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giving a recipe and recipient can't make it right

My co-worker loves my shortbread recipe and asked me for it. I wrote it down listing ingredients, prep method, cooking time and so on and she came in next day and said it didn't work. So I went through the method with her, rub fat into flour etc etc and press into pan she said she did this. So she made it again, and again, and again (maybe a dozen times) and still they were nothing like mine she said and that she had trashed them.

I have to say I got mighty fed up going through the recipe with her, trying to explain what the mixture would look and feel like, oven temperature and wondering what on earth she could be doing wrong.

Until last week, she told me of yet another aborted try and then said - does it matter if I melted the butter in the microwave? I can't tell you how many times I had told her softened butter. It didn't occur to me she would melt it.

Ever had a similar thing happen?

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  1. Hmm. Nope. But makes me wonder if your coworker uses allrecipes and makes those "I didn't have butter so I used cream cheese" reviews. ;)

    5 Replies
    1. re: shanagain

      Or uses cake flour instead of all-purpose. When I give out baking recipes I always specify the brand/type of flour and explain "if you use a different flour, please don't be mad at me when they don't taste the same"

      1. re: shanagain

        >>>
        But makes me wonder if your coworker uses allrecipes and makes those "I didn't have butter so I used cream cheese" reviews. ;)
        <<<

        LOL! I was just thinking the same thing. Just last week DW & I were laughing at a review on that site for Crab Stuffed Mushroom caps, where one reviewer gave it 4 stars. She then said she added onions, red bell peppers, celery, and jalapeno peppers ...none of which were in the recipe. Oh, and she also left out the mushrooms.

        1. re: al b. darned

          Sounds like that woman was under-rating herself. She basically made up a whole new recipe (if she left out the mushrooms, what did she stuff? the bell peppers?) and didn't give herself credit for it.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            She said she made a "crab bake." Therefore she did not, in fact, make "crab stuffed mushroom caps", which was the recipe. She should not have posted a review for a recipe which she did not make. It may have turned out good, and maybe she should have submitted it as a new recipe. At least she gave it a decent rating, unlike other reviews I have seen, where they changed a recipe so much it was unrecognizable, and then gave in only 1 star.

            1. re: al b. darned

              I'm just going to share this idea now, as it's clear I'm not going to act on it (as I should, but dammit, I've just committed to life-long lower carb): a GREAT food blog idea would be to go through allrecipes and make the recipe as-written, then with one of the low-star-rating substitution "recipes."

              For a humorous author, this really could be gold.

      2. funny, I had a friend in college that would take my recipe - change important things, then tell everyone it was my recipe at a gathering. I wanted to jump in and say "NO, that's not what I gave you!" , particularly when hers was NOT good! She did it all the time - not that I was a great cook back in college but she would really not respect the combo of ingredients and change them out rediculously!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: lexpatti

          A similar, weird thing happened recently. A friend called to ask for my brownie recipe to take to an annual gathering that I was missing out on this year.

          Another friend tells me after the event that as friend number #1 was sharing the brownies, she announced the recipe was mine, and laughed about how she had to call me to ask if canola oil was the same as vegetable oil while she was baking them. That's true, she did call me and ask that question, not mentioning what she was making. But my brownies sure as hell don't have any oil of any kind in them...so...what the heck?

          I don't worry about it though, if people taste a brownie made from canola oil and compare it to MY brownies thinking it's the same recipe, it will just make me look like a magician :-)

        2. Yes. I even had someone accuse me of leaving out an important ingredient, so her version wouldn't be as good as mine. Which completely insulted me. It is flattering to be asked for a recipe. Most people are just lousy cooks.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jeanmarieok

            I've never had it happen to me, but I did have a fellow I worked for, who was an amazing cook, give me recipes with an ingredient or two missing every time he would give me one. I don't know that I have ever had issues with any recipe, but his never tasted like they did when he made them. I felt bad for a while for thinking he was tricking me until his wife told me to never trusts what he gives out b/c he wants to write a cookbook one day and doesn't want others to have the real recipes.

            1. re: sisterfunkhaus

              Wow. If that's the case, it's too bad he didn't "man up" and just tell you that himself.

              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                Mom's beloved sister and niece used to get upset when their attempt at her butter cookies didn't turn out the same as Mom's.

                Mom wasn't purposely withholding info but after years of bruised feelings on both sides, my sister watched Mom bake and realized that Mom's in a hurry, she semi-melted her butter to "softeni" it before creaming .

                She tipped off our cousin who is now a happy baker, and we all had a few relieved laughs.

            2. My mom makes great ginger cookies. Chewy and full of flavor. She gladly gives the recipe out to people, gives advice but no one seems to be able to make them as good as her's. I have yet to give it a go, neither has my SIL. But since my 1 yr old nephew fell in love with them over Xmas I guess one of us should. :)

              2 Replies
              1. re: viperlush

                That's the beauty of cooking -- same recipe, different cooks, comes out different!

                1. re: viperlush

                  Same goes for some of my mother's recipes. Thing is though, a lot of the stuff that she makes, she makes without a recipe to begin with.

                  Even still, I can never get a few things to taste as good as she makes them. I guess there's just magic in a mother's hands :)

                2. My Mom loves my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, and always says hers don't come out the same way. Turned out she wasn't leveling off the flour(or anything), had old flimsy cookie sheets... better measurements, better cookie sheets and an oven thermometer and her cookies are a lot closer to mine :)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: maplesugar

                    Or maybe she just wanted to get you to make 'em for her ;)

                    1. re: visciole

                      Sorry I didnt see this til now. Mom & I live about 2500 miles apart so unless I fedex them I only get to make them for her about once/twice a year so it's good she's able to make them herself once & awhile :)