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Poor quality of chowhound recipes

fara Jul 21, 2007 10:44 AM

where do these recipes come from? why are they so obviously not "authentic" nor tasty-looking?

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    brandnewuser RE: fara Jul 21, 2007 10:57 AM

    Can you give us some examples? The majority of the recipes I've found were actually very good.

    1. MMRuth RE: fara Jul 21, 2007 11:39 AM

      Are you talking about CHOW recipes, here:


      or recipes posted on the Chowhound home cooking board?

      (I know you posted this on CHOW Feedback - but wasn't sure about the reference to "chowhound" recipes.)

      15 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth
        fara RE: MMRuth Jul 21, 2007 04:21 PM

        the chow recipes! oh god, no, please don't think I was talking about the home cooking board- there are some great things there, I love that board. compared to that board, however, the chow recipes seem really sup-par. what do others think?

        1. re: fara
          davina RE: fara Jul 26, 2007 03:05 PM

          I'd love to hear more specifics about what hasn't worked for you, fara.

          1. re: fara
            MMRuth RE: fara Jul 26, 2007 03:46 PM

            I actually haven't tried any CHOW recipes yet. One thing that I'm amused by is that non-seasonal CHOW recipes keep popping up on the left - I guess in the Blog Post section - I'm not too interested in egg nog and turkey in July, so I've come to ignore what pops up there. Though some of those cocktails do look tasty.

            1. re: MMRuth
              davina RE: MMRuth Jul 26, 2007 06:13 PM

              I totally agree with you about the excess randomness of the sidebar, MMRuth. It is so irksome to see not only unseasonal recipes, but unseasonal stories too. That's something we need to change.

              All of the CHOW-created recipes go through a rigorous testing process and are carefully vetted. We pride ourselves on the recipes, in fact, and put a lot of work into them. So I really would love to get feedback on what has worked and what hasn't.

              I can vouch for the deliciousness of many of the cocktails on the site!

              1. re: davina
                MMRuth RE: davina Jul 27, 2007 12:58 PM

                Any particular ones that you recommend - the food ones I mean - not the cocktails for now? I'm heading on a 10 day vacation where I'll be cooking dinner pretty much every night, and if you suggest a couple, I promise to try them out. Eat pretty much everything, though won't have access to decent sea food ...

                1. re: MMRuth
                  ExercisetoEat RE: MMRuth Jul 27, 2007 01:05 PM

                  I had a lot of success with the recipe for Mendiants.


                  I used a high quality dark chocolate (Vahlrona) and homemade candied orange peel and took them to a 4th of July gathering where they were inhaled with gusto. The best part was they were so easy to make I did it over my lunch hour the day before! (except the candied orange peel, I did that part a few days ahead)

                  1. re: MMRuth
                    davina RE: MMRuth Jul 27, 2007 03:51 PM

                    Here are some favorites -- these are ones I've cooked. Let me know what you think! -- oh, and i've made the mendiants too, ExercisetoEat, and they turned out really good. And so simple.

                    steak salad:

                    stuffed peppers:

                    red-cooked pork:
                    (probably a bit heavy for summer


                    watermelon salad:


                    1. re: davina
                      MMRuth RE: davina Jul 28, 2007 08:56 AM

                      Thanks - I'm printing out a couple to take with me!

                      1. re: MMRuth
                        ExercisetoEat RE: MMRuth Aug 10, 2007 07:36 AM

                        MMRuth, you might want to try this salsa recipe. I made it last night and was very very pleased with the results.

                        1. re: ExercisetoEat
                          Bat Guano RE: ExercisetoEat Aug 21, 2007 01:44 PM

                          I second that. I made it about a month ago and it was very good.

                          1. re: Bat Guano
                            ExercisetoEat RE: Bat Guano Aug 22, 2007 07:37 AM

                            Yeah, I'm afraid it's turning into a new craving for me! I've been making it about once every two weeks and am finding it rather addictive (though I have that problem with good salsa, I could eat it pretty much at every meal or for a meal!). Thankfully it's guilt free... except for the chips.

                        2. re: MMRuth
                          MMRuth RE: MMRuth Aug 17, 2007 09:55 AM

                          Well, I have to come clean and say that although I printed them out - I forgot them and so couldn't do the necessary shopping before heading into the North Woods! But I have them at home now ....

                    2. re: davina
                      wally RE: davina Aug 21, 2007 12:22 PM

                      Mulled wine is not my idea of an August treat.

                      1. re: wally
                        MMRuth RE: wally Aug 21, 2007 01:29 PM

                        Right - I think that is something Davina mentioned that they know needs to be worked on - the seasonality of the recipes that appear.

                      2. re: davina
                        LJS RE: davina Aug 21, 2007 01:39 PM

                        I have tried some of the recipes and found them to be very good. I would look for a recipe here first, in fact, I am that impressed. And I also wanted to say that when I did have a problem (with a Key Lime Pie filling that threatened to spill out over the pie shell) my comment was responded to and acted upon. Try that with your copy of Silver Palate!

                2. Atomica RE: fara Aug 17, 2007 09:26 AM

                  Along those lines, Chow's food photography is laughably bad, pretty much across the board.

