Honest Food Writing

7308395186_2a1b2b9caf_oI recently purchased the Dutch translation of the book Deliciously Ella Every Day, written by popular food blogger Ella Mills. It caught my eye at my local supermarket, and I put it into my basket with good hope after reading some very positive reviews.
While the book is a pleasure to leaf through and has good tips for those new to a vegan lifestyle, I am losing faith after a few major recipe fails — especially the one that took place yesterday when I decided to ‘treat’ my family to her carrot cake muffins for breakfast. I should have stopped and not even attempted them after first reading through the recipe. How could they possibly work with mostly wet ingredients? Well, they didn’t. The result was moist, overly sweet little blobs that ended up in the bin. After almost an hour in the oven (the 35 minutes stated in the recipe would have resulted in liquid ‘muffins’), I ended up making eggs on toast instead.
Until recently, I wouldn’t have even tried a recipe such as this one. Or, I would have adapted it to make sure it would work. But I am trying to give cookbooks an honest shot these days, so I follow the recipes exactly as they are written. And nine times out of ten, I end up kicking myself for doing that, because if there is one thing that really irritates me, it’s a poorly written recipe. One that was probably never tested. As a food writer, I find it particularly disrespectful to your audience. You see, there are actually people out there who are not just interested in pretty pictures, but in GOOD, solid recipe writing. And who hate to waste money on disappointing kitchen failures.
I often wonder how some of these books sell like hotcakes. Clever marketing? Adoring fans who are too intimidated to report on their flops? Or maybe they don’t even attempt to actually cook from the books?
It is high time for food writing to be left to the hands of those who can truly create recipes and do so with passion, veracity and respect.
PS: By the same token, I should write about how food blogging is becoming one big marketing joke. Honesty is a rare thing when large sums of money are involved.

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