Maintaining the validity of online recipe comments

Allowing comments on recipes is the norm on many websites and most blogs. These testimonials can provide useful feedback to others who are considering the recipe, possibly filling in some missing steps, providing helpful suggestions about techniques within the recipe, offering flavour variations, and of course rating the likeability of the recipe.

Here’s where the “but” comes in. If an assessment of a recipe is given but the recipe has been made with significant changes and ingredient substitutions which have altered the nature of the dish (whether its taste, texture, appearance, size, etc.), then I wholeheartedly agree with what Jane Touzalin had to say in her Cooks Who Make Me Crazy post on the Washington Posts All We Can Eat blog. She suggests an 11th commandment – “Thou shalt not post reviews of recipes on Web sites if thou hast not actually followed the recipe — at least for the most part.” Amen!

Really now! Doesn’t it only seem fair to comment on a recipe as its written? For your comments to be valid, you really need to stay true to the recipe. And for recipe success, you need to remember that although the ingredients in many recipes are flexible, you can’t just go changing things willy nilly. It isn’t fair to complain about a recipe or comment negatively after you’ve switched up ingredients.

If you must make changes or ingredient substitutions to a recipe, keep it to a minimum and at the very least divulge how you altered the recipe, then comment on your own changes.

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