved this!", and I notice it doesn't get the same kind of hate as 'hubby'. I'm a feminist as much as the next person, but I strongly believe an important part of being a feminist is being allowed the choice of how to act. Perhaps some women find that sort of thing more fulfilling.

I don't know. I think that on one hand it probably could be a testament to the state of things in our society even at this day and age, but on the other hand I think we might just be over thinking it a bit.

I know, I'm playing Devil's Advocate here.
posted by DriftingLotus at 4:33 PM on October 6, 2014


Veggie is bad, burn it with a fire of a thousand suns.

I don't have a thousand suns, can I nuke it a thousand times in my microwave?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:35 PM on October 6, 2014 [40 favorites]


What I hate are the really highly rated, extremely popular recipes that actually rate a modified version of the recipe. So you have to go through the comments and figure out which is the popular and tested modification that everyone is raving about.
posted by whoaali at 4:38 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


As a guy in a dual guy marriage I hate all the possible honorifics land revert to the bureaucratic sounding SO out of desperation.

I mean why can't I refer to him as consort?
posted by The Whelk at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


"First gentleman of the bedchamber"
posted by The Whelk at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


"My wife berated me for using any recipe that calls for premade breadcrumbs and now I'm homeless, halp."

You have to understand a cuisine before you can make substitutions! The comments I see on Indian recipes are particularly heinous. No, you can't replace every named spice with store-bought "curry powder" and still expect it to come out OK.

People have done great violence to my pumpkin curry recipe, to the point that I don't like sharing it anymore.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:49 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was following a beef stroganoff recipe the other day and out of curiosity, read the comments. One strangely pissed off commenter was accusing the recipe author of trying to give everyone heart disease and had they considered not recommending the use of sour cream and butter and so many carbs?

Yeah recipe blogs are not at all exempt from the "don't read the comments" rule of interneting.
posted by olinerd at 4:50 PM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's generally accepted that kids are fussy. Getting kids to eat decent food is often hard. I think it is generally helpful to mention if something seems to be kid-friendly.

The indulgent "Oh, hahaha, my husband eats like a toddler, so even though I spend my days looking for recipes and trying to please my family, he still complains!" crap is what annoys me, and it's not the wives (wifies?) at whom I'm annoyed.
posted by jaguar at 4:51 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Prince Philip is Consort to the Queen of England. Seems like a reasonable title for any sort of pairing.
posted by autopilot at 5:02 PM on October 6, 2014


Obviously.
posted by The Whelk at 5:09 PM on October 6, 2014



People have done great violence to my pumpkin curry recipe, to the point that I don't like sharing it anymore.


YES most of the time now if I share a recipe I'm like "by accepting this recipe you agree to the following terms: on no account must you tell me of changes or substitutions you have made; you may not blame me for disasters incurred from such changes or substitutions; and if you give the changed recipe to someone else you may not say it came from me" and since I have spent the last 35 years being weird as fuck no one really questions it.

pro tip: be weird and get shit done
posted by poffin boffin at 5:31 PM on October 6, 2014 [18 favorites]


Wait, who the hell is against the DH? Communists, that's who. Dingers are American and getting an aging slugger up to the dish to smash one more meatball into the cheap seats is what God intended sports to be, not watching a guy with a .189 lifetime average try to lay down a bunt and get thrown out.

God, I'm hungry, where's my wifey?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 5:33 PM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


"Made this dish for wifey. She's usually really picky and difficult to please but she said she loved it!"

Sigh.
posted by erlking at 5:33 PM on October 6, 2014


Speaking as a software developer, I see no reason why you can't use a template instead of hard-coding specific ingredients into the recipe.

Not to be That Guy too much but Modernist Cuisine pioneered a new method of recording recipes that's kind of like this. They call them parametric recipes. Kind of similar to the baker's percentages that you'll see in pro-level baking recipes. Recipes. Recipes. Recipes. Where was I? Oh yes.

Basically, what they do is work out a method for making a style of thing, work out a template of steps, and give a chart of the various ingredients you can use; some ingredients will tell you to omit one or two steps, maybe. I think (if this style can be mainstreamed more) this could be a great help for people who want to substitute things. Certainly makes scaling recipes up or down a lot simpler.

