Thursday, 18 April 2013

Can Food Bloggers be Trusted?

Before breakfast this morning I checked my Food Blog. And there was a message from Vanessa who had chosen my jam tart recipe over all the others she'd googled and it just wasn't living up to her expectations.The mixture, she wrote, was too sticky. Now it was also going to be difficult to poke holes in them with the end of a wooden spoon for the jam filling.

I hastily printed off the recipe ( which had come from a primary school cookbook). Although I'd made it once before and it had turned out well I wanted to make it again to test that  I hadn't posted a dud. It is mid-autumn here. There was a chill in the air. And thankfully my dough turned out fine, not too sticky at all.

I wrote back to Vanessa to say that the if the weather at her end was hot and sticky this may well have caused the problem, Put it in the fridge to cool down for a while, I suggested, and/or flour your hands lightly before rolling.

I  popped the jam tarts into the oven to bake.They took less time than the original recipe had stated. By this time I realised that I should have mentioned this when I wrote the original jam tart blog.  But in my haste I had just posted the recipe as it appeared in the school recipe book. I began to have horrible visions of trays of charred tarts coming out of my readers' ovens. It was a wake-up call not to rush my blogs and to always note any changes I make to the recipe which I have now done.

So can food bloggers be trusted to get it right? I'm sure I am one of many creative culinary spirits. I'll bake a recipe once (or few times) and then if it comes out well, and tastes really good I'll post it. If not I won't make it again. I'm keen to make something new.

Maybe it's better to post less often and really perfect it over several months to make it foolproof . Or would that reduce the sense of spontaneity and excitement that  bloggers communicate as they  try out and post a new recipe ?

In comparison cookbook authors, one imagines ,will have tested their recipes many more times, or have testers who try them out for them before publishing. But the reality is that not every one of their recipes is perfect either. I've had my share of cookbook recipe failures and have had to twig them to get the desired result.

Photographs can tell lies as well. I'm an amateur but my family has been heard to say that some of my recipes looked better on the blog than on their dinner plates.

Professional photographers who have expensive cameras and lighting set ups and probably years of experience can make a humble dish look like a food fit for the gods, and it may not taste superb!

Feeling a little depressed that I'd failed one of my blog readers I dropped into our local Lakeside Arts Centre this morning to deliver morning tea for 30 wood sculptors and volunteers busy with the annual woodcarving event. They loved my baking, especially my best chocolate cake which also came from a community cookbook and was reprinted with their permission. And one of the guys even asked for my biscuit recipe.

But there seemed to be quite a lot of apricot and orange drizzle cake left on the table, a recipe which I had created especially for this event the previous day and it had tasted good to me. I'm thinking now I should have perfected it further before baking it for a morning tea or putting it on my blog. Or was it just that most of the sculptors were guys and they preferred the chocolate cake and crunchy oat cookies?

Blog readers can easily leave a comment under each recipe. I  love the positive and appreciative ones. This was the first one which queried whether I had got it right. And that's good too. I do hope people who try my recipes and find there's a problem will leave a comment.

The whole idea of a blog surely is that we can keep in touch with and learn from each other as we share our recipes . I do hope Vanessa hasn't given up on those jam tarts. We had them for breakfast today and they sure beat weetbix!


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