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Recipes Online – How to Search and Find Reliable Recipes

My hobby is cooking. I didn’t realize it until I showed a friend of mine how to prepare and cook Moroccan chicken pot pie it hit me. I really like to cook. I will spend days in the kitchen preparing Indian, Persian or Moroccan dishes and invite my friends over for a feast. My husband thinks I’m crazy, my friends think I’m a great cook, and I have the best time introducing my friends to new cuisines.

I own 52 cookbooks, and depending on what I’m cooking, they’re always my number one source for recipes and information, especially when cooking ethnic dishes. I used to research online, looking for recipes and often I was left totally confused with what I found. There are all kinds of recipe sites. Some of the larger sites allow members to leave ratings and comments. These types of sites have become very popular over the past few years. There are even forums dedicated to food discussions that include links to recipes and comments from members.

This is where the problems arise. Do a simple online search for “Dill Green Beans”. You will see over 270,000 results. These recipes can be found on all types of cooking sites, from large, established recipe sites to individual blogs. How to choose? How do you want to invest your time, energy and money? Are you going to choose the recipe that calls for 4 pounds. of green beans, 16 heads of fresh dill, 4 cups of vinegar, 9 cloves of garlic or whatever requires 2 lbs. of green beans, 4 cups of vinegar (interesting because it’s the same amount of vinegar used to double the amount of green beans in the other recipe), 2 cloves of garlic and 4 heads of dill? (For half the amount of beans, this recipe should call for 8 dill heads and at least 4 cloves of garlic.) Here’s another question for you – what exactly do these dill green beans taste like? Where can I find a reliable recipe?

Red Velvet Cake is another online recipe search disaster waiting to happen. There are over 750,000 Google results for a search for “red velvet cake recipe”. Now look carefully at these recipes. You’ll see Red Velvet Cake recipes that include 2 heaping teaspoons of cocoa in their ingredients for recipes that don’t call for cocoa at all. The reality is that Red Velvet Cake is, and always has been, a chocolate cake. How to make a chocolate cake without using cocoa? Again, how do you decide which recipe to spend your time, energy, and money on?

I stay away from restaurant sites that offer member reviews and reviews because some of the reviews are of no use and actually add to the confusion. A few years ago I did a recipe search online for Mulligatawny Turkey Soup. I landed on a well revered food forum. This site also allows member comments. I was shocked to see some of the comments made about this recipe. People who did not have the spices called for in the recipe chose to cook the soup leaving them out. Turkey Mulligatawny Soup is a curry soup. If you omit the curry and garam masala spices, you won’t get any curry flavor. You have no idea how the recipe tastes. No wonder they didn’t like the result.

This food site also reviews a cookbook every month. Some members make recipes from the cookbooks, changing the ingredients, or even omitting them altogether, and then declare their efforts unsuccessful. That’s not useful information, and it’s certainly unfair to a cookbook author.

There’s an easy way to make sure you’ll get a good result when searching for a recipe online. Focus on cooking sites that use recipes directly from cookbooks and make sure the site has given a link or mentions the cookbook or chef the recipe is from. The next thing to look for is a site where the recipes were actually made. There are many restaurant sites online that offer recipes, but there is no indication that they actually prepared the dish. A valuable online cooking site will actually have prepared the recipe and offer helpful cooking tips directly related to the recipe.

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