Sharing Recipes on-line a Delightful Idea Frequently poorly executed

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 15th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Do you love recipes? If you do love them and wish to publish them then there are a few simple rules that need to be followed. There are so many opportunities to make your work shine when demonstrating you culinary favourites. Let's face it we all love food, so why do a bad job sharing?

Introduction

Over many years I have seen many recipes produced on sites like Wikinut, yet I have to be honest and say that in my opinion recipes are the poorest quality pages produced anywhere in the world. Primarily this is because writers think it is simply a case of posting firstly a list of ingredients and secondly giving the briefest description of the method used.

Watch any cookery show on any channel on TV and it should be obvious this is entirely the wrong approach to sharing recipes.

Here is what every recipe needs:

  • The background
  • Provide a reason for trying it
  • The Ingredients
  • The method
  • Show pictures
  • The video
  • Serving & Presenting your food

To demonstrate this I will include a simple recipe that anyone can use to enhance the flavour of their morning cup of coffee.

Providing a Background

This will tell the reader where the recipe originates, for example "this is a traditional Italian recipe that my wife has used her own unique twist to add more spices, which I believe provides a greater depth of flavour" by making such a statement you are setting the scene as to why the reader may like your presentation, they will appreciate that you have used an opportunity to show a recipe that is unique in some way, because there are many different ways to make something like garlic bread.

TV presenters do this in their own unique way, for example by talking about the latest stops on their tour of Tuscany, showing how they select the ingredients, this helps set the scene for the viewer, perhaps assisting them understand why one variety of apple may be preferred over another or by talking about the aroma associated with a good sprig of parsley. These are all tips that will both set the scene and educate their audience.

If the TV presenter is doing this the writer must also set the scene. Take a look at the backdrop for the recipe I am presenting and you will see that it is possible to add a personal touch, include why you like it etc. This particular background is short but it does give information about where the writer encountered the idea and what makes it special, were this a recipe page then I would add more detail to the background.

Background - Cinnamon Coffee

This is a simple recipe that every coffee lover will appreciate. The idea originated from India where they love their teas, especially Marsala tea, which is boiled in milk well looking into that recipe it was clear that many of those ingredients can also be used to enhance the flavour of coffee, which has led to many experiments over several years using certain ingredients to compliment the taste of the coffee. This taste is not for all, but it is one of many ways that I have used to occasionally enhance the flavour of a morning coffee.

Providing a Reason for trying it

Look up any meal you can think about using Google and you will probably find a thousand recipes whether you intend to create a simple Macaroni Cheese or an aromatic Butter Chicken, there are many reasons why you may use a particular recipe, including:

  • It reminds you of something grandma used to make
  • You have all the ingredients in your pantry
  • It is visually appealing
  • It sounds practical
  • It is simple to make

In a way this is where you will appeal to your reader as to why they should use your recipe this is where you have to advertise its virtues. Lets have a look at how I might do this for my Cinnamon Coffee recipe, you should get the idea here that this is all about telling a story, it is because I will be honest I will be gone in 30 seconds if there is nothing to excite the taste-buds and an ingredients list will not do that.

Cinnamon Coffee: Enhancing your Cuppa

Everyone loves cinnamon buns, well have you ever thought of mixing cinnamon with your coffee? It is not for everyone, but if you love your cuppa to be brewed in a cafetière using freshly ground beans then this recipe could be the delightful twist you have been waiting for, it is probably best tasted when drunk black, but it will enhance your coffee even if you have it with a little cream.

Adding The Ingredients

This is the start of the business end of your recipe, but the list of ingredients does not have to be boring, just like the TV chef you could discuss the importance of each ingredient, perhaps suggest alternatives - particularly where you know family members that have allergies to specific ingredients and you are aware of good alternatives, this is where you can advise the audience of ways to enhance the recipe, perhaps the addition of pepper to the ingredients list, or how sea-salt provides a stronger flavour to table salt.

With all recipes there are options, if you don't suggest them then others will probably try them anyway, but that also gives you the opportunity to provide alternatives, but demonstrate to core ingredients that should not change and the value they give your contribution.

Cinnamon Coffee: Ingredients

1 medium sized stick of fresh cinnamon approximately 2.5 inches (60 mm) in length
2 handfuls of coffee beans

In addition to cinnamon (or in place of it) you may further enhance the flavour by adding 1 or 2 cloves, or 3 to 4 cardamom, indeed all three work well when ground together.

Demonstrating the Method

This is perhaps the most valuable discussion in the entire recipe, the steps you take must cover everything in the minutest detail, do not assume that your reader has ever done this element before, for example they may not know how to kneed dough, you should tell them how many minutes they should be performing this operation and the type of texture they are looking for. If the specific element is particularly complex it may be wise to add a video that demonstrates how it works - that shows the reader the required action in a way that words may not.

