Fake News in Recipes

fullsizeoutput_52bcFood for thought or a rant? In the spirit of William I do this. William could recognize a fake, a fraud and a phony from a mile away and he always had the courage to call someone out on it. In fact, he did it without hesitation. Not a great way to make friends, but if you were to run your life being fake he wanted nothing to do with you.

So this is a cautionary tale about food blogging and how to avoid the fake, fraud and failure recipes on the web.

For those who make a living at it, the food blog world is a numbers game. When a blogger has a high number (in the thousands) of followers throughout the social media channels that attracts advertisers and sponsors. It makes sense. The higher your numbers the more opportunities to make money. Most of the excellent blogs have built their businesses on good practice of tested recipes and great writing. Their numbers have grown in a most organic and appropriate way. A reward for honest, hard work is always a good thing and to be admired. A job well done pays off.

Sadly, there are many other ways to build your social media numbers that has nothing to do with creating and sharing good recipes and writing. It’s all about networking and if you can imagine “buying” followers. I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered “hundreds of new followers” for a price or how many people have offered to “follow me” if I simply follow them back. Thousands!

Now here is the thing. While I am 100% opposed to purchasing followers, I am not opposed to following others as long as we share a common interest. However, when I do follow and then shortly thereafter that person unfollows me that just screams fake. That blogger is simply trying to increase numbers in a phony way. Do you know there is an APP for exposing fakers? Right now that App shows about 69 food bloggers who pulled that stunt on me with Instagram in the last month.

Luckily, my blog is not a business, so worrying about numbers is not an issue, but worrying about great content in my blog and others is. So, recently when a non-blogger friend who happens to be an excellent baker posted a failure of a lemon loaf on FB this rant kind of came out of me. The recipe came from a popular blog site and had made its way around the Internet in full beautiful photos. My friend wondered what she had done wrong in spite of following the recipe exactly as written. Well, she did nothing wrong. It was the recipe that was flawed. It was probably never tested. It was clear that the leavening and oil content were way off base and explained why the center of the loaf collapsed into a deep crater. A sad waste of expensive ingredients and time and a sad commentary on that food blog.

fullsizeoutput_52bd

So beware Internet recipes. Know your sources and if on a blog read the comments. If all the comments are like “Oh that looks yummy” you might want to skip it. If the comments give critiques or advice as if real people have tried the recipe it is a much safer bet. If you ever try one of my recipes and there is a problem or success please come back and let me know. It is such a compliment to have you even try the recipe that the last thing I want is for you to be unhappy about it.

Food for thought or a rant? Either way I followed in his light and that is all that matters. Next week I hope to post this lemon loaf recipe without the rant. While I fixed the structure of the cake it still lacks the lemon punch in the face that I love. I think it needs one of those lemon glazes poured over it while it sits in the pan still warm.

IMG_9112

 

Top Recipes For 2017

IMG_2738

It was this same time a year ago I began to struggle with writer’s block. What to Write? What to write? What to write? Like last year, I got nothin’! So instead I will share YOUR top 3 favorite recipes from 2017. BTW-your favorites are for sure some of mine. May love always guide you in the kitchen.

Sweet William's Fancy

inspired by Will

Not one bit surprised that the recipe that got me started writing this blog makes the top list for the second time. Who doesn’t love a perfectly crisp chocolate chip cookie with a soft inside spiked with bourbon? Click here for the recipe.

 

Image 1-21-18 at 8.02 PM

Next up a heart-warming nourishing bowl of soup that features wild rice. It’s perfect for the crazy cold winter we are having all over the country. Click here for the recipe.

 

IMG_0817

Pretty sure this third and final recipe made the list not only because people seem to love everything cheesecake, but also because it was a Food Network Magazine prize winner. Getting a little national attention never hurts in the blogosphere. Get the recipe right here.

***

Food is the common denominator that brings all kinds of people together at the table

Gather the ones you love most as often as you can.

More Happiness in 2018

 

IMG_8783

A Gift From A Stranger

fullsizeoutput_524d

This week I found myself in a jewelry store while running errands with my daughter. She was having her rings cleaned and making a return. While she browsed, the store owner, a friendly young man named Peter, started a conversation with me. This is how it went.

Peter: How many children do you have?

Me: Two. Caitlin is my oldest. (hesitation) …..And I have a son who is deceased. He died just before his 23rd birthday

Peter: Oh, I am so sorry (hesitation)……how old was he?

Me: He died just before his 23rd birthday

Peter: (now a little flustered) that’s right you just told me that I am sorry

Me: It’s okay it’s been quite a few years since he died

Peter: What happened?

fullsizeoutput_5246

Needless to say Peter opened the door for a long conversation about who William was and where he had been in his life. Peter ended the conversation by saying: “It sounds like your son lived out a dream. He knew what he was born to do at such a young age. He’s quite amazing. We should never forget him.” I told Peter that I loved talking about my son and thanked him for the conversation. In a room of diamonds and sapphires it is a conversation with a stranger that is the most precious gift.

fullsizeoutput_5228

Another gift I just received is a small crop of meyer lemons. I care for a potted plant that spends warm days outside and frigid ones indoors. In return I am gifted a juicy crop. This year a half dozen of lovely lemons. Meyer lemons are readily available in the grocery store this time of year, but if you can’t find them substitute a mix of fresh lemon and orange juice.

Meyer Lemon Grilled Butter Shrimp

3 tablespoons dry white wine plus additional for soaking skewers

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1-tablespoon fresh meyer lemon juice

1 teaspoon of honey

4 garlic cloves, grated

2 tablespoons chopped parsley plus additional for garnish

1 pound extra-large shrimp, shelled and deveined (about 20 shrimp)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon Aleppo pepper, plus additional for garnish

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

4 slices meyer lemon

Soak 4 to 6 wooden skewers in Mark West Pinot Grigio for 30 minutes. In a bowl, mix 3 tablespoons wine, 1 tablespoon of oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic and parsley. Season the shrimp with kosher salt and pepper and add to the bowl, tossing to coat with marinade. Let stand for 15 minutes. Thread the shrimp onto skewers. Brush shrimp with half the melted butter; sprinkle with Aleppo pepper. Grill the shrimp, on a lightly greased grill pan, over moderate heat, basting with remaining butter and turning, until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, brush lemon slices with remaining teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Grill lemons for about 2 minutes per side; serve with shrimp. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper, if desired. 

IMG_0249

Tip: if using frozen shrimp look for bags labeled: IQF (Individual Quick Freezing) for better tasting and well shaped product. As always buy American.

 

SaveSave