All that said, the people who substitute everything would be far better served by looking for recipes that include some/most/all of what they actually have on hand. I'm kind of continually baffled as to why they don't do this.

Prince Philip is Consort to the Queen of England.

Er no he's Prince Consort to the Queen of the UK of England, Scotland, N. Ireland. England hasn't had a monarch since 1707.

posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:45 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mark Bittman was on All Things Considered the other night promoting his new cookbook. The host called him out because when she tried his chicken parm recipe, it took twice as long to cook. "Did you slice the breasts in half like it says in the recipe?" "No..." Bittman has the patience of a saint.
posted by one_bean at 6:00 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


Can I beanplate this without the beans?
posted by madcaptenor at 6:15 PM on October 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


This is totally spot on. People substitute and omit ingredients all the time and seem to feel completely comfortable to complain about it. WEIRD. If they can't follow a recipe how do they human?

And the DH and hubby thing makes me hate you instantly. Why can't they substitute DH with sour cream?
posted by futz at 6:16 PM on October 6, 2014


Substituted donkey sauce for mayo. Did not even make it halfway to FlavorTown. Z-
posted by dr_dank at 6:21 PM on October 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


Substituted donkey sauce for mayo, Kate loved it!
posted by batfish at 6:37 PM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


This must be the worst Google fail ever, but isn't there a whole series of "All the comments on every..." that have also shown up here? I think maybe comments on an article about women's pubic hair was one? If not, I have a bunch of follow-up articles to write.

For the record, I think the comments on Smitten Kitchen are a rare exception. Older recipes can have a billion comments but I usually find some really helpful info in them.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:47 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


I found I was spending a lot of time baking cakes, so as a software developer, I abstracted the process into a really simple framework. All I had to do was import the base ingredients and then pass in whatever flavor profile I wanted to the constructor.

I found this made me terribly more efficient and productive, increased the performance of the end solution and decreased the incidence of user error and software failure. The mean time to determine root cause of problems was also reduced.

So this framework was really good, and I offloaded it to github. But then one of my team forked it and started trying to adapt it to make pies. This worked relatively well, you had to add in a few extra arguments to the factory object when you wanted to instantiate your constructors. He also added in a properties system that let you alter the main ingredients of each pie just before you put the final crust on and shipped it to the build system for baking.

It was a good set of changes, so I accepted the push request and merged.

Then we had a user story that involved deep fried fruit pies, so we altered the framework again to support multiple build systems with variable arguments to control the necessary changes in temperature and support infrastructures. And one of our team had a couple of extra hours in the iteration, so they were able to implement a stretch feature that supported using multiple types of frying media for different frying times and crust texture outputs.

Then the sales guy had a great lead on a customer that really wanted to mass produce chicken and waffles. So we extended the framework yet again, and enhanced the properties system to use a nosql backend instead of a flat file, and added a REST based web interface for configuration management and error tracking and reporting. We also added in a feature to automatically update the customer's Tumblr account at the end of each production cycle with a photo of the relevant product.

But I've been looking at the code again, and starting any kind of new project now requires managing six layers of abstract objects and class dependencies in order to prepare a single cake for the build system. And I've really been admiring a lot of the work people have been doing with artisanal sourdough bread and homemade brick ovens.

So I've started work on a new framework that should make everything really easy.

But this recipe you've posted for handmade chorizo doesn't appear to work if you substitute ground turkey and leeks for the main ingredients. So I think you need to work on it some more, maybe extend the documentation to show a wider variety of design patterns...
posted by jefflowrey at 6:48 PM on October 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


She missed my most hated recipe comment: "This looks delicious, I'm going to make it tonight!"

What a fucking waste of space comment-asshole! Now I have to wade through 400 of you saying, "I like the idea of this recipe and am trying to ingratiate myself to the author of this blog" to find one fucking person who can comment on whether the recipe actually works, and invariably, that one person who is commenting on the actual follow-through of the recipe is saying, "Can I make this without any of the ingredients?"

And another thing, before you even get to the comments, you have to wade through 30 giant-sized photos of someone whisking eggs. If you don't know what whisking an egg is supposed to look like, and you can't google image search "whisk egg", then you shouldn't be getting recipe advice you should be taking a cooking 101 class at the Learning Annex.

