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587th Friday Blog Roundup

I am in a bad mood after a baking disaster, and I’m taking a break to write this and think.  My two choices are to start over completely — I can see everything that was wrong with this recipe and can correct it with a second attempt — or to try to salvage what I have.  Currently I am leaning toward salvaging what I have because it took me hours to make, and re-making the cookies throws me off schedule.  Plus… you know… I hate waste.  But I’m really cranky about it.

I went with a recipe from the Kitchn.  The recipe was simple enough — a bar cookie — and the picture was beautiful.  With the exception of correcting an amount (I was fairly certain the author wanted me to put a teaspoon of vanilla into the cookie and not a tablespoon), I followed the recipe to a T.  My batch looked lovely… up until the point when I tried to cut it.  And then the various layers fell apart, and I was left with a crumbly mess on the cutting board.

Here’s the thing: A few times, I got my cookies to look like the picture.  And it made me realize that the author of that article probably made several batches to get that one perfect picture.  The rest of her cookies were probably also in pieces.  She just wasn’t showing me those.

And that is the point of this rant.  As much as there are a lot of fantastic recipes on the Internet, there are also a lot of shitty, you-probably-shouldn’t-make-this recipes being churned out to fill site content.  This recipe should have been edited until the results were consistent.  Or the author should have been honest and explained that the reason you can only get 12 enormous bars out of a 9 x 9 pan is that if you try to cut the cookies any smaller, they’ll fall apart.

But moreover, what cooking sites need to realize is that they do not need to produce content at a frantic pace.  I would rather they take their time and put up one cookbook-worthy recipe per week than throw up 6 half-baked recipes in a single day.  In fact, I am suspicious of any cook or baker who posts too frequently because doing so means that they aren’t taking the time to truly test and perfect their recipes.

That’s the end of my rant.  I went through my feed reader this morning and unsubscribed from about 8 blogs that post unusable recipes, and added 2 that feel a lot like Cooks Illustrated in that they point out all the ways they have failed when making the current recipe.  I need more bloggers like that in my feed.


Stop procrastinating.  Go make your backups.  Don’t have regrets.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Our Wish has a post responding to a song her husband sent her, a sweet moment except that it contained a line that gave her pause.  They are doing a donor egg cycle, so she knows that her “beautiful baby” will not look just like her.  But it’s an interesting post about how her mindset has changed since they’ve made the decision to proceed with another woman’s eggs.  And I especially love this line: “It’s just our reality and my heart accepted it long before my brain did.”

Notes from the Ninth Circle points out that while some people want to banish the “shoulds,” there are actually a lot of places where “should” defines the moment.  She should have her baby with her.  She should be able to conceive again.  It’s a tiny post that makes you think.

Lastly, Infertilityhonesty has a post about a moment that came up in her yoga teacher training.  She explains: “There’s always that question, at least for big mouths like me, when embarking on new social situations, of how and when I’m going to initiate people into my reality.”  She comes out to her classmates about her loss and her grief, and as she says, “I get to be here, participating in life truthfully, just like everybody else.”

The roundup to the Roundup: Cranky with dishonest food photography.  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between March 11th and 18th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 nonsequiturchica { 03.18.16 at 2:50 pm }

So true! I love Pinterest, but really only make the recipes that have comments afterwards of whether the recipes worked or not. My husband gets mad because we have so many cookbooks in the house, but a lot of them just don’t have the yummy pictures that make me want to make that recipe! 🙂

2 Cristy { 03.18.16 at 3:07 pm }

So sorry about the cookies. I hate waste too, so I’m also all about salvaging. That said, I also agree that it’s annoying to have a recipe be misrepresenting. I think it’s an ongoing problem with social media in general.

Hence a great segue into my pick for the week:

3 Sandhya { 03.18.16 at 3:25 pm }

I love this post on both literal and metaphorical levels — i.e., feeling pressured to live up to an unrealistic and unattainable conception of success, simply because failure is concealed. My latest pet peeve is the wand-slim, immaculately coiffed, chicly attired food stylist who often seems to wield her (always her) child/ren as an accessory and produces gorgeous vistas of perfectly styled food. I have to remind myself that pictures are selective. I do love the bloggers who acknowledge failure in baking and in life. Just a couple of weeks ago, a cake I had made literally hundreds of times failed to turn out of the pan. I took all the pieces I could salvage, stuck it together, and made a ganache that concealed the worst bits. My friends loved it. So now my motto is: If you can’t have a perfect cake, make ganache. I wonder if that works in life as well as in baking.

