True Story: A little while ago, some friends of mine had just gotten married and wanted to show of their new house to all of their friends, so they decided to throw a little dinner party. Neither one had much experience in the kitchen, but they decided to cook from scratch anyway. They settled on spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce figuring that was pretty easy. As many tomato sauce recipes do, this one called for cloves of garlic, 6 specifically. So, they went to their spice cabinet to find cloves of garlic which, of course, they didn’t find, but they did find cloves. Minutes before dinner time, they called me into the kitchen to see if I could figure out why the sauce tasted more than a bit off. Needless to say, we ordered pizza that night. (They did recover nicely by dessert with some amazing homemade crepes with ice cream and chocolate sauce).
The thing is, it’s not their fault. It’s the recipe’s fault. If you don’t cook often, some ingredients are likely unfamiliar. Worse, if you don’t know what an ingredient is, how do you know if you’re selecting a good one or if it’s even fresh? Recipes were never intended for the home chef. Their problem could have easily been prevented with a picture like the ones below. No one would have been confused after seeing the ingredient. Ideally the recipe would have also offered a substitute…don’t have garlic cloves handy? use this much garlic powder, but that’s a subject for another post.
By the way, these two pictures (garlic and cloves) are just two of the hundreds of pictures in the upcoming iPad app from VizChef. Stay tuned for even more examples of how it’s the recipe’s fault.