I fucking hate food blogs.
posted by latkes at 6:53 PM on October 6, 2014 [16 favorites]


Room 641-A: This must be the worst Google fail ever, but isn't there a whole series of "All the comments on every..." that have also shown up here? I think maybe comments on an article about women's pubic hair was one?

Here you go: The Comment Section for Every Article Ever Written About Intimate Grooming. One of my favourite MeFi threads of all time!

Note: halfway through the discussion, someone links to an actual Metafilter FPP about pubic hair...the resemblance to the Toast piece is eerie.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:01 PM on October 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'll take a hubby or a DH any day over what my dear sister calls my brother in law.....he's her "hubster."

Is he... is he a lobster?
posted by jason_steakums at 7:07 PM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bittman has the patience of a saint.

Yeah, not so much, really.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:12 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Thanks, hurdy gurdy girl! And links to the others are at the end of the article.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:15 PM on October 6, 2014


Is he... is he a lobster?

wow, super offensive, the correct term is crustacean-american
posted by poffin boffin at 7:22 PM on October 6, 2014 [20 favorites]


My pet peeve is when the fact a two year old approves of a recipe is supposed to be a ringing endorsement. Kids that age are so fickle that even if I wanted to feed it to my imaginary child the fact that another two year old likes it means almost nothing.
posted by Aranquis at 7:25 PM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]


I am OK with veg and veggie as a short form for vegetable, but veggie as a short form for vegetarian, as in "Is it veggie?" or "I've been veggie for a few years now" provokes instant rage-filled GOML-ing from me, and I can't put my finger on why.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:32 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the dreaded "curry powder". Many years ago I was seeing a woman whose granddaughter had just overcome cancer. So she and I decided to throw a fuck you cancer party. We rented a hall and invited all of her doctors, nurses etc. And of course all family and friends. Back then I would make my own curry powder from whole spices and toast and grind them myself.

My SO (ahhh!) was Jewish and we decided to call it Richowitz's Curry Mixture.

Long story short, I made a vegetable curry for the party while she made her meaty stuff.

The party comes around and everyone is eating and cursing cancer. An Indian couple comes up to me while I'm dishing the curry out and says, "This is the best curry we have ever tasted."

The hubby (ahhhh!) was her cancer surgeon. To this day I have never forgotten the thrill that gave me.
posted by Splunge at 7:34 PM on October 6, 2014 [14 favorites]


Saying "the kids love it" is saying it tastes like something that kids would eat, which means you have failed as a parent because that's when you should be feeding your kids all sorts of awful shit in an effort to make them less hubristic and high-maintenance when they grow up.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:34 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


I once saw a toddler eat an ice cream scoop that had fallen out of its cone and onto a dog poop on the sidewalk. They are no more sensible arbiters of taste than are small frightened sea cucumbers.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:39 PM on October 6, 2014 [21 favorites]


Or saying "the kids love it" is saying, "Thank God, Jesus and all the fucking saints I finally found something the little bastards will eat!"
posted by Splunge at 7:39 PM on October 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


"The kids love it" should only ever be heard at the end of several days where they have refused to eat the food you have prepared for them and have just finally relented in order to stop their delicate little bodies from reverse-growing.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:43 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


but veggie as a short form for vegetarian, as in "Is it veggie?" or "I've been veggie for a few years now" provokes instant rage-filled GOML-ing from me, and I can't put my finger on why.


Because it sounds like they're in long-term rehab for a traumatic brain injury?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:43 PM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


As a guy in a dual guy marriage I hate all the possible honorifics land revert to the bureaucratic sounding SO out of desperation.

Maybe you could both refer to each other only as "my lord and husband?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:50 PM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


We would also accept, "Hey you. Where is my beer?"
posted by Splunge at 8:53 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


you should be feeding your kids all sorts of awful shit in an effort to make them less hubristic and high-maintenance when they grow up.

I am living proof this does not work.
posted by The Whelk at 8:54 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]



Maybe you could both refer to each other only as "my lord and husband?"