4 a { 03.18.16 at 3:28 pm }

I get drawn in by photos, but it’s really the ingredient list that makes me decided whether I want to try a recipe or not. The combination of ingredients has to sound interesting or delicious to me before I’ll make it. So, you can have 17 beautiful cookie recipes with photos in front of me, and I’ll pick the one that seems like it will be the tastiest. Texture is part of taste for me, but appearance isn’t, really. Crumbly ones are for the wolves I live with to snarf down as fast as they can fill their faces, anyway.

5 Lori Lavender Luz { 03.18.16 at 3:36 pm }

Infuriating. Wasting your time, your ingredients, not meeting the expectations set. I’m glad you cleaned house in your reader.

I agree with your point, too, that we are works in progress. And there is usually a trade-off between quantity and quality.

Now I’m hungry for cookies.

6 Jen@FrugalSteppingStones { 03.18.16 at 3:43 pm }

I haven;t made too many internet recipes that were epic fails, but the ones that have failed have been epic. There was a slow cooker green pepper chicken that almost made my husband vomit, and he is a man who will eat anything and say it wasn’t bad.

7 Jodi { 03.18.16 at 4:01 pm }

Do you read savory simple? She’s one of my favorites for my go to recipes. Caveat, she’s also in real life friend, but I really do like her recipes.

8 Sharon { 03.18.16 at 5:22 pm }

Sorry about your baking fail. That’s one of the reasons I rarely try a new recipe: my time is very precious to me, and I would want to cry in frustration if something didn’t turn out the way I was expecting on the first try.

9 Jessica { 03.18.16 at 10:04 pm }

I dislike baking cookies because the underside burns while the top is half raw. Never cut cookies. Cake or brownies can withstand cutting.

10 illustr8d { 03.18.16 at 11:00 pm }

Keeping it real. I love that too.

11 Hannah { 03.19.16 at 11:07 pm }

A friend of mine is a recipe tester who has worked on a few well known English cookbooks. The things she has told me about the cookbook publishing industry are quite shocking. In one case the cook was given 6 weeks to get a book out in time for Christmas and it had to have a chapter on icecream, even though she’d never made icecream in her life. No wonder the quality suffers, and plagiarism is also apparently rampant.

12 Jess { 03.20.16 at 5:42 pm }

Oh, baking disasters. That can definitely spur a terrible mood.

I second Inconceivable’s “Out of the Shadows,” and also add in Lori Lavender Luz’s “Oh, the Humanity,” because it made me smile and restored my faith in the kindness that people are capable in the face of all that’s happening in the news and the political arena: http://lavenderluz.com/2016/03/oh-humanity.html
Also, one from last week that I missed putting on the roundup so hopefully this isn’t cheating. I loved torthuil’s post on looking back to two years ago, when she was tenuously pregnant with the baby that is now her beautiful daughter. It has such a message of hope that one day, even if things don’t turn out exactly how you’d hoped, you can look back with love in addition to the sadness and pain: http://torthuiljourney.blogspot.com/2016/03/two-years-ago-and-today.html

13 Lavonne @ *Our Wish* { 03.21.16 at 8:24 am }

Thank you so much (hugs)!

14 Jane { 03.21.16 at 1:47 pm }

This is a bit random, but I often put 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract into cookie dough. I buy a huge bottle (32 oz) of good stuff (http://www.amazon.com/Nielsen-Madagascar-Bourbon-Vanilla-Extract/dp/B001GE8N4Y/) so it’s actually more reasonably priced and feels less indulgent to use more. It brings out a deep butterscotch flavor.

15 Jessie Francis { 03.22.16 at 12:19 am }

Thank you! I was having a bad day when I saw the Roundup, and it made me smile

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