The Endless Torment of the ‘Recipe?’ Guy

It has never occurred to me to be annoyed by this. And if you know me at all, you know that I am easily annoyed. Does being asked for a recipe upset people? Gift link, from me to youse.


I don’t know that this is a piece sharing a pet peeve, so much as it is exploring the meaning and implications of “recipe?!” as comment on social media food post. This is different to a request for a recipe when you’re at a restaurant, or at someone’s home.

This is, if I understand correctly, the comment that refuses to let a post of someone’s meal just be a post. It is a comment that smuggles in a host of demands, expectations, and assumptions, all of which erase the labour that goes into making a sharable recipe for use.

I’m not a food blogger or instagrammer but I have posted an image or two of a meal that made me particularly happy. And while I do not ever begrudge the request for a recipe, I always find it awkward as I tend not to have one (as such I share ingredients and a general prep method, but not much else). I think if this were my thing, I’d also be reflecting on demands for free labour and expectations that photographs/videos must be accompanied by a recipe, and what that might mean more broadly.

(Also, if I understand correctly, “Recipe?” is not a kindly or thoughtfully written request, but a one word post as demand.)

Anyway, that’s me blethering on. I found this quite interesting.


So I guess that’s a “yes” from you.

I don’t see a question as a demand. And while I get not wanting to do extra work, I don’t understand posting something and expecting to NOT get questions about it, if it’s interesting.

Implicit in the - I’ll just say it, whining - in that article is that maybe people who upload pictures of their food just want to get oohed at. And explicit in the comments (and in my head) is that there are very, very few recipes out there that owe their existence to one person. You can choose to call it “developing” a recipe, or you can call it what it is: riffing on something that’s already out there.

I’m not sure what you think I’m saying “yes” to. I found the piece an interesting reflection that identifies some issues implicit in the request. I did not see it as whining.


Not at all… Most of my recipes are either from my mother or some internet source.
I’ve typed up all of my mother’s recipes, so I have them in my “recipe binder” and have saved the corresponding .doc file, so its a quick copy/paste if someone wants the recipe.
As far as internet recipes, again its just a copy/paste function or I can scan the (hard copy) recipe, make a .pdf file and e-mail it to the person.
I’m glad to share anything from my recipe collection.
I’ve collected a few from this site (and printed) – just need to punch holes in them and into my binder for later use.


Mea culpa. I am one of the guys that take a recipe and change it to suit what I have in my pantry. Then review my own version of the recipe…
As I said, I am guilty.
I should apologize on AllRecipes but won’t. LOL!

That having been said, is there an online source of recipes that any of you use that is better than AllRecipes? Sorry for the OT digression. Like Dan I have a 3 hole binder full of recipes from dozens of sources but AllRecipes seems to be the #1 so far. I also used the old Betty Crocker red plaid book for my Mom’s old dishes, now that is comfort food. I have stored all of my stuff for a long RTW trip next month, but the binder was one of the first things I packed.


For me it kind of falls into two categories. If the request is from someone who is a decent cook, like my sisters, daughters, MIL or friends who cook a lot, it’s pretty easy to just bang out an email with the high points and I can trust them to fill in method details as they see fit, and likely they’ll still be happy with it.

In the Army my favorite dish to bring to potluck type meals was chili. I got so many requests for that one that I typed up (as in IBM Selectric) the recipe in complete detail and made copies of it, so when people said “Recipe?!”, I’d just bring them one from home the next day.

A few times now my wife has taken stuff in to work for potlucks and gotten requests for the recipe. This is the only one I find troublesome, although it doesn’t really upset me, either.

The problem I have is not knowing the general skill levels of any of the 5 or 7 women who asked my wife for the recipe (her job is mostly women). Can I just draft up the high points, or do I need to go into great detail, especially about methods? If I don’t, will the inexperienced cooks have a bad outcome? If I do, will this make experienced cooks think I’m “talking down” to them? Do I need to go into alternatives? (What if they don’t have a stand mixer/food processor/stick blender or some other necessary tool, and are inexperienced, will they figure out alternatives on their own?)

Other than the above, unlike @Desert-Dan and @ZivBnd, I was not really disciplined enough to type up family favorites to save, and I envy them that. I do still have that BC red plaid cookbook, though, and many of those are good comfort food starting points, as mentioned. Also, a good internet starting point for recipes that have been tested is Serious Eats - I’ve used AllRecipes sometimes, too, but generally think SE has better quality, but not the breadth of dishes that AR has. But mostly I just search the dish and open 5 or 6 highly-rated recipes (from whatever the source) and skim and combine. Sometimes this is a bad idea! Usually works well, though.


