Anne Dolce reports:
"One of the beauties of cooking is sharing secrets, ideas[,] and, of course, recipes...but it can all go south if you’re not passing along the correct information. Recipes are exact and meticulous for a reason; they’ve been tested and relied upon...The next time your friend asks for that pasta salad recipe, use these tips to write your own recipe before passing it along. The results are well worth it...Make sure you list all of the ingredients needed for the recipe. This includes everything from olive oil to salt and pepper. The more details you provide, the more accurate your recipe will be...Ingredients should be listed in the order that they are going to be used in the recipe. This lets the user formulate a plan while reading over what they need, and helps them get familiar with the recipe...The size of ingredients, especially produce, can vary tremendously, so measure everything you possibly can...All of the ingredients of a recipe should be prepped and ready to go when the user begins to cook, so if you need something chopped, say so in the ingredients...Consider two scenarios: [T]he first would be taking a bunch of cilantro, measuring a cup of it and chopping it up; the second would be taking a bunch of cilantro, chopping it, and then measuring a cup. In other words, a cup of cilantro, chopped, is a lot less cilantro than a cup of chopped cilantro, so make sure you’re calling for certain amounts literally...Consider all of the steps for the recipe and organize them in a timely manner — many chefs in professional kitchens do this day in and day out to make sure they’re getting their food out on time, but it’s extremely applicable for the home cook as well. Does the oven need to be preheated? Put it in the instructions first. Making pasta? Consider the time it takes to boil the water...[I]t’s important to give the user a ballpark idea of at what heat and for how long something should cook...[B]e as descriptive as possible when explaining something. Golden-brown, translucent, and sweating are examples of visual cues that will help the user follow the recipe...If something is particularly tricky or dangerous, it’s always nice to tell the user to heed with caution...If you tell the user that they need one cup of low-fat chicken broth in the ingredients, [there's] no need to tell them to add one cup of low-fat chicken broth to the soup, [so] just tell them to add the broth. On the other hand, if you’re using more than one broth, specify that it’s chicken, of course...This is your recipe, so please, write it in your own words and make the user feel comfortable (and get them to like you). That being said, make sure you are as consistent as possible when using terms or phrases. You’ll confuse your reader if you call it a baking sheet in the first paragraph and a sheet pan in the second. This should be applied to your ingredients as well; write out tablespoon or abbreviate it (Tbsp.), but don’t do both...As is always the case with writing, read over everything and make sure that the recipe makes sense and there are no grammatical errors. Along with the usual writing errors, another common mistake to watch out for is listing an ingredient and forgetting to put it in the instructions...Follow these tips, and you’re sure to become a pro at recipe writing — and you’ll avoid disappointing fellow cooks when sharing your recipes. Happy writing!"
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.