28 January 2011

Recipe Filters

I just saw a recipe that made me think, hm, that's interesting, but I'm not sure how that would look. I often have these thoughts come into my head, strange though it may be. The recipe was a roasted vegetable salad and I liked all the ingredients, it didn't seem difficult to make, and it might be an interesting platform to start with and tweak a bit to add other things I like. That said, then I saw what the salad looked like..... Um, No. Thank you. It's interesting to me how seeing a visual representation of a recipe can just make you  uninterested  - I'm even hungry right now, so that's no excuse because damn near everything looks good when I'm hungry, excepting cauliflower. I guess this need to see the visual end product can be based on being a visual person, like I am, or seeing what you should be working towards while making the recipe, or just not being a words/instructions person. This makes me think I need to work on my photos more. I do my best to self-edit, but sometimes ... well, you go overboard. I just don't want to include any photos that make me later think, um, No. Thank you. 

Words can put you off an otherwise interesting recipe as well. If there are too many words or if they are too detailed in the language they can set you against a recipe that sounds good, looks good, and includes ingredients you like, but appears to be too much work. I am often put off by a recipe full of overly wordy phrases. "Bring the pot to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium," in my mind should be "Bring to simmer, reduce to medium." Let's just get to the point succinctly. I also don't care for pithy parenthetical comments like, (Enjoy!) - blech.

think our reading style, as a whole, has changed so much in recent years. Hardly anyone reads newspapers in full, magazine articles are shorter, with some few exceptions, the web is based on bullet points and not paragraphs - which I happen to prefer - I think recipes should be less verbose too. Oh, and I don't need the steps of a recipe numbered - just write them down in order that will do - no numbers required. 

Of course there are some filters for recipes that seem to be a given, but for me are not. Filter = I don't like the main ingredient = sure, but if you could change the main ingredient and still use the method and other flavors ... so is the main or any ingredient a deal breaker? I don't think so. 

I have one filter and it's still not a deal breaker. I'm seriously allergic to seafood - yes, all of it. Seriously - as in turn blue, stop breathing, die, allergic ... or is it stop breathing, turn blue, then die ... either way, dead is dead. But that doesn't mean I don't look at seafood recipes to see what I could do with veg or chicken instead of crab or flounder (or some other fish, since I know zippo about fish).

With the growth of food blogs, some professional, most not (um, including mine w/all the Miss Austen, beer, Ms. Heyer, and complaints and stuff), and the proliferation of recipes that include photos of everything from the ingredients to the end result and all manner of shots in between, it's probably a good thing that there are filters on my thought process for recipes. Otherwise, I would have lots of recipes and no time, and possibly not much inclination, to make anything.

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