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I realize this is probably quite petty, but as I’ve become a regular recipe hunter, there’s something that absolutely irks me to no end. To what do I refer? Five star recipes with comments that totally alter the recipe from its original state. How can you rave over a recipe that you’ve drastically changed?

More important – why do you insist on throwing me off? You leave me wondering who to trust: the original recipe submitter or the commenting critics?

This has become such a thorn in my side that I thought I’d peruse my recipe box on a certain recipe site in search for at least one recipe that commenters hadn’t drastically changed. Just one. Here’s what I found:

Comments on a 7-layer salad:

This is an excellent recipe. Because the dressing is rather thick when first prepared, it should read “spread” the dressing instead of “drizzle” it over the salad. It thins after sitting and then being tossed with the vegetable mixture. This salad can be prepared and refrigerated 8-12 hours before serving. I substituted Swiss cheese instead of Cheddar, and added 3 chopped hard boiled eggs and 1 cup of chopped celery. I love recipes that can be made-up ahead of time!

Here’s another comment:

I was looking for new ways to get veggies into my husband. He likes a lot of raw, but not cooked vegetables. I made this recipe yesterday and my husband & I loved it! Changes I would make next time: *use 1 C mayo & 1 C sourcream instead of 1 1/4 C mayo *add 3 chopped, boiled eggs *add a tablespoon of white vinegar to mayo & sourcream mixture *as a finishing touch, add extra crumbled bacon and shredded (not grated) parmesean cheese & 1/2 C of toasted, chopped pecans. Changes I made yesterday: *I used 1/2 of a large, sweet onion instead of a red onion (it was too strong) *I used shredded Parmesean cheese to the mayo.

How about some of these comments on Chicken Marsala:

This recipe was really good. I modified it a bit. I did not use cooking cherry'[sic]I used 3/4 of a cup of Marsala wine instead. I used twice the mushrooms and after I browned the chicken I removed it from the pan and cooked the mushrooms and some shrimp and them added a little heavy whipping cream and reduced it to make a Marsala cream sauce and then I added the chicken back and served it over garlic and basil fettuccine. It turned out awesome.

One of my favorites has to be the gargantuan fall-out over a recipe titled, “Classic Goulash.” Not only were people falling apart because of the ingredients used, but they were also having a spell over the name goulash:

This is the classic goulash made in the mid-west, USA, not Hungarian Goulash. I grew up on this in Iowa, but we used Worchestershire sauce instead of soy sauce, no bay leaf, and a green pepper if we had one.

This commenter essentially banned the recipe on the spot:

Sorry, But I am Hungarian, and this is no where near a “Classic Goulash”. Yes it is fast but not traditional, I can’t approve of it…

Then I came across the following comment. Clearly, the commenter planned to modify it the next time, but this was the only person I could find who’d made it per directions the first time. And as you can see in the last two sentences, I’d finally found a like-minded soul. I almost wanted to send a hug emoticon!

This is not “classic” Hungarian Goulash but it is goulash or Chop Suey depending on what part of the country you grew up. For me it was western NY and we added canned corn. Made this tonight, exactly as written, for my very picky folks and we loved it; it was a taste of my childhood. Next time I’ll add Jalapeno and bell peppers. NOTE: IF you are going to post a review, make the recipe as written and comment on that. Folks that completely change a recipe and then knock it aggravate me!

I decided to go one step further and peruse my own recipes, given to me by family and friends, and found that the need to put our own special touches on recipes is apparently ingrained in us all.  Whether we alter a recipe completely or specify a certain brand of cheese or substitute strawberries for corn (that got your attention, didn’t it?), we are all guilty. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Even I can claim no immunity as I recall my alterations to one of our favorite dishes – Bacon Spaghetti.

Check out the recipe by grabbing your copy of In the Kitchen with Liz and Kate and turn to page 48. (What do you MEAN you don’t have a copy of our cookbook – Order yours TODAY!!) The original recipe called for thinly sliced onions and one other ingredient. But I long ago omitted those two items after altering the recipe to suit my family’s tastes. Which is when I remembered what my friend Niki said the first she saw my recipe:

“I’d add lots of garlic to this!”

Of course you would, I thought. Because when it comes to making recipes our own, we just can’t help ourselves.


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