Recipe reviews - early morning internet wandering

agmss15

I have been doing that thing that makes the internet allow us to waste time. I am trying to limit my wanderings to early mornings. Anyway this mornings wandering..... leading in a minute to breakfast.


A short video about cows > a short video about artisanal cultured butter ending with butter melting over crumpets > oooh toasted crumpets with melted butter > crumpet recipes > King Arthur crumpet recipe > recipe reviews > cranky reviewers


So a pet peeve of mine generally - the grumpy novice poorly reviewing and angrily pretty much anything. Amazon has tons.


When there are clearly happy reviews and I am trying a new recipe unsuccessfully I tend to try to figure out what I did wrong - not the recipe. Mind you sometimes it is the recipe. I realize recipes have to assume a certain level of knowledge on the part of the cook and if you are new and don’t know the assumed knowledge it can cause problems. But the King Arthur site has all of that info on there. Just look for it.


Ok my imaginary buttery crumpets (actual butterless oatmeal) awaits. Have a nice day all. We have more weather impending - 4 or maybe 14 inches...



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Comments (15)
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Elizabeth

I see bad reviews on allrecipes.com that are not even relevant. The poster says that they changed this and that in the recipe and baked it longer or shorter and it was terrible.

Basically the complainer made up their own recipe and it failed.

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Sherry


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writersblock (9b/10a)

Not particularly for recipes, but one should always be aware that selling online reviews (of anything at all) is a very big industry. And you can buy both good and bad reviews--good for your product, bad for your competition.

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agmss15

The other ones I remember being annoyed by is for carbon steel cookware on Amazon. After hearing about the cookware here I checked some out. The description and reviews say the cookware needs seasoning - then there were all the outraged customers complaining about rust.

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chloebud

Elizabeth, you're so right! So many of those reviews can be comical.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

Funny!

Coincidentally, I just listened to a story about the NYT cooking comment section, and learned that they want someone to actually make the recipe in order to post a comment - and they do not call them comments, they call them 'notes'. They are intended to be helpful, not just opinions or non-sequiturs.

Here's the article the story was based on - it's actually pretty interesting, and kind of humorous:

How NYT Cooking Became the Best Comment Section on the Internet The subscription-based service offers hundreds of recipes—and even more suggestions, from helpful, well-meaning users. Who knew that such a thing was possible?

And this satirical blog post is referenced in the article - a cataloging of those recipe comments that make everybody roll their eyes:


All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog

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agmss15

Lol - exactly. Though these are funnier.

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artemis_ma

I do change recipes I make from online.

Right now, for instance, I know I hate excess sugar, and I cannot eat most tree nuts, and I won't do "vegetable oil" when I can do avocado oil. I post those recipes that I was inspired by and link back in my blog. BUT I won't be reviewing their specific recipes because I made changes -- and I do note those changes I have made in my blog posts.

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plllog

I change recipes, too, because for the most part I know what I'm doing. There were a few I used for the holidays this year from CF where I held back some salt and sugar, adjusted for slightly different ingredients or whatnot, and I mentioned my changes when praising the recipes, because I didn't make them exactly. But I did use the recipes more than not and do consider that I "made" them. No butterscotch, though. :)

OTOH....if the recipe didn't come out nicely (which didn't happen...they were all great), I wouldn't blame the recipe itself if I changed it!

But there's also the problem of ingredients and basic methods. Like people don't know that they need to use butter (not the kind with oil in it) or baking sticks or that if it's not said, recipes mean size large eggs--unless it's an amateur recipe and the author doesn't know to specify if they're extra large--or that beet sugar might ruin your baking. They don't know that the "beat butter and sugar" step is for whipping in air and shortchange or omit it. They don't know that oven temperature is the number on the thermometer (that you put in the oven) not on the dial, or even that opening the door can affect the baking. A lot of people who think they're following the recipe as written and having failures, still may be doing it all wrong.

