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Thursday, May 3, 2007

All Substitutions Are Not Created Equal

So I read an article recently (I think in the Oregonian FOODday, but I can't find it online--maybe they don't post all the syndicated articles they reprint) about the popularity of sites like allrecipes.com and epicurious.com, and specifically about how people write comments on the recipes saying how they tried it, and then describe all the substitutions they've made to the recipe, many of which change the basic character of the dish. I very rarely check any of these sites (my four-foot shelf of cookbooks usually turns up something appropriate), but this drives me batty! One time on an (non-food-related) e-mail list I shared a recipe for sourdough waffles, and a woman wrote back the next day saying she'd tried the recipe and how much she liked the result. Then she said how she hadn't wanted to wait the three days for the sourdough cultures to develop, so she'd added some yeast. Okay, you didn't make sourdough waffles. You made yeasted waffles, a totally different animal! You can't say that you made my recipe. I know that almost all the recipes I post here I changed in at least some small way when I made them, but I try to be clear about where I've deviated, and I like to think that the changes I make are small and subtle, and that my execution remains true to the spirit of the original.

Guess this is just one more of the many things about which I care more than the average American. Sigh.



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