It's going to "first among men" if I have any say in it.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


And the issue is that it's ALWAYS 'hubby,' never 'wifey,' and all too often, the main point is that the 'hubby' in question eats like a fussy toddler.

Yeah, but when it IS the other way around it's delightful. One of my favorite YouTube cooking channels is a Jamaican cooking channel run by a dude who, eighty percent of the time, is cooking these amazing meals for his wife. In one, he spends an entire video whispering because he got up early to surprise her with a nice breakfast and it's amazing.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:03 PM on October 6, 2014 [8 favorites]


Yeah, but when it IS the other way around it's delightful.

But it's not equal, most of the time. Women trying to please their husbands seem, generally, to be working to suppress their own tastes or preferences to lower themselves to their husbands' level. Men trying to please their wives seem to assume that whatever they like, their wives will appreciate.
posted by jaguar at 9:17 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah recipe blogs are not at all exempt from the "don't read the comments" rule of interneting.

This is only true until you get the recipe where the comments say "This is wonderful except I am pretty sure you typoed the measurements for the salt. But if you use about a twentieth of what's listed, it's great! Five stars!"
posted by rifflesby at 10:35 PM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]


I have created this list of two "fundamental" home cook recipe fallacies on the spot. I say that because I hoped to have a longer list but I made up for it in word count:

1) The "all recipes are just templates to achieving some rough culinary goal with which substitutions of nearly any kind are welcome" fallacy. It's only a fallacy if one specifically calls attention to their opinion of the recipe without having followed it. Some substitutions are less drastic than others, certainly.

The real culinary goal is to create whatever the recipe intends to create, specifically by way of that particular recipe, especially if one is posting it with the intent of having it reviewed. Especially when it's a standard or known fare like lasagna or beef wellington or mussels and white wine sauce where people may have had a dozen variations or more in their lives, and are judging the merits of the recipe based on some loose arrangement of criteria surrounding that dish.

There is nothing wrong with making any substitutions you wish, but you can't judge the original recipe or its choice of original ingredients insofar as they combine in the recipe (roughly 50% of the recipe's relevant "content" is the ingredient list) when making any substitutions. In other words, a billion people are free to make a billion modifications of the same recipe and that's great, but I want to hear negative or positive reviews from the ones who executed the original one with pretty decent technique (if I can rely on their review) specifically to try The Recipe. Usually substitute-and-review folks end up committing other fallacies listed here though it is still possible to make knowledgeable substitutions and/or evaluate the recipe on other merits, like complexity based on following the other 95% or so of the recipe.

2) The "I don't understand mise en place and/or have any knife skills and/or know how to sear, boil, scald, etc" fallacy. So you end up burning a bunch of garlic, failing to heat a pan hot enough to cook a cut of meat, over-boiling the pasta with under-salted water, etc.

"Mise en place" is not intuitive and sounds snobby, but once it's spelled out to you, in my case by Alton Brown in a book of his I bought seemingly forever ago, it makes perfect sense -- when following a recipe, do the thing they do on cooking shows and prepare all of your ingredients in little bowls or piles on a cutting board, observing proper cross-contamination guidelines... That's it -- just by having your chopping and mincing and grinding and such done ahead of time, you avoid inadvertent overcooking or inattentive cooking at the expense of having a few more dishes.

If your knives are dull or you're uncomfortable cutting vegetables, then any chopping components become arduous death marches of drudgery. If you remedy both issues it will be a more positive experience and will go much more quickly.

If your recipe is vague in the slightest, which doesn't mean "I don't recognize any words" but rather "I'm not sure what it means by scald" then make a list of anything you're uncertain about and Google That Stuff. It's a pain in the ass but once you're laying down $5-20 on ingredients for dinner regularly you don't want to waste that nice cut of fish or whatever.
posted by aydeejones at 11:10 PM on October 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


But it's not equal, most of the time. Women trying to please their husbands seem, generally, to be working to suppress their own tastes or preferences to lower themselves to their husbands' level. Men trying to please their wives seem to assume that whatever they like, their wives will appreciate.

Goddamn, but that is a lot of judgement and assumption.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:29 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


This is only true until you get the recipe where the comments say "This is wonderful except I am pretty sure you typoed the measurements for the salt. But if you use about a twentieth of what's listed, it's great! Five stars!"

