July Monthly Mouthful

We usually like to ask our favorite bloggers what they like to cook, but this month we wanted to know what they won’t cook! Every cook draws the line somewhere and we wanted to know where that line is. So we asked:

What is your recipe deal breaker? What instructions or ingredients make you “put down the whisk and walk away”?

(We were inspired by this article from the New York Times.)

Read the responses after the jump and share your recipe deal breaker in the comments below!

Sharon from Chocolate Chipped

This is a great question, because I love to cook but there are definitely some recipes that make me go “no way!”.

I definitely shy away from any recipe requiring the use of a candy thermometer. I think this goes back to me being an artsy person and having an aversion to anything resembling science or chemistry (although I do love to bake and that is sort of an art and a science in one).

But I just find it too hard to stir, watch, and check an ever escalating temp and pull the pan off the heat all of the sudden–too much pressure!

Other than that, I think I’m okay although I definitely steer towards shorter recipes–I figure the longer the recipe is, the greater chance that I’ll mess it up :-).


Christie from Fig and Cherry

I refuse to add MSG or artificial colours to a dish – I think fresh produce and other delights from mother nature provide all the flavours and colours I could ever need!

Also, I’d probably avoid a recipe that involved actually killing, plucking, skinning and butchering an animal myself. Just too dangerous :)


Lydia from The Perfect Pantry

No recipes-within-recipes! If I need to make three other sauces before I can get to the main recipe, I’m out. I remember when Barbara Tropp’s China Moon cookbook came out, years ago, and everyone was so excited about it because the restaurant was wonderful. But almost every recipe in the book required you to make this special sauce, and that special condiment, before you could even get started. So I went all through the book, picked out the handful of recipes that didn’t require all of the additional sauce making, and those were the only ones I ever made.


Stef from Cupcake Project

My deal breaker is any cake recipe that lists cake mix as one of the ingredients. Cake mix is not an ingredient. Call me a cake snob, but I like to start from scratch and have complete control of what’s in my mix.


Melissa from Alosha’s Kitchen

My recipe deal breaker would be if I had to go out and buy a new piece of equipment that I couldn’t – or didn’t want to – afford right then.

As an aside, right now I don’t make recipes that call for grilling, which is especially sad since it’s summer. I don’t have a grill and, while I did find out that I am able to have one where I live, the space where it would sit would be really hard on my neighbors. I’m considering getting one anyway!


Lore from Culinarity

If I spot any ingredients that are added only to improve the looks of a dish (like food colouring containing synthetic dyes or gelatin) without adding something more to the taste I usually walk away.

Another recipe deal breaker would be too much sugar. That’s not only because of the health aspect but it’s also because I want to be able to feel all the other flavours and too much sugar just kills that for me.

Too much butter, too many egg yolks or hours and hours of preparation time would also make me run for my life :)


Rita from Clumbsy Cookie

I think the ultimate deal breaker for me was a vacuum cleaner as an utensil in a recipe! I was in a bookshop checking this book written by the great British chef from Fat Duck restaurant when I came across that in a recipe for a Black Forest Cake. I’ve closed the book and walked away!


Ruth from Once Upon a Feast

My deal breaker…unless I’m spending the afternoon cooking with my daughter is anything fussy. All those lovely stuffed dumplings or ravioli…way to much work. I’d rather eat someone else’s efforts.

Another deal breaker, usually…too many pots and pans or too many steps.


Kris from To Be Mrs. Marv

When I was a teenager, I used to visit my friend’s very Jewish grandmother. When she would ask if I wanted anything to drink, I’d say, “glass of water please.” She’d answer, “Water?! Who can live on that?” (Needless to say, I still think this is hilarious.) Pretty much any time I see water in the list of ingredients I hear her voice in my head. It is a deal breaker. The main exceptions, of course, is in baking or to thin things out. Otherwise, really all you’re doing is watering down your flavors or missing the opportunity to add more flavor.


Jessie from Cakespy

For me, it’s deep frying. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love to eat deep fried foods as much as the next person, but in my home, with the combination of a tiny kitchen with my complete and utter lack of coordination…well, unless one has a masochistic desire for grease burns, let’s just say it’s better to be baked, not fried, chez Cakespy.


Dina from Miche Mache

A deal breaker for me is any recipe that has more than 10 ingredients. I think some of the best recipes are the one’s that are the simplest and only require a few ingredients. Plus, I don’t have the patience for recipe that will take all day to make! Oh and even worse is a recipe within a recipe….I know you guys know what I’m talking about!


Thanks to all who participated in this Monthly Mouthful and for continuing to indulge our food-related questions! If you were not contacted for this month’s Monthly Mouthful and would like to be included in future Monthly Mouthfuls, please e-mail us at chewonthatblog [at] gmail [dot] com

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  • http://www.chocolatechipped.com Sharon (Chocolate Chipped)

    Good answers here–some that I’m all for but didn’t think of until now!

    For instance–I also balk at the “recipe-within-a-recipe” sort of thing. That just makes my brain hurt.

  • http://onceuponafeast.blogspot.com Ruth

    Great answers…which actually had my head nodding in agreement.

    Thanks for another good question. I can’t wait to see what’s up for next month.

  • http://www.clumbsycookie.blogspot.com/ Clumbsy Cookie

    This was fun to read!

  • http://noblepig.com/ noble pig

    This is an awesome post..so intersting to read.

  • http://sososimple.blogspot.com gilli

    Hi Hillary Better late than never, sorry. My recipe breaker is plucking or skinning any game.
    When I was a child, chicken was a luxury only eaten on holidays. My father killed it and my mother plucked and dressed it. I was fascinated with the whole job and loved watching her. All very organic. I hated the smell of the wet feathers, but always liked to see the unlaid eggs, which of course went into the stuffing. The offal was used for the gravy.
    I would never do it now though. Thank God for the development of Organic Chickens for everyday use.
    By the way we lived in town not the country.

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie @ fig&cherry

    I can so relate to a ‘recipe within a recipe’ – sometimes it’s annoying, but sometimes (when you have loads of time on your hands) it’s really worth it!

  • http://www.noshtalgia.blogspot.com Julie

    Without question it would be “Puff Pastry”, way too much work. The frozen puff pastry is fabulous, easy and just as delicioius.

  • http://aloshaskitchen.blogspot.com melissa

    Always love reading these. Thanks Hillary!

  • http://MonthlyMouthful Vi

    I wholeheartedly agree with all of the wonderful and thoughtful comments but I think what turns me off immediately first of all, is baking with YEAST! I no longer have the patience to ‘cover and let rise’, etc. And rolling out, too. I have two rolling pins and never use them. But so many of the other ‘will not’s’ are just absolutely great and I fully agree. Great responses.

  • Addie

    Sweetbreads! All those weird organs. Although I do like calves liver. Any recipe that is broken down into two or more parts. Any recipe that has the word “overnight” in it. Any recipe that calls for very ultra expensive ingredients. (saffron) Any recipe that lists the ingredients as part of the directions instead of listing them separate. Any recipe that has a list of ingredients longer than the directions. Any recipe that has foreign words in it that I can’t pronouce or know the meaning of. I think that pretty much covers it.

  • http://www.anotherwineblog.com/ Joe Power

    I was surprised to see answers that basically said that difficulty was the deal breaker for so many of these folks. I was expecting to read things like, “If it involves opening a can of Campbell’s mushroom soup because that’s what Sandra Lee likes…”

    Oh well…

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