My favorite genre of internet criticism is the recipe review that lists all the modifications the home cook made to the original recipe and then goes on to offer a glowing review as if the dish the commenter concocted has anything to do with the recipe. Epicurious, the Condé Nast food site that compiles recipes from Bon Appétit and other pop-gourmet magazines (including, well, Gourmet), is a particularly great source for these, possibly because it’s just sliiiiightly pretentious. (Exhibit A: I’ve already had to type “é” twice in this short paragraph.) Most Epicurious users seem blithely confident of their abilities to freestyle it Ruhlmann-style, and they are not afraid to tell you about it.
To be clear, I’m not opposed to making do with what you have on hand while cooking; every home cook does this around the edges of recipes, and why not? You don’t have turnips; you use potatoes. No thyme; toss in some rosemary. Your rural New Hampshire grocery store doesn’t know what queso fresco is; crumble up some feta. What cracks me up is when a person does this 10 times in a single recipe, tweaking her way all the way to a new, and often disgusting-sounding, foodstuff and then still feels the need to weigh in about it online as if this could possibly be useful.
Here are three of my favorite comments on recipes that I make frequently, with my own comments in brackets within.