The Recipe That Will Ruin Your Cooking

There's a recipe out there that will ruin your ability to cook. It's lurking in one of those many, many, many recipe books you've been collecting. It's not camouflaged, it's there in black and white with a nice color picture but you may not see it. That's because this particular recipe is hiding in plain sight, among hundreds of typed written instructions for cooking that are supposed to tell you what's for dinner.

You don't know which recipe is the land mine in your kitchen and which could make a great meal.

The internet is clogged with written instructions for cooking, but the photos of the results tell you that the recipe has let people down. Home cooks compare their efforts to the photo in the magazine and suffer a crushing blow of confidence in the kitchen. They had visions of the accolades they'd be receiving because of their beautiful creation and delicious food. If they were cooking to impress a date, the date is now over.

They blame themselves, but it's not their fault.

spaghettIt's the recipe's fault. Cooking from a book is like trying to put together Ikea furniture. Instead of the nuts and bolts, wood and plastic scattered on your floor, the recipe provides a long list of ingredients and seasonings you must array on your counter. You begin to arrange these elements by referring to the manual over and over again. When your challenge is complete, you've arrived at a piece of furniture leaning to the left and extra parts in your hand. Similarly, your meal does NOT look like the photo. This is not the type of cooking that makes you happy.

But, you had all the instructions, why didn't it come out?

The piece of furniture wasn't assembled correctly because you're not a furniture builder. You don't know the methods behind putting stuff together even though you have a piece of paper that's meant to teach you immediately. The same danger exists for cooking by recipe. With a list of ingredients and stringent steps but no background in HOW to assemble the food, recipes can ruin your cooking. However, if you had the 7 skills of the kitchen, you could cook anything.

Recipes Set You Up For Failure -
The simple act of comparing your creation to a photo in a book makes you feel badly. That photo took hours of work from food stylists and food photographers using tricks to make it look best. Your dish was made in 30 minutes, there can be no comparison. When YOU create a meal without a recipe, there's NO comparison to anything else. If it's good to's good.

Recipes Command You To Spend Money -
What's the first thing in a recipe? It's a list of food you need to go buy. Instead of shopping for the recipe, how about CREATING a recipe from the ingredients you have on hand? When you become a more confident cook, you can rummage through your pantry and make up dinners every night. Skip the recipes and you'll save on food like never before.

Recipes Make You Re-Learn Cooking Every Night -
burnedWhen you cook blindly, going from line to line of the cookbook, you don't witness the changes in food that you can hope to repeat the next night. One recipe is cooked on the stove top, another in the oven, a third over simmering liquid, yet none tell you HOW to cook in this fashion. It's a treadmill of frustration.
Recipes Have Inherent Variables -
I don't think it's possible to duplicate a recipe exactly any more than it's possible to play a Beatles song JUST like the Beatles did. In music, there are variations in the WAY the instrument is played. In cooking, there are variables in the size and flavor of foods, the intensity of heat, and the interpretation of the cook. This is one of the three secrets to making your cooking a winner every single time.

Recipes Keep You From Really Cooking -
why_do_you_watch_foor_networkThe more you depend on following someone else's opinion of what you should be eating, the less you're gaining the skills and confidence to create your own meals. When you concentrate on learning HOW to cook, you can use any combination of ingredients you want and cook it HOW you want to. The meal that YOU make is worth a thousand words.
I've seen the dramatic life changes people make when they start using the basic methods behind cooking and use recipes as a guideline. The students in my online cooking classes become confident, free-thinking cooks who can use the ingredients they already have on hand to create impressive meals every night of the week. This is because they use a repeatable process in cooking and just change the ingredients for a new flavor.

This one change in thought creates great home cooks.

FREE Online Cooking Class Makes Confident Cooks

About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


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  • Bobbe
    5:12 AM - 28 June, 2015

    Hi Chef Todd:

    There actually are uses for recipes. For instance, if I want to make hollandaise sauce, but I don't know what goes in it, I will look up a recipe for it. Where I go from there, however, is what you have taught me:. The methods to make it happen. You've given me the confidence to strike out on my own and think through about what goes with what, i.e., white wine, butter and a sprig of fresh rosemary as a pan sauce for seared scallops. As an after thought, while letting the pan sauce reduce, I threw in a handful of cherry tomatoes that I'd cut in half. It added color and interest to my dish and the meal was delicious! I now mainly use all my cookbooks for ideas, since I now have the methods.

  • Michael
    5:48 AM - 2 March, 2015

    Hello, Chef Todd Mohr
    What is the deference in your Online Cooking Classes and your DVD series Burn Your Recipes.
    With regards to the obvious. I'm an Army Cook ( Food Service Specialist) and can some up my training as a safety course-walk out with all ten digits and no burn marks; however there was a moment during a pie crust recipe training section which the instructor took time out to showed us something the recipe left out. it was amazing how the fundamentals of thermodynamics can make or break a flaky pie crust.Chances of me becoming an enlisted aide or going to a culinary school is zero but I know there are fundamentals and were to go to fine the right ones.
    Thank you.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      1:14 PM - 2 March, 2015

      Hi Michael!
      My WebCookingClasses are like culinary college for the home cook (or Army Cook in your instance). It's an in-depth program that covers everything taught in culinary college delivered weekly to you in 48 video lessons that are 15-30 minutes long. WCC is light, fun, sometimes funny, and always packed full of the HOWs and WHYs behind cooking that most home cooks are never taught. This curriculum came out of a video series I published on YouTube that became WebCookingClasses. Each week comes with printable downloads and class notes, homework to accomplish, and a Members Forum where we discuss our successes and fix our failures. It's a community of people who want to delve more deeply into understanding HOW cooking works.

      You can review the entire WebCookingClasses curriculum by clicking HERE

      My Burn Your Recipes DVDs are a 3 volume set of entirely different videos that were filmed specifically for the DVDs. It's more like an encyclopedia of cooking. It's more straight-forward, more serious, and much more condensed. It does not come with printable handouts or homework like the WebCookingClasses do, and covers some information not found in the classes like choosing kitchen equipment and developing your palate.

      See the entire Table of Contents for Burn Your Recipes DVDs HERE

      Either way, you will get a command of the basics in cooking that written recipes will never tell you. You'll come away with the science behind cooking and be able to anticipate what will happen to your food when you cook it rather than being surprised by good or bad results. Don't forget that every product I offer comes with my 100% Personal Money-Back Guarantee.

  • Steve
    8:39 AM - 5 September, 2014

    You are so right on comparing my meal to the picture. I once made chicken in the crockpot. Followed the directions to the tee. The picture was crispy and looked delicious. No crisp on this this chicken. Thanks for the article. There is so much truth to it. I look forward to the classes,

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      5:56 PM - 10 September, 2014

      Hey Steve!
      Thanks for the kind comment. Photos that accompany recipes will always let you down.

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