So what were recipes designed for in the first place? Well, best we can tell, it seems they were designed for a chef to remember how they made something. Later, the format became a great way for one chef to tell another chef (maybe an apprentice) how to make a dish. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution and the rise of the “modern” grocery store in the early-to-mid 1800s that ingredient lists and later quantities were added as a separate section as a way to make a inventory and shopping easier. Notice what wasn’t included? The non-chef. The untrained cook. Basically most of us. It was never designed to teach somebody how to cook, yet that’s how we often use it.
One of the ways that is most evident is the use of cooking terms like dredge or braise or chiffonade. For those that have been to cooking school (or maybe watched a lot of cooking shows), these terms might mean something. But for the rest of us, they don’t mean much. Take dredge for example. If anything comes to mind at all, probably cleaning the sludge out of a river or bay is first, an action which has little relationship to the cooking term.
A series of simple photos or a short video can easily show the technique. While simpler words certainly help, the image brings the words to life in a clear and understandable way. The VizChef app has two modes: standard and intermediate. Standard mode includes more examples and easy to understand instructions where intermediate mode assumes some knowledge of techniques and terminology. That way you can select your level of comfort with the cooking process. Don’t worry, if you get stuck, you can switch back and forth between modes inside the app at anytime.