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Oct 19, 2012 08:38 AM

What, to you, counts as a "recipe"?

Is something as simple, and basic, as the following count as a recipe?

1. Get pot
2. Fill with water to midpoint
3. Turn on stovetop
4. Bring to boil on stovetop

Is that a recipe?

Or does it have to be a bit more nuanced and complicated? If so, how?

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  1. I do recipe (cooking) competitions as a hobby so I write tons of recipes...IMO, it needs to be a bit more finessed. State what size the pot is based on what is going to be put in it; measure the water (for example, "add 2 quarts of water to a large stockpot or fill a 2 quart saucepan to the halfway mark". Also, indicate the temperature needed to bring the water to a boil such as "heat the saucepan over high temperature to boiling ". Hope that helps

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw

      Well, we can quibble about the details, but if I am reading you right, then this would count as a recipe in your opinion?

      1. Take a 2 quart stock pot with a lid
      2. Add one quart of water to stock pot
      3. Turn on stove to HIGH
      4. Put stock pot with water on stove top area that has been turned on to HIGH
      5. Cover stock pot with lid
      6. When lid starts to shake, rattle and roll, open lid and see if water is boiling
      7. Once water boils, remove stock pot from stove

      Is that a recipe?

      If we can agree that the point of a recipe is make something -preferably something edible -- then does that count as a recipe?

      If your answer is "yes" then it makes me a bit queasy. To me, the quiddity of a recipe transcends what is listed above -- but what exactly that is, I simply cannot put my finger on.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        That sounds like a recipe to boil water.
        It "made" boiling hot water.
        I would say that is a recipe.

    2. I'd say quantities of individual ingredients need to be specified for it to be a recipe. What you posted is more of a guideline for boiling water.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tcamp

        Agreed; I didn't post this because all you had was water but a good way to gauge how a recipe should be written is to put yourself in the position of having to read the recipe if it were written by someone else. You want to know what it is you're cooking, the quantities of the ingredients and what type (a large onion, chopped vs. a cup of chopped onion) and the ingredients need to be written in order of use , the vessels needed to prepare the dish (spoons, cooking utensils, etc) ; cooking method, how long it takes to prepare each step for the most part and how long to make the finished dish. How many servings the dish makes is also helpful.

      2. ====Is that a recipe?=====


        That is a task.
        Some may say technique.

        Recipes should have quantified list of ingredients, defined cooking and prep techniques and cook times and final portion quantity listed.

        Throwing s&^t in a pot and sayin' cook til done helps no one and is likely the cause why the USA has so many cooking phobes.

        I can change a tire on my car in the dark with no no assistance but I know many folks that do not even know how to even begin the process much less complete it short of calling the auto club on their "smart" phone.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jjjrfoodie

          See my post above

          Again, if we are simply talking about specificity and details, then you are losing me.

        2. hot water is a procedure, soup is a recipe.

          1. No, the OP isn't a recipe to my mind - it's, as already said, guidelines for boiling water. There are other equally successful methods for boiling water, so they are not even particularly good guidelines (not least, because it provides no explanation of what "boil" means)

            A recipe has to include ingredients, including quantities. As for technique, it has to be sufficiently detailed for the expected reading audience.