9 times out of 10, these people are using table salt in a recipe designed with kosher salt.

If they're just using a different kosher salt than the recipe righter they'd only need to cut it down by half.

It wildly irritates me how many sites and books don't specify what kind of salt they're using in their recipes when the results are so incredibly variable depending on the structure of the salt.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:41 AM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


The one that I have seen multiple times and can never get over is people who say, "Didn't have any tomato sauce in the house so I used ketchup."

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding.


Okay, Eyebrows, but some of them could've been Australian or British! They use them interchangeably. It's weird. To the point when I make an American recipe here in Sydney, I have to stop and think which one they're actually asking for. (Sometimes with things like meatloaf, it could be either one.)
posted by web-goddess at 4:42 AM on October 7, 2014


One of my favorite YouTube cooking channels

And yet no link...
posted by MartinWisse at 5:10 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


What is tomato sauce? Is it passata?
posted by asok at 5:18 AM on October 7, 2014


Ok, honest question about the saag: Yeah, I get it, changing a major ingredient and dissing the recipe because it didn't come out right is a big no-no, but making fun of the entire concept of switching the paneer for prawn...so s/he didn't make saag paneer, but instead saag prawn. The saag is the same, isn't it? Like "I made the pizza according to recipe, but I swapped out the pepperoni for Italian sausage", that wouldn't get a lot of guffaws. Does saag work differently? Do you spice the saag in saag paneer differently than the saag in saag prawn?

(Yes, I realize that "saag" is probably literally just "spinach", but the non-prawn part of saag prawn has always tasted and looked to me identical to the non-paneer part of saag paneer, so I'm using "saag" to refer to that part of the dish)
posted by Bugbread at 6:20 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking only for myself - the thrust of my reaction to the "prawns for cheese" substitution came more from a genuine befuddlement because cheese and prawns are nothing alike even in terms of what category of food they are.

I actually can buy substituting Italian sausage for pepperoni because both of those things are ground meat shoved into a tube, so they're kind of...equivalent in my mind. But cheese and prawns....no. To my mind that's like someone saying "I painted my house, but instead of paint I used inner tubes".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


Good point. "I swapped the pepperoni for mushrooms and black olives" might be a better example.
posted by Bugbread at 6:31 AM on October 7, 2014


If you look at the comments, though, the reason it was called out was not just "I swapped the cheese for prawns", but because they then went on to say that it wasn't the same. It'd be like someone saying "I swapped the pepperoni for mushrooms, but....I dunno, it didn't quite taste meaty enough".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on October 7, 2014


Things I learned from this thread:

1. People should invent some kind of Creative Commons license for recipes that forbids changing anything, as this will inevitably result into total foodie meltdown.

2. Telling people you like their food is brutish and wastes precious intertubes bits.

3. The words "hubby" and "wifey" are used outside of pr0n video descriptions.
posted by pseudocode at 7:00 AM on October 7, 2014


and also that the whelk is probably related to one of the princes in the tower
posted by poffin boffin at 7:13 AM on October 7, 2014


My pet peeve is when the fact a two year old approves of a recipe is supposed to be a ringing endorsement.

"I followed the recipe exactly as written, with no substitutions or alterations. Then I added ketchup. Lots of ketchup. The kidster loved it!"
posted by Panjandrum at 7:24 AM on October 7, 2014


I thought The Whelk was the prince who wants to buy you rockets, not the one with diamonds in his pockets?
posted by Panjandrum at 7:26 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Well, thank you for that, Panjandrum. Now I have to go jam a knitting needle into my ear.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:29 AM on October 7, 2014


Goddamn, but that is a lot of judgement and assumption.

I should have qualified it with "In regards to people making comments about recipes online," but I absolutely stand behind it in that context.
posted by jaguar at 7:34 AM on October 7, 2014


> "I swapped the pepperoni for mushrooms and black olives" might be a better example.

It's an excellent example, because without additional instructions that substitution won't work. The pizza will be far too watery. Most watery vegetables should be prepared for pizza in some way before topping, but it's especially important for mushrooms, which are 90% water. Salt them, roast them, sautee them, but if you add them raw you'll have soup.
posted by gilrain at 7:42 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: be weird and get shit done.

