My Recipe Sharing Philosophy- Updated

I am not a mise en place cook- you know, someone who cuts up and pours out all of a recipe’s ingredients ahead of time into little glass bowls. Think, America’s Test Kitchen. It is a structured way to cook, and it is widely accepted. It is why most recipes give you a list of ingredients and how they should be prepared before telling you what to do with those ingredients.

But I don’t have the time for that kind of cooking. I also don’t have the willpower to wash that many dishes. Instead, I have a compulsion to do things efficiently. I like to chop vegetables while other vegetables are already cooking. Think, Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. Because I don’t prepare and cook food “in order,” traditional recipes are a nuisance for me to read. I go right to the written directions, but then I constantly have to refer back to the ingredient list to find out how much nutmeg I should add to that cookie batter. And then I lose my place. And I waste time. And wasting time IS NOT EFFICIENT.

This “prepare as you go” philosophy is why I present my recipes to you in narrative form. I try telling you what you need to do as you need to do it so that you spend less time waiting around in the kitchen. I bold the recipe’s steps so you can filter through my commentary and get right to the good stuff when you’re in the kitchen. I also added shopping lists to the end of each post because it’s nice to know what ingredients you should have on hand before jumping into a recipe. No one wants to get half way through a cookie recipe and then realize you’re out of nutmeg.

But I have no idea if most people cook the way I do, and I still want my recipes to be easy for you to follow. Does the narrative format work for you? Would you like me to include a traditional formulation of the recipes as well? I’d love to know what you think.

Update: Thank you all for your feedback. I just installed a print button at the bottom of each post that allows you to print recipes with or without the images. I hope this makes cooking along easier.

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My Recipe Sharing Philosophy- Updated — 12 Comments

  1. The narrative form is best for me. You truly walk us through ever step, which is great for me who is fairly new to cooking. Also, love the ingredient list at the end. That is so helpful in preparing for one of your delicious recipes!!

  2. I tend to mix it up a bit when I’m cooking – some of my ingredients I prepare upfront (especally if it’s going to involve cooking things on the stove and I don’t want to overcook half of it while I’m getting out other ingredients)… but I love preparing as I go, as well (and cleaning as I go 😀 ).
    The format of your recipes is great, especially because of all the photos that it encourages you to use, I LOVE photos of steps along the way!
    Including the traditional format would be great, too, for printing and quick scans (for working out what will be involved in the recipe when I come to cook it), but I wouldn’t dream of asking for it, it’s enough that you put so much effort into your recipes as it is!

  3. I like to cook the way you cook. I just do not mix any dairy with chicken recipies. I do not eat any meat. And I try not to have too many dishes. Your directions are easy to follow and the pictures are clear and explanatory. I wish I had your cooking talent and know how to season using low salt. When I cook chicken, I use onions and garlic salt and pepper. you are a good chefess, and David is lucky to be getting all the wonderful goodies you cook and bake and never get fat.

  4. Ha ha. I think I am the exact opposite. I like my ingredient list first, then my instructions. Why? Because a list helps me easily determine if I have all the ingredients that I need. I tend to choose my recipes by whether I have what I need at that time. I measure, chop, saute everything on the fly and not as pre-measuring exercise so in that regard I do follow the RR method. Recipes that fit on a single page or card are always preferred. Separated, bulleted, or numbered steps keep you from losing your place and allow they eye to scan easily for the next detail. Overall, I dont find the narrative overly helpful unless the cook is using a method that is out of the ordinary. Baking recipes generally go 2 ways: dry into wet or wet into dry. Cooking generally follows a pattern too. Ingredients are ordered as used. Most times I can cook based on the ingredients after looking at the instructions for key words.

  5. mise en place is mainly for restaurants (and tv) anyways. I agree it is more efficient to prep-cook-prep-cook. Sometimes, mep helps but otherwise, I’m with you. I have toyed around with some ideas on formatting recipes. Not sure my ideas would ever take off, but its more more logical approach grouping ingredients in one column and a simple instruction on the other. Similiar to what you see in Joy of Cooking. Another is a flow chart, like computer programmer uses, each symbol is for a different action. More complicated maybe, and much more for the engineer type but easier than (see http://www.cookingforengineers.com).
    Great blog by the way. Love it. Thanks.

    • Thanks for the link. I’ve never seen recipes in an engineering-type format, but it works for me. Juila Child’s cookbooks use the two column approach, which I like better than a typical recipe because the ingredients and the instructions are so close to each other, but I still find my eyes skipping back and forth, breaking my mental flow.

  6. Pingback: Oops! | Witty in the City

  7. Hi, I just found your website through another blogger. Do you have a name? I am looking forward to enjoying your recipes. L’Shana Tova.

  8. i totally cook the way you do! i like the ingredient list so i can get everything on the counter but i don’t measure it until it’s time to go in.
    i actually found your site by searching for a pumpkin chicken thighs recipe (which came out DELICIOUS, btw) but i don’t seem to see it here anymore. since it’s the recipe that brought me to you, do you suppose you’ll post it again? please? pretty please? with pumpkin sauce on top?

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