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How Are Our Recipes, Anyway?

Grilled Salmon with Walnut-Arugula Pesto

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Food magazines test a lot of recipes. Like tons. They adjust measurements, ingredients and cooking times until they’re pretty close to perfect. But have you ever made a recipe from a magazine that just didn’t turn out like you’d hoped? I’m sure this has happened to even the most experienced home cooks. 

But I have another question for you. Did you know there’s a blog that’s committed almost solely to putting magazine recipes to the test? If not, you should. It’s called The Bitten Word and is run by two very witty and talented home cooks, Zach and Clay. They’ve tested many of our recipes before, the most recent being our Grilled Salmon with Walnut-Arugula Pesto. Don’t worry, they liked it!

That being said, they’ve called us out when they think we’re going a little too “foodie.” I think you’d love to see their quite hilarious response to our Deep-Fried Bacon and Eggs with Lemon-Egg Vinaigrette. The great part about The Bitten Word is that these guys cover everything from equipment needed to how things actually go in the kitchen, as opposed to how they should have gone based on the recipe’s directions.

Check out this unique blog today. You’ll never have to question one of your magazine recipes again.


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  • User avater
    wlundycan | 05/14/2013

    As a lifelong serious amateur cook, I have been "burned" time and time again (my wife wonders how thick my skull really is), by magazines, books, TV shows, and (more recently) on-line recipes from blogs, magazine sites, and "general" recipe sites. Many has been the time I have dropped up to $10 on a magazine, or $30++ on a book, only to use maybe one or two recipes (or worse, none). And as often as not, those recipes have failed. This has NEVER been the case with recipes from Fine Cooking magazine. I started buying the magazine over the counter around issue number six, and have managed to build a complete collection from issue 1 onwards in hard copy, as well as on DVD. NEVER in the time I have used Fine Cooking have I had a Fine Cooking recipe fail. Granted a few were disappointing, but that was most often a result of an error on my end, not on your end. Once or twice the flavors didn't live up to my expectations, but there was nothing amiss with the quality of the product. If I'm facing an important dinner party, I almost will always use a "safe" recipe I've tried before using willing (gullible?) family members; although, if I find a new recipe from Fine Cooking I will try it without this pre-test. That is a strong testament in my opinion.
    As for my daily recipe through your eLetter, I don't often make what you send, but I do find that I can draw ideas and inspiration from them, if not for your approach to the ingredients, your technique, then for the way you may have plated the finished dish. Cooking is more than just following recipes verbatim: reading newsfeeds, blogs, and even hard copy materials teach me that are many larger principles and ideas that cross many genres and techniques. I think that a true, creative cook (as opposed to a recipe-follower) can always gain something from these kinds of efforts, and I laud your own creativity and variety in presenting them in the fashions you do.

  • sonomagal | 01/31/2013

    I used to really like Fine Cooking but I find that most of the recipes FC emails me are ones I just won't cook. They are not something we want to even try. I am so disappointed in the path FC has chosen. I find more interesting recipes on Youtube these days. I rarely buy the magazine anymore because the recipes seem like food designers and bloggers are just screwing with our food. I am an eclectic cook and I cook every day, and have done for many years. We love good food but do not care for the food fads that come and go where one ingredient is done into every recipe that comes down the pike just for the sake of including it. Vis a vis, GOAT CHEESE and KALE!
    PLEASE get real again!

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