PDA

View Full Version : Cooking Light editorial change



Basil87
05-01-2005, 10:53 AM
Anyone else bothered by a change in the way Cooking Light now lists recipe ingredients? Two examples from the current issue: "preshredded carrots" and "prechopped onions" .... YUCK!

The writers and editors can't mean that we need to purchase ready-to-use chopped onions, so they must mean to chop before we start assembling the recipe. This makes no grammatical sense. It's along the same lines as "preboarding" the airplane...the Saturday Night Live-type jokes about this are abundant, to the point it's almost a cliche: how are we supposed to get on before we get on!?

This change in descriptive language used by Cooking Light is disappointing to say the least. While it may seem petty, language is evolving, and writers and editors have a responsibility to use it properly, as they are in a position to set an example. There is no reason for this change that I can see, it makes no sense, and it sets a bad precedent. Why not just say something along the lines of "we recommend readying ingredients prior to assembling recipes" or some such disclaimer.

Thankfully, this did not apply to all ingredients in all recipes, but even one is too many. I hope this format reverts back to the earlier standards by the next issue.

Grace
05-01-2005, 10:58 AM
I take it to mean they ARE referring to purchased pre-shredded carrots and prechopped onions. The stores carry these items, and in an effort to help people save time in the kitchen they make use of them. I buy pre-shredded carrots now and again although I don't bother with prechopped onions only because I use my small food processor to chop onions - I never do them by hand. If I didn't have a food processor, I might be inclined to get the prechopped onions to save myself the time.

I really don't think it's about butchering up the english language and it's all about using the stuff that you find in your local grocery store. I also think they're not trying to say we NEED to go buy those ingredients, but more as a reminder that this is one way to save yourself some time. The CL police won't show up to arrest you if you choose to shred/chop your own vegetables.

sneezles
05-01-2005, 11:13 AM
I also took it to mean using the pre-shredded or chopped or sliced ingredients from the grocery store. Doesn't mean you have to use it but some cooks get overwhelmed with preparation and using the ingredients allows them to prepare a dish quicker especially helpful to those who work full-time.
I also buy shredded carrots and pre-sliced mushrooms (depending on my mood) but not onions or celery...not to say that if I was close enough to a grocery store and needed last minute ingredients that I wouldn't buy them. ;)
Since many of us here tweak recipes to suit our personal needs I don't think most would be bothered by those listings and would just carry-on as usual.

gobluem82
05-01-2005, 12:57 PM
I think that CL tends to call for prechopped or preshredded ingredients in their "Superfast" columns to keep the preparation times to a minimum. For those of us who aren't inclined to buy pre-prepared ingredients, the dishes just won't be quite so "superfast". You probably won't find nearly as many references to these ingredients in the other columns.

funnybone
05-01-2005, 01:06 PM
I don't necessarily interpret it as meaning buying these items prechopped. I've heard where some people will chop onions, celery, etc. ahead of time and keep them in the fridge rather than freshly chopping each time, to save time. Also, if the recipe lists "1 cup prechopped onion", rather than "1 medium onion", it gives those who like to be more exact, a better understanding on how much they really need to use in a recipe. I don't it as a negative.

dlaboriel
05-02-2005, 01:53 AM
Originally posted by funnybone
I don't necessarily interpret it as meaning buying these items prechopped. I've heard where some people will chop onions, celery, etc. ahead of time and keep them in the fridge rather than freshly chopping each time, to save time. Also, if the recipe lists "1 cup prechopped onion", rather than "1 medium onion", it gives those who like to be more exact, a better understanding on how much they really need to use in a recipe. I don't it as a negative.

I agree, Funnybone. I am one of those who do the chopping of celery, onions and green peppers ahead and store them in zip loc bags.

funniegrrl
05-02-2005, 01:38 PM
I DO think they are saying "1 cup of shredded carrots you buy in a baggie" but I DON'T think they should be doing that in a recipe. You can say "1 cup shredded carrots" and then have the person making the recipe decide exactly how to obtain said cup of shredded carrots. If they want to emphasize that use of these products is OK and will contribute to the speediness of preparation, then that can be in a note at the top or bottom of the recipe. Dictating it in the ingredient list itself makes it sound important to the success of the recipe. I'd rather have novice cooks understand that there are multiple ways of obtaining shredded carrots rather than have them assume that ONLY the kind in the baggie will work.

Grace
05-02-2005, 02:36 PM
I see your point, funnigrrl, but you have to remember that this is a board of people who cook. Not everyone cooks and not everyone realizes even that some of those items are available. If they didn't specify the kind that are preshredded, I guarantee there would be a whole bunch of people writing them and complaining that their "20 minute recipe" took them an hour because they spent so much time chopping veggies. If they're going to promote a specific recipe as truly taking only 10 minutes or 20 minutes (or whatever), and the way that comes about is by actually USING those prechopped items, then that's the fair way to go about it. By allowing the reader to assume that the test kitchen did chop the veggies themselves, and only make some side-note about how you could really save some "more" time by buying the store bought stuff, they wouldn't really be truthful then in their timing and it might also lead a novice to believe that they are particularly slow or inept in the kitchen. Also, not everyone reads those side-notes. Many people just read the recipe. Imagine the novice cook who reads the recipe, buys carrots, spends time chopping them, buys onions, spends time chopping them and then gets mad because it took them 45 minutes to make a dish that was supposed to take 20. Then you tell them, "didn't you read the fine print?" when they complain.

Sort of like a truth in advertising law. They advertise that the recipe takes 10 minutes to prepare. Well, that's true if you're using the store bought stuff, so they call for the store bought stuff. People are certainly free to spend more time than the said 10 minutes preparing the dish if they want to chop their own veggies. But it takes CL off the hook when it takes more than the specified 10 minutes to prepare.

Editing to add that your point is that you think it makes it look like the store bought stuff is key to the success of the recipe. Well it actually IS, if you consider that something besides just the taste makes a recipe successful. For some people, how long it takes to prepare is an important issue - for some it's even more important than the taste! (Think about all the people who eat garbage-y fast food!). So for the recipe to be successful in terms of it being a superfast recipe, then the preshredded stuff IS key.