Seriously, I want this on a T-shirt.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:56 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Telling people you like their food is brutish and wastes precious intertubes bits

Maybe I'm sounding like an asshole, but it would be great with me if people were posting that they actually made the recipe and they liked it. That confirms to me that the recipe is worth making. But when I find a recipe online and the only comments are "I would like to make this", and I spend 10 minutes skimming through trying to find any helpful information like, "I made this and it worked" or "I made this, following the recipe, and it did not work", I am irritated.
posted by latkes at 8:28 AM on October 7, 2014


The "NEVER SEAR ANYTHING YOU WILL GET CANCER" ones always make me laugh because you have to imagine a person clicking through lists of recipes they will never make, putting up warnings no one wants while they eat their sad plate of boiled carrots.
posted by Ferreous at 8:53 AM on October 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


Now I have to go jam a knitting needle into my ear.

♫ Just go ahead now ♫
posted by Panjandrum at 9:29 AM on October 7, 2014 [6 favorites]


you are history's greatest monster
posted by poffin boffin at 9:38 AM on October 7, 2014 [8 favorites]


Just thought of another analogy for why it feels weird to substitute cheese for prawns. (No, I haven't been thinking I need to justify this; this has just been an interesting intellectual exercise.)

This kind of reminds me of a question an old roommate wondered aloud once, as he was sewing a patch on his jeans (which had been repatched several times already) - if you have a garment that you have patched and repatched in different places a number of times, and keep repatching, is there a point past which you no longer have the original garment, but rather an entirely new garment which was made piecemeal out of patches? It's kind of an angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin kind of argument, but I think that there is, yeah.

Same too with substitution in a recipe. There are some things that you can substitute one for the other - sausage for pepperoni, for instance. Or I've used kielbasa in place of andouille for a jambalaya recipe, and have used parsnips in place of turnips in a vegetable hand pie recipe. Those are all things that sort of feel like the culinary equivalent of a single patch on a pair of jeans - a replacement/standin, to be sure, but still at least in the same category of thing (even though I suspect some folks in New Orleans would scream upon hearing I've used kielbasa in jambalaya).

However, I also think there's a point at which the number of ingredients you're substituting is too great for you to call it the same recipe - and, I also think there's a point at which a single ingredient can be too different from the original you're substituting for you to call it the same recipe. No one would call a veggie burger and a hamburger exactly the same thing, for instance, because ground beef and....whatever veggie burgers are made of are not the same thing.

Which is I think why my brain stopped short at that particular substitution - because cheese and prawns are so different, that I was surprised that the person who attempted that even considered it to be an equitable substitution. And it sounds like the entire Indian culinary tradition bears me out, if Saag paneer and saag prawn are considered to be two entirely distinct dishes.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:06 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's kind of an angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin kind of argument

it's theseus' paradox.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:15 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Depends though if saag paneer and saag prawns are different in the way pepperoni pizza and sausage pizza are different.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:16 AM on October 7, 2014


It sounds to me more like if someone commented on a grilled cheese sandwich recipe with dubiously-useful feedback on the tuna sandwich they wound up making instead.
posted by gilrain at 10:19 AM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


is there a point past which you no longer have the original garment, but rather an entirely new garment which was made piecemeal out of patches?

It's the grandfather's axe!

Years ago, the delightful and talented DiscourseMarker gave me a recipe for Norwegian Gingerbread, which actually tasted of ginger, instead of the vague brown flavor of most American gingerbread. I wanted to up the ginger, so I replaced the powdered ginger with fresh, so it wouldn't have that metallic flavor so many powdered gingers get. Which worked, but the flavor faded quickly, so I added some powdered ginger back in to make it spicier and make the flavor last longer. A coworker had milk issues, so I traded in soy butter and milk (which sours nicely with vinegar, by the way). Then a vegan wanted some, so I swapped in applesauce for the eggs. The texture changed a bit, but the gingerbread was still recognizable. Lastly, a vegan friend developed a gluten intolerance, and I figured out how to swap out the flour. This left a little powdered ginger and some sugar as the only original ingredients. I guess I could have found a different sweetener. Hmmmm. Back to the lab, I still have ingredients to swap!!!!
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:34 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing that is so baffling about the saag paneer example is that she substituted shrimp for paneer, and then declared that it felt like "something was missing."

