Huffpost Taste

America Has Stopped Cooking, And Here's How Our Recipes Are Suffering For It

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Something has shifted in the hundreds of years that recipes have been written: people stopped cooking every day. Not everyone, of course, but a lot of us did. In the days of generations past, our ancestors learned how to cook by watching their parents or grandparents cook three meals a day, like clockwork. Today, these at-home lessons hardly exist, and it's largely due to the changing landscape of the workforce. With the transition from living off the land to sitting in front of computers, along with the convenience of frozen dinners and take-out food, cooking has become more of a luxury hobby than an everyday necessity.

It's why so many people are uneasy in the kitchen. They're scared of the stove. Terrified of braising. And they haven't got the faintest idea what the difference is between chopping and mincing. We can't even begin to count the benefits of our modern day society -- they are too great and varied -- but it has proven to be a sad time for cooking.

It has resulted in border-line insulting recipe language that's become common practice in our favorite cookbooks. And it's nobody's fault but our own.

If you read any modern cookbook, you'll be babied through the cooking process, one step at a time, no stone left unturned. It used to be that recipes were handed down as a suggestion -- they were written as they were told, and they were brief and to the point. We found a recipe from 1912 for chowder that was no more than four sentences long. Now a days, you can find a chowder recipe that goes on for two pages -- no lie. Why? Because every single painstaking detail is being documented. It's as though the recipe writers have lost their faith in our ability to make a meal.

There are countless examples of this in all of our favorite recipe books. And we too have caught ourselves using this language regularly. But we've rounded up the 10 silliest pieces of recipe terminology, just because. (And guys, we did not make these up.)

  • 1
    "Stir together all ingredients exactly 15 times to form a ragged, slightly sticky dough."
    CO2 via Getty Images
    Seriously? Are you sure? What will happen if I lose count and stir it 16 times? Or if I stop at 14? Will it explode????
  • 2
    "Spread the hazelnuts on a third baking sheet and toast for 12 to 14 minutes, until browned."
    ASColgan Photography via Getty Images
    Oh, I almost piled the hazelnuts in the center of the oven. Whoops!
  • 3
    "Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature."
    Danielle D. Hughson via Getty Images
    Oh, is that how you serve cake? We've always wondered.
  • 4
    "In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium-high speed until soft peaks form."
    Dorling Kindersley via Getty Images
    Just because they said that, we're going to beat the egg whites with a belt.
  • 5
    "Set aside."
    Chris Gramly via Getty Images
    We would have so many ingredients in front of us if recipes didn't remind us to set things aside.
  • 6
    "Drain the pasta and add to the bowl."
    Marta Nardini via Getty Images
    Show of hands: how many of you would add the pasta and all the water you used to cook it in to the bowl?
  • 7
    "Transfer to a plate."
    Jodie Griggs via Getty Images
    Somehow, banking terminology made its way into our recipes.
  • 8
    "Remove from the heat and serve.
    Sarka Babicka via Getty Images
    In case you were confused as to what to do when everything finished cooking.
  • 9
    "Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round."
    William Reavell via Getty Images
    But I want to cut it with my teeth.
  • 10
    "Serve immediately."
    Juan Carlos Pascual via Getty Images
    The food is ready NOW. GO!


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