Make sure you include all the details are included - this is where the importance of editing your article comes into its own here because any mistake shines out like a neon light, read it through and make sure it describes each step in detail.

Cinnamon Coffee: Method

Add to Blender

Cinnamon is added to the coffee beans when ground, there are two ways to do this either adding it to the coffee grinder before any coffee beans are added or after you have added a small handful of beans. The video shows the cinnamon broken into strips of about half an inch before adding any coffee beans to the grinder.

Grind the mixture

I use the grinder set at coarse so that larger chunks of coffee bean and cinnamon come through - I find that this gives a better depth of flavour.

Transfer to Cafetière

Ensure that you remove the filter before transferring the powdery mixture to the cafetière then add hot water.

Pictures and Video

As with any article a picture adds weight to the article, but consider this when presenting the ingredients a picture can be very helpful, especially when showing an unusual ingredient.

It is almost obligatory to include a video when presenting a recipe, especially for more complex recipes. Things such as soufflés are extremely delicate and are often best described in words and presented in video form. Also think about who is in your video - a recipe is best if the video is presented by the person presenting the article.

Serving and Presenting your food

Here is another lesson we should learn from the TV chefs, 90 percent of food is all about presentation. The taste may all be in the method you use to prepare the dish but how you present it at the end of the day is all about how others will understand your recipe.

Firstly, it is my belief that if you have cooked it photograph it and use the photograph as an image that will present you recipe in the best of light. Show us that roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, or the lamb chops served with roast potatoes and mint sauce are so delicious that the reader cannot pass them by.

The Perfect Recipe?

If you have the perfect recipe then please do share it but do the best to ignite the readers senses.

To date Peter Giblett has published a wide variety articles here on Wikinut plus a variety of other sites, these are the most recent Wikinut articles include:

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is great a place for you to share some of your wisdom, insight and knowledge, you could start by adding a comment, but perhaps you need something more in which case should join Wikinut, write then become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.

Tags

Alternatives, List Of Ingredients, Method Used, Origin, Poorest Quality Pages, Presenting Your Food, Recipes, Serving Your Food, Sharing Recipes, Wrong Approach

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
16th Jun 2014 (#)

And above all, do NOT copy from other websites or recipe books. I have rejected a ton of plagiarized recipes, even from seasoned writers who should know better. If you did not make it up, do not submit it here. I am sure I have missed some and published a few by mistakes.

YES a longer article with more information, and pictures, will tend to do better than the minimum, and we do reject posts for being too short!

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author avatar Ptrikha
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Great tips on presenting recipes, and writing articles and/or blogs on them. I have shared a few recipes on Bubblews, but did not follow any plan to present them. Perhaps, the next time, I shall share one on Wikinut with images, videos and with a well planned outline.

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author avatar snerfu
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Nice to see articles on cooking, it reminds me of my mother and her cooking.

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author avatar WOGIAM
16th Jun 2014 (#)

I have not seen many articles on food, recipes and cooking here. Thank you for sharing this.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
16th Jun 2014 (#)

One of the reasons you don't see many is that few reach the status of being featured pages

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
16th Jun 2014 (#)

just like poetry!!!ha ha ha had to say this Peter with my tongue in my cheek!!!!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Carolina, I know you are laughing but this is very similar to the challenge of poetry, the video and pictures are each worth a thousand words, but unlike poetry the pictorial elements jingle the tastebuds.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
16th Jun 2014 (#)

great information and lovely pics...thank you Peter...

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author avatar johnbee
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Good info.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
17th Jun 2014 (#)

Very interesting post!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
3rd Jul 2014 (#)

Nicely illustrated. now you have a tutorial to send people when you reject their articles! ;) Like Carolina, I laugh as I cringe. I've seen a few that just post recipe after recipe and think there's nothing to it -- just one picture and go. It should be so much more!!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Jul 2014 (#)

Thank you Phyl, this is one of the challenges I have had in moderating recipes.

BTW - I have been out of commission for the a little while and unable to respond or take part in Wikinut and am hoping things change soon.

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author avatar JayeByrd
28th Jul 2014 (#)

Good article. Just chock full of tips on how to present a recipe. I love to cook, so will have to try doing a recipe page. Soups are my big thing.
I have finally purchased a digital camera so should be able to try adding images. All I have to do is learn how to use it. Seeing food always gives me an appetite. I always appreciate anything a fellow writer does to help me improve my craft. Have you tried doing your own Mexican coffee by adding cinnamon and cocoa to the ground coffee in the filter/basket when making your coffee?

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