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Thread: Writing down a recipe

  1. #1
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    Writing down a recipe

    I have been looking through the church type of cookbooks.

    I have found that its easier for me to follow/understand some of them than others.

    I have also found that the contributors often leave out important details (which I did, when I made up cookbooks for my kids and grandkids!) that they just "know" - such as pan size, when to poke the holes in the cake before adding the glaze, when it's okay to ad lib, and when the recipe should be closely followed!

    Anyway,

    I find it helpful to have included:

    All the ingredients needed - listed at the beginning at the recipe. It's kind of frustrating thinking I have everything I need and then an important component is at the bottom of the recipe. Okay - I should have read the recipe to the end before starting - but I usually don't, if there is a list at the top.

    Measurements sizes for cans or components - a large can of something? - some things come in gallon cans.m How big is a large box of spaghetti? How big is a nickel-size Hershey bar?

    For things like soups, salads, and casseroles - I have started to put in approximate measurements -
    example: 1/2 to 1 cup onion, 1/2 to 1 cup celery - I have heard of someone throwing away 1/4 of a carrot when making vegetable soup because the recipe called for 1/2 cup of diced carrots.

    Size of pan needed to bake the item. I remember when I was a little kid and I tried to make brownies using Mom's recipe - and the pan she always baked them in. However, I did not know/realize that she doubled or tripled the recipe for that particular pan!

    Yield: Something like "six 1/2 cup servings" is helpful. "Serves six" is not - two of my sons would consider a 1/2 cup serving an annoyance!

    It is getting harder to write recipes now with the package sizes getting smaller and smaller.

    Also, with things like Jell-o - write down the package size in ounces instead of "large" or "small" -

    Writing down a recipe is a bit like knowing how to assemble a quilt. After a while,with experience, a lot of the steps do not need to be written down, so it is challenging to know how much detail is needed when writing instructions for either activity.

    "Season to taste" - I really appreciate a little more help with this than just that phrase - how about 1/2 to 1-1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper - maybe that person usually adds some unusual spice or herb that makes that recipe unique?

  2. #2
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    My DH's granny was going to teach me how to make homemade bread. She lived on a farm, they get up at 4 a m to milk cows. and of course I had to get up too. With my pencil and paper in hand I'm ready!! Granny is telling me the ingredients, and then she starts on the measurements. A handful of flour. a dash of this, a pinch of that, and yeast in warm water, well you get the idea. I'm with accurate measurements for recipes why else do you have all those tools in the kitchen, and yes I/2 cup serving size helps too.
    Love to quilt and play with the great grandkids

  3. #3
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    If I write a recipe in paragraph form, I use a highlighter on each ingredient - then I can see at a glance if I have everything.
    If I List the ingredients at the beginning, I prefer to write it like this: Brown sugar (on the left) and 1 cup (on the right).

  4. #4
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    I have found some recipes recently, that do not list the items in the proper order of being used.
    It is confusin, so I just copy/paste the list to notepad and then separate those from the first part, down lower to when/where they would be used.

  5. #5
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    "All the ingredients needed - listed at the beginning at the recipe. It's kind of frustrating thinking I have everything I need and then an important component is at the bottom of the recipe. Okay - I should have read the recipe to the end before starting - but I usually don't, if there is a list at the top."

    THIS!!

    I find it funny, in the community cookbooks, when there are like 2 or 3 recipes for the same thing, with 95% the same ingredients - you just know there was a heated discussion - "Why is her ambrosia recipe in there, what about mine!!??"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptquilts View Post
    ......I find it funny, in the community cookbooks, when there are like 2 or 3 recipes for the same thing, with 95% the same ingredients - you just know there was a heated discussion - "Why is her ambrosia recipe in there, what about mine!!??"

    Yup .... I've seen the exact same recipes though perhaps written up differently, with each printed with the different names. My conclusion was that they were not going to risk offending any of the ladies who submitted. Though feathers were still probably flustered, with some asking ...... and why did "her" recipe get printed first of the lot? and mine last?
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  7. #7
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    Or - the one recipe has - submitted by "Mrs. John Homemaker" at the top of the recipe

    and then - below the recipe - also submitted by "Mrs. James Housewife, Mrs. Joe Homebody"

    Have you noticed that in the older books, the women frequently go by "Mrs. James Housewife" instead of "Betty Housewife"?