                  1. f
                    fara RE: fara Aug 18, 2007 03:22 PM

                    is it just me or do the recipes look better lately? some things i would want to eat: the enchiladas verdes, wild rice chicken casserole, artichoke pesto pasta, the banana leaf shredded pork.
                    never saw anything very appealing before - if there was some kind of change made, thank you-

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fara
                      davina RE: fara Aug 20, 2007 05:03 PM

                      Hey, that's good news! I'm glad to hear it. Do report back when you try the recipes.

                      1. re: davina
                        MMRuth RE: davina Aug 21, 2007 06:26 AM

                        I'm going to make this one tonight to go a long with some pork chops:


                        1. re: MMRuth
                          MMRuth RE: MMRuth Aug 21, 2007 05:06 PM

                          Delicious - and I posted a comment on the recipe page!

                    2. JoanN RE: fara Nov 25, 2007 10:04 AM

                      I just made the Mulligatawny Turkey Soup that was recommended for turkey leftovers. It's really hard for me to believe that it went through a rigorous testing process. I followed the instructions pretty much to letter and ended up with something that is barely edible. First of all, it was much too thick to be called a soup; definitely more stew-like; the spices were overwhelming (and I love Indian food); and there was way too much lemon. I've now doubled the amount of stock and put in the fridge and am praying the flavors mellow overnight or I may just have to trash the entire gallon of it.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: JoanN
                        Melanie Wong RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2007 04:34 PM

                        Have you noticed that in the footer at the bottom of the page the same three recipes have been featured for several weeks now? Either this feature is broken and no longer the place where new recipes that come online are introduced or maybe there are no new "Chow Approved" recipes, tested or otherwise.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong
                          JoanN RE: Melanie Wong Dec 10, 2007 05:13 PM

                          No, I hadn't noticed that. Frankly, I this is the first time I ever looked at the footer. What I have noticed is that there's been no response to my comment on the recipe nor has the recipe been edited. Or removed, for that matter. I used to publish cookbooks. If we'd received a comment such as the one I made, we'd have had the recipe retested and corrected in the second printing. The great thing about the Web is that you don't have to wait for the second printing. But I'm still waiting.

                          1. re: JoanN
                            paprkutr RE: JoanN Dec 10, 2007 05:38 PM

                            you mentioned you used to publish cookbooks, what format did you use for writing the recipes. I have been looking for a nice format to write all my recipes. TIA

                            1. re: paprkutr
                              JoanN RE: paprkutr Dec 10, 2007 05:57 PM

                              Could you clarify for me what you mean by "format"? If you mean the type design, each book was designed individually based on the elements it contained. If you mean the phrasing of the recipes, a lot depended on the author's voice, although there are definitely some nearly universal rules to ensure clarity. If you could be more specific, I might be able to give you a better answer.

                            2. re: JoanN
                              aidam. RE: JoanN Dec 12, 2007 10:25 AM

                              JoanN: We tested this recipe a few times and neither found the spices to be overwhelming nor that it was stew-like. Mulligatawny soup is called "pepper water" because it is a highly seasoned dish and we feel this recipe reflects that. Of course, as with all cooking, recipes are subjective to a certain extent and what works for us may not be pleasing to you. Thanks for the feedback! -aida

                              1. re: aidam.
                                katipdx RE: aidam. Dec 19, 2008 08:37 AM

                                I'm having difficulties with a Bitters recipe from this site, in fact, I can't even get into the link to make comments on the recipe! Aida, I saw that you posted the bitters and I need your advice. After scouring the world to find "gentian extract" I was told to get it from a pharmacy, which I did, but it's bright blue and says it's a topical solution that shouldn't be ingested. If anyone has advice on where to get the right product, or has insights into my dilemna I would love to hear from you.

                                1. re: katipdx
                                  aidam. RE: katipdx Feb 2, 2009 10:55 AM

                                  hi, katipdx: we found our gentian at our local natural food store and you can buy it online here: http://www.herbspro.com/shop/productd... there are also other recipes in that bitters story that do not call for gentian so you can try your hand at one of those if you'd prefer. -aida

                                2. re: aidam.
                                  Allstonian RE: aidam. Jan 29, 2009 12:01 PM

                                  Aida - Here's a question for you, since you haven't been back to look at comments on the recipe itself: http://www.chow.com/recipes/14157

                                  In your recipe for braised white beans with chard, you call for 3 tablespoons - nearly 1/4 cup - of kosher salt, in a recipe that uses 4 15-oz cans of drained, rinsed beans and one pound of chard. I'm aware that kosher salt is less dense than table salt, but that seems like at least three times as much salt as necessary. Is that really correct?

                                  1. re: Allstonian
                                    aidam. RE: Allstonian Feb 2, 2009 11:43 AM

                                    Allstonian: We did indeed use 3 tablespoons of Diamond Kosher Salt. Due to the large amount of winter greens and other stuff, the recipe does require quite a bit of salt. The salt is added at the end so feel free to start with 1 or 2 tablespoons kosher salt and add more as you see fit. -aida

                                    1. re: aidam.
                                      GDSwamp RE: aidam. Feb 19, 2009 04:52 PM

                                      Aida, my neighbor just made me pasta w/ breadcrumbs, broccoli, prosciutto, etc. from one of your recipes. So delicious!! I will trust all your salting prescriptions....

                              2. re: Melanie Wong
                                davina RE: Melanie Wong Dec 12, 2007 09:51 AM

                                The recipe footer is broken, yes. We're working on some changes to the recipe tool and getting that functionality fixed is part of it.

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