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By Chef Todd

3 Reasons Recipes Fail You

It's not only Martha Stewart Recipes that don't work. Unless you have a understanding of Basic Cooking Methods, very few recipes will work perfectly every time. Whether Food Network recipes, or the best cookbook recipes, there are inherent variables that make following recipes difficult for the home cook. Chef Todd Mohr will examine some of the shortcomings in Martha Stewart Recipes in today's blog.

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By Chef Todd

Martha Stewart Recipes Don't Work

I don’t mean to pick on one person. It’s not only Martha Stewart recipes that don’t work.

The best cookbooks have recipes that don’t work. You can take a food TV network recipe and try it three times, you’ll get three results. As a matter of fact, search food network recipes and you’ll find multiple ideas pointing to the same result.

Why would these people and publishers have recipes that don’t work?

The answer is simple.  Recipes don’t teach you to cook any more than having sheet music teaches you to play piano.  Certainly, the step-by-step instructions of the best cookbook recipes can be reassuring to many home cooks.  It’s much easier to follow someone else’s opinion of how something should be cooked than to create your own recipe.  The sacrifice you make in following a food TV network recipe is that you’re trying to duplicate what was originally created by some food TV show.

Your stove is different than the “test kitchen”.  Theirs is gas, yours is electric.  Your pans are made of a different metal than theirs were.  Your chicken breast is twice as thick as the one used to write the recipe.  With all these variables, how can a written recipe, even if it is a Martha Stewart recipe, be duplicated exactly every time by people of varying skill levels in the kitchen?  It can’t.

Here’s someone’s lament published in the Washington Post entitled “Martha Stewart Recipes Don’t Work” by Kim O’Donnell.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/mighty-appetite/2008/12/chat_leftovers_runny_fruit_pie.html

I found a recipe for a cranberry meringue pie (supposedly a Martha Stewart recipe) that calls for boiling the fruit and setting it with corn starch. First time I made it, it was gorgeous. It took hours to set, but was a huge hit. Second time, it didn't set at all and we had lovely "soup"(we poured over vanilla ice cream and ditched the crusts) Third time, it set in the pan and was rubber and inedible. As far as I know, I followed the recipe each time.”
The response:

“A few things to note: The recipe, as published on the MS site, is for a batch of mini pies made in a muffin tin. I’m wondering if this is why you’re having uneven results with the filling --- there’s just too much volume in a nine-inch pie plate for a consistently “gelled” filling.  I also noticed a discrepancy at the cornstarch “slurry” stage…... “

Rather than reading piano sheet music to learn one song, learn to actually PLAY the piano by studying the notes and how they combine for a melody.  Instead of following a recipe to create one meal, learn to cook by studying Basic Cooking Methods to create your own recipes and meals that come from your creativity and desired ingredients.  When you create the recipe, you’re better than the best cookbook recipes, and Martha Stewart recipes won’t ever let you down again.

I’ll be examining some of the most popular and successful cookbook recipes for ways that basic cooking methods can solve the variables we find.

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By Chef Todd

How to Cook a Recipe

As a chef, I am often asked, "How do you cook a recipe?"

Well - in this video is my answer! Enjoy!

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Learn to cook like a chef at home and you can burn your own recipes

Cook like a chef at home in 16 weeks, guaranteed with my online cooking classes.


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By Chef Todd

Learning to Cook is Empowering

Every single day I get emails, calls - even postcards from around the world from people who've learned to cook using some form of my cooking instruction. It is truly humbling to hear how these cooking lessons have changed people's lives. Here are some comments from just a few of my students:

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