Recipes, Pinterest and learning. In which I am a snob...

I'm sure I've ranted about this before, but what the heck, it's my blog and I'll rant if I want to. (Hands up if you are now singing)

Recipes. I was looking at some recipes on Pinterest because I fancied some new ideas for the new year. And Pinterest is full of attractive pictures of delicious food.

But it soon became clear that many pinners had a different view to what constituted a recipe than me. I sort of felt there should be a minimum of 'made' ingredients, and that something needed to be done to the ingredients besides opening a pack and heating them. Seems not, at least on Pinterest. After my shock that there are people in the world that think a pack of ravioli covered in tomato soup and heated is a recipe (add grated cheese to ring the changes!) I was confronted by recipes where the main ingredient was "cake mix", "pancake mix" or even "butterscotch pudding mix".

Examples on this board ...

I don't expect people to be making their own cheese, whipping up their own mayonnaise, or hand baking bread every day (though it's nice to try it and maybe do it sometimes) but to me a recipe involves more than just some "food combining" "compiling" or "warming". It involves doing stuff to some basics.

I'm not such a snob (I am a snob just not so much of one...) that I shun any pre-made foods, or avoid any shortcut. I use tinned beans, bought pasta, tomato purée in a tube and a myriad of other handy things but I don't call beans on toast a "recipe"...even if I add some Worcester sauce (which is yum by the way) I don't start a recipe with "buy some ready made ..."  (Though of course the option is always there to use some ready made bits as a shortcut, eh Nigella?) but I don't add it to the recipe.

So. Things I have learned from Pinterest: not everyone can cook, there are people who think packet mix is a recipe, you can fry everything, and I'm a judgey judgey person.

Do not get me started on what things Pinterest thinks you can fry...pasta is just the beginning, pizza? Yep, Oreos? Apparently...and so it goes on.

I have discovered that i need to add the term "from scratch" to any recipe search on Pinterest. And in doing so I have discovered a great blog http://www.tastesbetterfromscratch.com/ where there are some great recipes.

Some basics that I try and keep in the cupboard all the time include (but are not restricted to); cheese, butter, milk, eggs, flour, pasta (dried, yes I know), lentils, raisins, sugar, honey, oil, ...

took to twitter with my rant and I'm not alone. Where do you draw the line? What is a basic to you? Is pancake mix a lazy mix too far or a pantry staple? Can you fry cake? What's your favourite recipe? I genuinely want to know, I still need ideas.

Bacon, leek and pasta in cheese sauce.


  1. What's sad is that really it's the manufacturers behind these posts. They sponsor the bloggers to use their cake mixes oftentimes.

    Companies are creating a culture where cooking is perceived as difficult. Programmes like Great British Bake Off are almost counter productive as baking is turned into a competitive, difficult looking activity and not a normal part of every day life.

    What is sad is that people are being sold a lie inside a cardboard box of Enumbers, fillers and lord knows what else.

    Although these recipes are funny, the underlying message is actually really sad.

    1. I hadn't thought about those competition style baking shows like that but you are right, it turns a simple daily thing into a complicated act that only a 'professional' can do well. It's a shame, and sad that companies can convince people that their 'ready mixes' are easy while stirring some flour, sugar, fat and egg is difficult!

      I'm still laughing though....

  2. Looks like most of those "recipes" are American. I have an American cook book which includes loads of packets and jars of stuff, most of which I can't buy anyway. I remember many of our American co-workers in Madrid (Spain) having packet mix stuff sent over so that they could make meals.
    Meals from scratch not only taste better but are cheaper too. I know you can buy frozen lasagne for 99p and I've heard people say, "I couldn't make it for that". Yes you could if you only used about an ounce of meat and lots of thickening gloop!!