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Never let me down again...

Yesterday I made a roast chicken recipe from a fairly well-known and well-liked website (at least by CH standards - I see it mentioned often on this board). Alas, it was a lot of work and mess for not a lot of flavor. This was the second recipe I'd made from this site that flopped, big-time; the first was a waffle batter that was a little too funky. So now I think I need to "break up" with the website... as much as I love reading the author's postings and recipes, I don't think we are a good match for each other.

Anyone else have something similar happen to them? Any bookmarks get deleted, any cookbooks get tossed (or donated)? What's your rule for how long a cooking relationship can go badly before you break up?

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  1. If a recipe is awfully bad the first time, I don't make it again. My practice with individual foods is different though - if I don't like a new food or ingredient the first time, it gets tried at least once again. I rarely if ever follow recipes and mostly use them a ideas and tinker on my own in the kitchen. Though, this is an interesting question as I've been trying to ponder if I've had any flops. I'm no Julia Child or perhaps I'm just a glutton, but I can't think of any plate of food which was really a flop. Sometimes it's a "meh, that wasn't so great" but nothing I had to completely toss.

      1. Just to clarify - I'll toss (delete, cross out, etc.) an individual recipe if I don't like it the first time. I was referring here to the source of said recipes. If I make 2-3 different things from one cookbook or website, and I don't like any of them, then I tend not to try any more from that source.

        C. Hamster, originally I wasn't going to mention the website in question because I really do enjoy reading it, and thought it might be more of an "it's not you, it's me" situation. But - it's Smitten Kitchen. Perhaps I am not the only one who has not liked her recipes?

        9 Replies
        1. re: truman

          You're not the only one, I don't like her recipes either. I made a few, was disappointed, and figured she and I have different taste. I moved on and found other blogs that align with my tastes better.

          I don't think there is any one-size-fits-all when it comes to food ideas/ recipes- you just have to keep on keepin' on until you find the ones that suit you best.

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            I agree with this. I've made recipes from sites/magazines that are very popular and just had them turn out blah (Saveur, I'm looking at you). I have other sites that are my go-tos when I want to find something that I know I'll like.

          2. re: truman

            Oh I apologize I misunderstood. As I mentioned, I don't use recipes very often but more so ideas but even still this sort of applies to me but actually the opposite. I'm more likely to think of it as "oh, blah blah and such wrote this recipe so it's likely to be good" rather than to avoid particular recipes from particular writers. For example, anything by Ina Garten that's recommended, I usually will try at least once even if it seems like an odd dish to me.

            I have been semi inspired by a few Smitten Kitchen recipes but it always seems like something is missing as in there aren't enough ingredients or flavor build up happening .For example, I used her Shakshuka recipe as a starting point but I definitely added more aromatics and spices because her recipe just seemed too blah.

            1. re: truman

              Have never understood why this website has turned into an "it" thing. As I read those recipes, I just know that the results will not be to my taste.

              This is one of the many reasons I love the Cookbook of the Month group here on chowhound. Together we investigate books... I take them out of the library and only buy the keepers.

              So move on, and find places to gather recipes that are more to your taste.

              1. re: truman

                i've been happy with the baking recipes i've tried from her site. generally i don't rely o recipes for savory dishes, but "thumbing" through hers they don't seem like much, regardless of her breathless prose. feh.

                some of it may be "knowing" what you like? i see plenty of stuff on-line that doesn't appeal as well as LOTS of repeats of the same dish on 25 different blogs. it gets tiresome.

                  1. re: truman

                    I feel like every recipe on her site is something I've seen done elsewhere, nothing new. Her photos are always appetizing though.

                    1. re: kimeats

                      Not defending her or accusing her, but most of her recipes are tweaks of recipes she's seen elsewhere. I haven't gone to the site in awhile - I used to get alerts to new posts and then when they, inexplicably, stopped, I kind of forgot about it.

                      But, yeah, if you think you've seen the recipe elsewhere - you probably have!

                    2. re: truman

                      I'm the same! I enjoy her writing and she and her husband do an amazing job stylizing the photos, but far too often the recipes are anything from bad to meh when i do them. And lots of things that she does are way too fussy for me. I know she tries to simplify recipes often, but then she goes and puts a recipe on how to make homemade ice cream sandwiches or Goldfish. I know for a fact I will never have that much time on my hands. But, still, I like her. I just won't cook her recipes.

                    3. I also use the "two strikes" rule for cookbooks or single-author websites. But I've kept links to sites when the writing/story-telling is interesting, just make a point of not cooking with their recipes. For example, the sites that have tons of recipes for toddlers aren't ones I'll cook but I enjoy the sense of wonder these young moms capture.

                      1. I don't have any rule (or even guideline.) I just gravitate to places which don't let me down and I seem to pass the ones which leave me hanging.

                        Cooks Illustrated is a great example, I love their passion and learn from their articles but I find that taste by consensus is losses an edge. So I usually appropriate the skills/technique they share but not the recipe.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: hambone

                          Cooks Illustrated is a very interesting example. If you share their very specific opinion about how a certain dish should taste, you will likely enjoy that recipe. But if your opinion differs from theirs (OK, his), well...