I see this on FB and Instagram quite often. Usually, the poster either puts the recipe or cookbook link in the post, or declines with whatever reason (family secret, they don’t have it etc.).

One post caught my eye yesterday after reading this article. Poster put up a few photos and their “freezer meal list” for the month. Naturally readers asked for recipes since some of the dishes had cutesy names like “almost lasagna” and “goddess peas” (or something equally non-descriptive). Instead of putting them in the post, there was a reply to each request saying the recipe was sent via DM. So the poster sent recipes to 25 or 30 people separately. And of course more people were asking for the recipes.

I can’t say I was annoyed but this, but why make so much work for yourself? If I post something to one of these forums, I put the name of the dish and the cookbook/show I got it from and I’ll gladly answer a few questions regarding prep, cookware, whatever.

And thank you for the gift link BTW… always appreciated!

Ah, ok then if that’s your question, I would say « no » on my part and « I couldn’t begin to guess » re « people ». But I also think there’s a lot more going on in the article you posted than that simple question, which is what I was talking about.
It’s my mistake. I didn’t see that you wanted to talk about a particular issue and not the article.

Love how you buried that one in this thread. Wonder if you’ll document your trip, either here or elsewhere? DM if you do, please. Bon voyage! Safe and healthy travels to you.

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I find people (some relatives) who won’t deviate from a recipe, to be inflexible sticklers .

For someone who is creative, recipes are a guide.

I think it’s stretching artistic intent and a little controlling for a recipe creator to expect others to make a recipe as it is written. You get credit for writing the recipe. What others do with it is a recipe is up to them.

Michael Smith encourages people to use his recipes as a guide.

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A funny story. Years ago I was friendly with another mother during little league. We were both invited to the same party one night. She brought spinach dip back when it was all the rage. She privately told me later on that every get together she’d ever been to before, everyone always asked for the recipe. So this time around she printed out several recipe cards in anticipation. She was more than a little bit miffed when nobody asked for the recipe . Unlike you, she expected it right then and not after.:slightly_smiling_face:


It bothers me because I don’t use recipes, ever, and when I tell people that they don’t believe me.


I didn’t read this as ordinary people being asked for recipes being annoyed. Rather a rant from people who are actually in the “food business” being annoyed by people they rely on as an audience.

Read a bit like celebs who complain about papps taking photos, but also need papps to take photos to keep them in the news.

Bec presumably these folks get paid either by insta for interactions or rely on followers for eyeballs and credibility. I dunno. The whole “unpaid labor” thing rang a bit false because social media does pay in their case, whether directly or indirectly. (But I’ll probably get roasted for this.)


I believe you. I have a whole hand-written recipe book from my mother that I was told not to use the quantities from because she made them up so I’d have something to refer to. So, basically, it’s a book of ingredients :rofl: (I laugh, but it’s exactly how I cook now, and also how I exchange recipes with friends - what’s in it, not too much of this, more of that, and so on: a roadmap not a formula.)


Me too.

That’s how my mom cooked as well, both at home and at our restaurant.

And that’s how I learned how to cook. By feel, touch, and taste.

Measurements are for scientists.

We are cooks.

(This is true for baked goods as well, but it’s usually ratios (e.g., two parts liquid to one part dry ingredient) and never precise grams of this or tablespoons of that).


I have done the same notebook for my daughter. I guesstimated the amounts of spices and seasonings and it’s awful how off I am and she and DH have to keep editing the notebook. I keep telling them to use the recipes as a rough guide, and to taste as they go and adjust accordingly.

My hand shakes or pinches the correct amount by muscle memory now. I also cook by look and taste.

I am in awe of recipe authors whose measurements are exact and yield great results. Endless recipe testing I guess.


For baking i would say that precise grams of this and that are how I get the desired ratios.

But this is probably because i have a heavy hand with the flour and measuring by cup I’m almost certain to be 2-3 Tbs over.

The other thing is charcuterie making. I got a “drug scale” as one daughter called it because my regular scale doesn’t do gram fractions and if I need 2g Prague #1, I definitely don’t want it to be in a range from 1.5g to 2.5g.

But then, I am a scientist, too. Or was at one point.


But you can tell them the ingredients and the method. Unless you can’t remember whether you put beef and broccoli in the beef and broccoli.