  8. #8
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    I think writing down instructions on how to make anything is difficult. My husband sells some specialty parts for trucks and writes extensive installation instructions. He's very good at it. I tried to tell my friend how I did something on a quilt in an email and had the worst time of it.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    If I write a recipe in paragraph form, I use a highlighter on each ingredient - then I can see at a glance if I have everything.
    If I List the ingredients at the beginning, I prefer to write it like this: Brown sugar (on the left) and 1 cup (on the right).
    I actively dislike any lists given in paragraph format.

    I actively do like the idea of writing up the ingredient on the left - and the amount needed on the right.

    I am so impressed by the women that could bake decently with a wood stove. How did they manage to regulate the heat of their ovens?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    I am so impressed by the women that could bake decently with a wood stove. How did they manage to regulate the heat of their ovens?
    I would imagine it would be similar to using a flame burner, you just developed a “memory” for the fire level for each type of food. If they made bread each week or so, the baking was an ingrained habit, just like each woman’s recipe before cook books.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  11. #11
    Senior Member jokir44's Avatar
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    I live reading old cookbooks, especially the ones that have household hints. Two things I can remember just offhand. One said, " take a piece of butter about the size of a walnut". My thought was I wonder if it is with or without the green husk. The other thing I remember is washday instructions where the lady said when the wash is done to carry the wash water outside and throw it on the porch to scrub it down. Oh sure, like I'm going to do that. Not even if I had the wringer washer and tubs!

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    My grandmother did, she put it on the wagon and took them to the porches and porch stoops. Old homes didn't have outside faucets, they were lucky to have inside faucets with running water. My grandma had a hand pump at an old sink in her kitchen, even after they put in running water. Grandpa used that to clean up after milking and chores. They had no indoor bathroom until 1956. So see, it's not surprising to me to hear that lingo was written in a cookbook under household hints. Farm life was 'different' than city life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Or - the one recipe has - submitted by "Mrs. John Homemaker" at the top of the recipe

    and then - below the recipe - also submitted by "Mrs. James Housewife, Mrs. Joe Homebody"

    Have you noticed that in the older books, the women frequently go by "Mrs. James Housewife" instead of "Betty Housewife"?
    We finally got one of the church ladies to stop writing minutes as Mrs. John Sonso instead Marybeth Sonso. It's like these women didn't exist before they were married.
    GrannyLady - Having too much fun dressing my grandaughters.

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    In the "olden days", it seemed to be so common to refer to a woman as Mrs. John Homebody and it really messes a person up when doing genealogy. It must have been a more formal distinction. But just sharing--my grandmother was a stickler for being proper. Her reference was that a woman is Mrs. John Homebody, not Mrs. Betty Homebody. Mrs. only refers to the husband's name, not her own.--not married to herself!

  15. #15
    Super Member Teddybear Lady's Avatar
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    My mom is 84 and used to cook all the time. She would sometimes have me type up her recipes to give to her friends. She would list the ingredients by brand name and the size of her pans or bowls. I would get a kick out of typing them. One time she wanted me to type up her instructions for making her chicken and dressing. It took me three pages because she wanted every step written down just like she made it. haha
    She has severe memory loss now and doesn't even know what a spatula is. I stay with her sometimes while my 86 year old daddy has to go run an errand. I only live 5 minutes down the road from them. We don't leave her alone now. She'll show me a box of Hamburger Helper and wants me to help her make it. She can't even understand the instructions on anything now. It's sad, but we've still got her.

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    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I'm a chef and unlike a lot of chefs I don't mind sharing my recipes.

    When I write them out, I put the ingredients that go together in groups and put a bracket with a number beside them. Example: I'd put butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a group and bracket with a #1 and flour, baking soda and salt in another group and bracket #2 etc.

    A lot of people don't realize that these things need to be mixed separately before they are mixed together.

    I then explain the directions in steps.

    Turn the oven to 350.
    Spray your 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
    Do "whatever" with group #1 in "X" size bowl
    Mix together group #2 in X size bowl
    Add group #2 to group #1, etc, using a spatula or whatever....
    Being really specific.

    People really don't know how to cook and especially how to bake, anymore.

    I also wrote a full page essay that my friends asked me to do for them on how to cook a turkey. Everything from where to find the neck and giblets to how often to wash your hands between steps so you don't cross-contaminate anything to how to make gravy. That essay has been passed around so much that I ran across it on the internet!

