Review of the Reviewers

Today at Mah jongg my friend Morgan showed up at my house with a grocery bag full of fruit she had leftover. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cherries now fill my fridge. What a wonderful surprise gift.

Monday we are having Russ’ company teammates for our annual intern dinner as a way of welcoming the class of summer interns to the company. I had already made my menu because I have a lot of cooking to do. I am not sure if any of the teammates eat at all before they come to our house, but they usually eat everything I prepare and I always prepare too much.

My original menu included a buttermilk pie for dessert, but with all these beautiful berries I am going to make a change. I went online to do some recipe research. Nowadays I like to read reviews of recipes before I get invested in them. My only problem is I would like a review of the reviewers.

When someone comments that a recipe did not work for them how am I to know if the reviewer is a novice or expert cook. I wish that there was some rating system for the people who comment.

Back in the old day, when I just used real cookbooks I first would judge a recipe by the reputation of the author. Julia Child almost never has let me down, and Julie Rosso and Shelia Lukins of the Silver Palate are equally reliable, but their books are old now and don’t always include ingredients or dishes that are in fashion today. Don’t get me wrong, I still use their books, but sometimes I want something they don’t have.

So I turn to the Internet. When I input search words I often come up with something from All Recipes, although it might be perfect fine, I usually don’t even bother to look at that site because there is no quality control, unlike a site like Smitten Kitchen or Bon Appetite, where at least the recipe is tested.

Writing recipes is hard. I know that from experience. I cook, then write from memory. I don’t measure when I cook so my recipes are approximations. This is fine for cooking, but not for baking.

All this reading of recipes and the reviews, and the reading between the lines of the reviews to determine if the reviewer is an idiot is a lot of work. No wonder I just make things up as I go along. I wish I could do that in baking and have anything turn out.

Maybe rather than looking for berry cakes I should just make ice cream. I can do that without a recipe and with my eyes closed. I don’t want to make a pie since I am making tomato pies as part of the dinner and no one needs a two pie dinner. What a wonderful problem to have.

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