Give Me the Recipe or I Will Cut You

A nice, non-contentious post, for a change.

If you read many food blogs, you’ve probably noticed the tremendous amount of wittering that precedes any recipe, if and when they actually get around to posting recipes. And when they’re American they get the fucking things wrong anyway; vegetables should never be measured by volume. Whenever I see one of those posts, I want to reach through the screen and strangle someone. It’s the most middle-class bullshit I’ve ever read1. You know the sort of thing:

Mondays are so stressful! I was already jet-lagged after the transatlantic flight from my
vacation; I was in a Tuscan villa, dining with other food bloggers and recipe book writers
that nobody outside of my tiny circle of elitist linked blogs has ever heard of. Despite
the horror of being tired, I had to take Rupert to his morning freestyle Jazz clarinet
lesson then ice dancing—if he doesn’t master both by the time he’s four I’ll feel like a
failure and take it out on him by replacing all signs of love and affection with icy
detachment—but one of the people I was holidaying with showed me this recipe, and it’s
nut-free, carb-free, fat-free, protein-free, completely breatharian, gives your body a
full detox because everyone knows that the kidneys and liver don’t do that anyway, fits
perfectly with the Jurassic diet—which is the next step from paleo and if you eat
anything else you are literally poisoning yourself—and photosynthesises oxygen from the
light of sanctimony that shines out of the arsehole of everyone who understands my perfect
philosophy as revealed to me by Jesus during a whole-spirit wellness cleanse crystal diet.
It’s is the only way for humanity to truly engage with food, and until you’ve done one you
shouldn’t really be allowed to eat…

I’d rather stick a pack of Mentos up my arse and get a Diet Coke enema than read ten paragraphs of this absolute bollocks. I mean, I don’t wish to engage in hyperbole2, but **saying that everyone who writes this drivel should be burned alive is an insult to fire***.

And then they add the ridiculous tarted-up instagram-filtered pictures of food that’s clearly never going to meet the inside of someone’s stomach. It’s food that’s been laid out in the middle of a garden of leaves and seeds, plastered with every kind of crap under the sun to make it look photogenic, with bits of herb gently fluttering onto a bowl like confetti at a wedding or flour photogenically leaping at the sky at the impact of an egg, all shot in an impossibly-clean kitchen the size of an aircraft hangar. Can youse bastards work a camera with broken fingers? Because that’s what you deserve, you complete and utter wankers.

So here’s the deal. If you want a recipe, I’ll bet my left bollock that you don’t give a fuck about how it took so long to perfect but finally made me all tingly inside, because it finally matched the experience of the first time I ate it, even though that was with my trousers round my ankles and a particularly talented Lithuanian prostitute under the table. The reader cannot wait to avoid the absolute arse-ache of reading how a recipe it matches my personal philosophy about precisely how often pigs should be masturbated to yield the perfect pork chop. If a dish I’ve cooked is good enough to cause a spontaneous orgasm or three3 then yeah, I’ll write about how it does that. But I won’t make you scroll through that to find the recipe. On this blog, “How it feels” and “How to make it” each have their separate posts, with cross-links, because I’m not a monster who thinks my experience is more important than your cooking—and who uses that to implicitly shame anyone who finally reaches the recipe, cooks it, and thinks *Is that it? That was a pile of bland toss.”

I will add pictures to recipes. Unlike every other food blog on the motherfucking planet, these pictures are of the plate right before I start eating. Yeah, the plate or bowl’s going to be a bit messy. Deal with it. What you see is what goes into my stomach. 100%, all the time, no bullshit.

And if I break that rule? Self-immolation is a hell of a way to go, but I promise to marinade myself appropriately so you can all get some excellent long-pig sandwiches. Bring your own bread. But maybe avoid the liver….

  1. Bear in mind I stay away from things like newspapers, in order to avoid murder sprees. 
  2. He lied. 
  3. Just saying, if anyone fancies dinner… 

Cups Must Die

Let’s start this blog with a lovely, non-controversial topic that’s guaranteed not to annoy anyone at all with its sweet fluffiness. After all, start as you mean to go on, and all that…

Actually, knackers to that. Let’s swear at an entire country.

Dear America: You are doing recipes wrong. Specifically, you are fucking up measurements. For a change I’m not talking about your irrational attachment to an antiquated and hideous system of measurement that no sane person would use given that the metric system is a thing and base-10 is literally the easiest counting method on the planet (except for people from Glenrothes, or Norfolk).

No, this is about your irrational desire to measure non-liquid ingredients by volume.

It’s… not acceptable, but understandable why you might mistake this for a suitable practice when using fine powders or crystals, where a change in particle alignment will not result in a great change in quantity at the amounts used in most home cooking1. Once you get larger than things like sugar, however, the practice is idiotic.

I have read American recipes—actually in cookbooks, not just by morons on the internet—that call for diced peppers, sliced mushrooms, etc to be measured in cups. Which, for readers who don’t live in a backwards hellhole, is a unit of volume. Yes, even though the fluid ounce and the pint are both also used for volume in the USA (despite their pints being fucking tiny, presumably to charge more for shit-awful beer).

Quite apart making sure everybody in sane locations has to sit around with a conversion chart to find out what actual volume your recipes are dribbling on about, no two cups of chopped vegetables will ever yield the same amount. The particles are too big.

If you’re unable to fathom this basic principle of geometry, might I suggest purchasing a number of wooden blocks. As they are normally sold to parents for the enjoyment of small children, you may find the bright primary colours soothing as I explain something that should be so fucking intuitive that I don’t need to teach it to a goddamn chimp. The blocks won’t just distract you from me calling you every name under the sun, they are a vital teaching aide.

Take eight blocks. Make them into a cube, two blocks on a side. Measure that cube. Now, turn them so they’re arranged in a diamond pattern, touching at the edges only. Measure the resulting cube. Now, balance them carefully (get someone from a grown-up country to help) so that each block only touches the others at the corners. Measure the resulting cube.

See how the measurements are all different? Yet they all contain the same number of blocks. So if you always want eight blocks, you can’t guarantee any of the overall measurements will get you eight blocks, because you can’t predict how they will stack.

And that’s why cups are a hideous measurement for dry ingredients. Just fucking stop, okay?

  1. Though if you bake using anything other than strict weights you are an idiot who deserves the ridiculously variable results. Though given America’s attachment to awful sugary-sweet bread you may not even notice.