Of course something was missing! PANEER!


I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:36 AM on October 7, 2014 [4 favorites]


Maybe you could both refer to each other only as "my lord and husband?"

I call my husband this but only when I want something from him, like for him to get me a beer while I sit on the couch commenting on Metafilter.
posted by KathrynT at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


gilrain: "> "I swapped the pepperoni for mushrooms and black olives" might be a better example.

It's an excellent example, because without additional instructions that substitution won't work. The pizza will be far too watery. Most watery vegetables should be prepared for pizza in some way before topping, but it's especially important for mushrooms, which are 90% water. Salt them, roast them, sautee them, but if you add them raw you'll have soup.
"

I came up with a perfect solution to this very problem. Never put mushrooms on pizza. NEVER!
posted by Splunge at 1:03 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I wasn't trying to challenge the weirdness of the cheese-prawn swap, I was just wondering if there was a specific "that'll fuck up your saag" reason. Like exactly what gilrain was saying, about pizza, that even though the pizza part is identical, if you straight swap mushrooms for pepperoni you're going to have a watery mess, and different steps need to be taken before using mushrooms. So does anyone who knows saag know what the saag equivalent is? "The brine content of the shrimp washes out the cumin, so when using shrimp you need to up the cumin and reduce the amount of yogurt", that kind of thing.
posted by Bugbread at 2:30 PM on October 7, 2014


There are recipes for straight up Saag Prawn and the comments on that post are, well, exactly what you'd expect...

tried this tonight but with chicken as had no prawns or shrimp in

Hi. This was a hit with hubby, thank you.

was more like a flavourless soup than a curry 1/2 cup of water was far too much and their was far too little spices. I followed the recipe word for word and it was awful. ended up having cereal for dinner.
posted by GuyZero at 4:24 PM on October 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


if you have a garment that you have patched and repatched …an entirely new garment

Now do this same mental exercise, but with body parts. Donor kidneys, heart, face… at what point are you no longer you?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:47 PM on October 7, 2014


Now do this same mental exercise, but with body parts. Donor kidneys, heart, face… at what point are you no longer you?

Oh it's worse than that, almost all your cells replace themselves over the course of several years which means that literally almost no part of you that existed 20 years ago still exists now.

But that's OK because you were never you anyway, it's all a polite fiction maintained by your brain parts.
posted by RustyBrooks at 4:54 PM on October 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


But that's OK because you were never you anyway, it's all a polite fiction maintained by your brain parts.

If only. My brain parts are impolite and often downright mean-spirited.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:26 PM on October 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


five fresh fish: "if you have a garment that you have patched and repatched …an entirely new garment

Now do this same mental exercise, but with body parts. Donor kidneys, heart, face… at what point are you no longer you?
"

Serious answer. When...
posted by Splunge at 8:26 PM on October 7, 2014


The comments on this recipe for Chocolate Cobbler just amuse me to no end. I guess that recipe blog comments are just as susceptible to someone-is-wrong-on-the-Internet-ism as news and politics blogs are.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:22 AM on October 8, 2014


I was just wondering if there was a specific "that'll fuck up your saag" reason. Like exactly what gilrain was saying, about pizza, that even though the pizza part is identical, if you straight swap mushrooms for pepperoni you're going to have a watery mess, and different steps need to be taken before using mushrooms.

forgive my incredulity, but....is this just out of curiosity as a tangential question? Because....well, you've eaten cheese, yeah? And you've eaten shrimp? And you recognize that they're two very different things?

Again, if this is a kind of "yeah, I get that they're different, but this has just got me wondering" kind of thing, then fair. But if you're asking because you're not certain why I would find it so odd that someone would think "oh, I don't have cheese....I know, SHRIMP!", then....I guess just remind me never to let you make me cheesecake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's a "this has got me wondering thing", because I've had saag paneer, and I've had saag prawn, and I imagined switching paneer for prawn was like switching pepperoni with olives on pizza — a huge change, but a change to a very common variation of the same dish — and not like, say, making pizza with mayonnaise instead of tomato sauce, which would just be ridiculously wrong. If she said "I made the saag but I didn't have spinach so I used parsley", my eyes would bug out of my head, but "I made the saag but I didn't have paneer so I used shrimp" just sounds like she made a very different but very existent form of saag.