    Watson

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    Speaking of detailed instructions - our daughter was a new Mom and asked me to watch the baby for a couple of hours at my house. She brought him along with 2 pages (front & back) of written instructions. I still have them someplace.

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    Add me to the group who wishes the quantity of ingredients was given in ounces. There are many recipes that call for one or two squares of baking chocolate. The squares used to be an ounce apiece, but five years or more ago, they started making the squares a half ounce apiece, with eight wrapped squares in a box. Big difference. Took me a few tries til I figured out what was going on, lol. Even box cake mixes are a few ounces less now, yielding fewer cupcakes per batch. And the list goes on. Guess they don’t want to raise the prices as much as they would need to so they just give you less product.

  19. #19
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    My favorite after dinner process is to make what ever bone broth I can, put the bones in water to cover, bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour or so on low. Remove the bones, and allow to boil to reduce volume by half. Allow to cool, covered, then place either into ice trays and freeze, then store, in a gallon zipper bag. or pour cooled broth into sandwich size zipper bags, and freeze flat. When you want to make home made soup in the cold of winter, pull out a zipper bag, peel the zipper bag off, and start adding what ever veggies make you happy, season, simmer for a little while and serve. Yummy.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  20. #20
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    I have a funny about my granny. She use to write down recipes that were given over the radio. I was looking up recipe in one of her old cook books, and ran across one she wrote for No Fail Egg Noodles. It had a big X across it with They Failed.
    Love to quilt and play with the great grandkids

  21. #21
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    People that can't follow a recipe and adjust with common sense need more maintenance then I am willing to give.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
    Being cheap is not a badge of honor.
    My heroes are working people, paying their own way, taking care of their children and being decent human beings.

  22. #22
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    Speaking of detailed instructions - our daughter was a new Mom and asked me to watch the baby for a couple of hours at my house. She brought him along with 2 pages (front & back) of written instructions. I still have them someplace.
    I burst out laughing at this!!!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teddybear Lady View Post
    My mom is 84 and used to cook all the time. She would sometimes have me type up her recipes to give to her friends. She would list the ingredients by brand name and the size of her pans or bowls. I would get a kick out of typing them. One time she wanted me to type up her instructions for making her chicken and dressing. It took me three pages because she wanted every step written down just like she made it. haha
    She has severe memory loss now and doesn't even know what a spatula is. I stay with her sometimes while my 86 year old daddy has to go run an errand. I only live 5 minutes down the road from them. We don't leave her alone now. She'll show me a box of Hamburger Helper and wants me to help her make it. She can't even understand the instructions on anything now. It's sad, but we've still got her.
    First...hugs to you and your Mom and Dad. My Mom did the same thing in her later years. (Funny...she never forgot how to make a martini though...LOL.)

    There are a few really great, recipe-building, software programs/apps out there. I use one on my other computer, but I can't remember the name offhand...sorry. Putting it on the computer makes it easy to store and share with others. They also prompt you to write complete and comprehensive instructions and ingredient lists. I'll try to find out the name of the one I use and post it here.

    ~ C

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tranum View Post
    Speaking of detailed instructions - our daughter was a new Mom and asked me to watch the baby for a couple of hours at my house. She brought him along with 2 pages (front & back) of written instructions. I still have them someplace.
    Oh...that is too cute! That should be saved and handed down.

    ~ C

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Needles View Post
    My grandmother did, she put it on the wagon and took them to the porches and porch stoops. Old homes didn't have outside faucets, they were lucky to have inside faucets with running water. My grandma had a hand pump at an old sink in her kitchen, even after they put in running water. Grandpa used that to clean up after milking and chores. They had no indoor bathroom until 1956. So see, it's not surprising to me to hear that lingo was written in a cookbook under household hints. Farm life was 'different' than city life.

    My great, great aunt was born on a farm in N. Dakota Territory She had had enough of farm chores and brutal winters and moved west around 1900. She worked as a cook for wealthy families in Pasadena. I was fortunate enough to inherit her Boston School of Cooking cookbook. There is an advertising section in the back of the book where she wrote notes and put stars on the ads of products that she coveted s/a a gas burning range, washing machine and an electric butter churner. So sweet! She lived in the city the rest of her life, enjoyed every minute and never looked back.

    ~ C
    Last edited by tropit; 10-21-2018 at 10:30 AM.

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