I would never review a recipe that I hadn't made, though in certain situations I might comment "sounds good" or "do you think it would work with peaches rather than pears?" but I don't bother reading the ones that didn't either. You can tell from what they say. A useful comment is like for the GF pie crust that says roll between layers of plastic wrap because it's more like a sticky batter than a dough. A skipable comment, true or not, is the family liked or hated it. Somewhat more useful is "this is my new go-to".

Re reviews in general, you can usually tell by the details whether they're authentic. Paid reviews, unless it's a real reviewer who's just being paid for the writing, can't know the specifics. Most are farmed to foreign countries, and the workers are chosen for their ability to write decent English rather than their knowledge of what they're speaking of.

Speaking of which, a family member asked for pizza for dinner way too late for me to make it. I googled best pizza nearby and most of the listed restaurants had pictures of the dining rooms (and they all looked the same--trendy post-industrial charcuterie chic). One place showed a pizza (a tasty looking one). I looked up the reviews. On Yelp, the average was only 3.5 stars. The negative reviews, however, were about whether the delivered sandwich was cold, the waiter surly, the GF choices limited (they have GF pizza!), or whatnot. The five star reviews all praised the pizza (in long, detailed, multiple paragraphs telling all about their visits and experiences), and many praised the service and attention to customer satisfaction. We got the pizza. It was really good. Much better than many from "better" (i.e., more expensive, more established) restaurants. Reviews can be revelatory if you read them well and look for the things you want to know, rather than just accepting the things they want to tell you.

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plllog

Carolb, thanks for the article. That was very interesting and almost makes me want to subscribe. :)

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lisaam

The widely varying reviews (such as the best recipe for whatever to I had to throw it away because it was so terrible) always interest me. I do tend to assume that if the recipe is from a reliable source and if several reviewers liked it that the writers who found it unsuccessful really should question their own method rather than expressing such disdainful outrage. But such is the internet age.

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l pinkmountain

As a teacher I can say that the art of providing constructive criticism is not natural to all people. If you say, "Horrible recipe, my family hated it, had to throw it out!" That tells me nothing since I don't know you or your family or your kitchen set up or taste and you haven't set any criteria for judging "horrid-ness." But if someone says, "Tasted good but it took me a long time to assemble with my limited dexterity for handling dough, so that will probably prohibit me from making this again." or "Did not like the strong tarragon taste." that gives the reader some helpful additional information. (Of course "too strong tarragon taste" not a constructive criticism of "Tarragon Chicken!") But . . . "I'm not a tarragon lover but I found that by subbing half basil this recipe still tasted good and I loved the pounding and breading technique and the sauce amount was just right for my taste." Those are the recipe reviews that mean something to me. I tend to think the outrageously bad or over-effusively good reviews are fake. If they aren't specific, I disregard. That's why I like that Amazon lets you rate reviews.

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Sherry

Yes, I appreciate the ones that say, "Very good, but I used less salt." We don't like a lot of salt and that lets me cut it back to start.

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artemis_ma

When I make a recipe for my blog and change things (whether due to ingredient availability or my inability to eat, say, tree nuts or something), I make a point of NOT reviewing the recipe I'm using for inspiration, but to credit them simply FOR the inspiration. And for the parts of said inspiration.

A couple weeks ago, I made a recipe exactly (it was going to be tricky) and it did NOT work for me. I punted and came up with some other idea for my annual Asian New Year blog post... I was certainly not going to be posting a bad review on or about their recipe, because perhaps I read something wrong.... it is something I WANT to make (I had it and loved it at Alo Saigon, Westfield MA), but I'm not going to say they led me astray. I'm simply going to try again with a different recipe, and hope I succeed!

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artemis_ma

Sherry, Yes, I appreciate the ones that say, "Very good, but I used less salt." We don't like a lot of salt and that lets me cut it back to start. -- Agreed, less salt and less sugar for me, and I prefer to use avocado oil over canola or vegetable oil.


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