Which isn't to say that it's not ridiculous or anything. I just wondered if there was something that was making her statement sound like a terrible change as opposed to just a big change.
posted by Bugbread at 5:16 AM on October 8, 2014


Also, to be super clear, it's not a challenge or confrontation or anything. I'm not saying "Hey, that substitutions not actually a big deal, y'all are wrong!" cloaked in a question. It's a real AskMe style question, like "What differences are there between saag paneer and saag prawn, other than the presence of prawn instead of paneer? Cooking time differences? Seasoning differences? Anyone know?"
posted by Bugbread at 5:35 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gotcha.

I guess I'm just reacting as strongly because my own thinking would be as follows:

"Ooh, I've found this recipe for saag paneer, and it sounds good. Lemme make it! ....Oh, crud, I don't have paneer cheese. Huh. Oh, I have shrimp, though - lemme see if I can find a recipe for saag shrimp instead."

In other words, I'm not reacting out of any greater culinary awareness than "if your dish calls for one ingredient as the main ingredient, and you don't have that ingredient, give up on the recipe and find a new one altogether." You know?

I mean, I get your thinking, but to me, replacing the paneer in saag paneer with shrimp sounds like replacing the beef in Beef Wellington with....I don't know, a fish or something. There's probably a fish dish that's made very much like Beef Wellington, but there's a point at which you really gotta give up and admit that you need to work with a whole different recipe.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:32 AM on October 8, 2014


See, given the number of Indian restaurants I've been to that advertise different kinds of dishes and then underneath have your various protein options, I'm not so sure it's that different. It's like "Tikka Masala, insert description of tikka masala here, available with chicken, paneer, beef, lamb, prawn, mixed seafood, or chickpea. Vindaloo, insert description of vindaloo here, available with chicken, beef, lamb, prawn, or mixed seafood. Saag, insert description of saag here, available with chicken, beef, paneer, lamb, prawn, or mixed seafood." Etc. Certainly I've made saag and then added paneer for some people and lamb for other people, dividing the saag into two different pots and making no other changes.
posted by KathrynT at 9:42 AM on October 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


There's probably a fish dish that's made very much like Beef Wellington

Kulebiaka/Coulibiac. And it is glorious.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:44 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Glorious it may be. But it is not beef wellington, is my point.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:58 AM on October 8, 2014


Nor for that matter is it called Fish Wellington.

Incidentally, if anyone uses "Fish Wellington" as a user name now I will buy them a cookie when I meet them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:59 AM on October 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Aldi sells Salmon Wellington. The kids loved it.
posted by hawthorne at 4:27 AM on October 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hawthorne - do you understand the LARGER point I am attempting to make?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:34 AM on October 9, 2014


Of course, although I will be suspicious of any "cookies" offered.
posted by hawthorne at 5:52 AM on October 9, 2014


I somtimes see comments/ratings as a "thanks for posting this," or attaboys, or social currency in exchange for the person's labor in posting the recipe in the first place. So I've definitely posted Food.com reviews like: "No rating, because I changed [things], but it was really good, so thanks for the inspiration." I've also looked at other, similar comments from other people and followed their suggestions and had delicious meals result.

So I think as far as that goes, this is just being mad at the way other people internet.

If people change the recipe and then actually enter a rating, though, THEY ARE WRONG.
posted by BrashTech at 3:04 PM on October 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have no problem with "Thanks for posting this!" or, "I changed the recipe, and it still came out good!" or even "I changed the recipe, and it sucked. I guess I should have stuck to the recipe!"

But for certain food blogs in particular that have risen up around a certain cult of personality, Heidi Swanson comes to mind, there are consistantly 25 comments in the first few hours that say, "This looks great, I'm going to make it!" which seems like just pure pandering and is annoying when you're skimming comments trying to assess whether the recipe will actually work.
posted by latkes at 3:17 PM on October 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


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