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Recovering from Recipe Failure

Last night I made two different kinds of veggie burgers.  Both versions turned out like starchy, flavorless hockey pucks.

I attempted this cooking project after searching stores for something I could feed Lucy that was a combo of veggies, grains, and protein.  While there were some tasty-looking veggie burger options, they were all loaded with sodium (40% of Daily Value – and that’s for an adult!).  So I thought I’d just make my own, but instead of whipping up something yummy and healthy, I ended up with a huge mess in the kitchen, wasted food in the garbage can, and a feeling of discouragement.

Recipe failures (or in my case, lack-of-using-a-recipe failures) happen to the best of us from time to time.  Here is how I go about recovering from them:

1.  Try again – and soon.  If I do some research and find a good recipe, I’ll make these again this week.  The longer I wait, the less motivated I am to try again.  Making your failed recipe again soon is a good way to restore faith in yourself and get some practice under your belt.

2.  Read through a recipe before you start cooking.  If you’ve ever gotten to step 5 only to see that you have to “refrigerate for 2 days” and you have company coming in an hour, you know what I’m talking about.  Read through an entire recipe before beginning to shop or cook.  This will prevent a large percentage of recipe failures!

3.  Attempt only highly-rated recipes.  Most recipe sites allow people to review and comment on recipes.  Look through a handful of the reviews before you choose a recipe.  If there’s something inherently wrong with the recipe (not enough salt, tastes bland, too thick, etc) you will see that in many of the reviews; you will also see peoples’ suggestions for how they overcame a recipe flaw so you can learn from their mistakes.  And if many people didn’t like a recipe, you can choose something else that people loved.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Richard
    March 1, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Now, now. Don’t get discouraged. Remember that some of the most successful people worked steadily for years before achieving their “instant breakthrough”. That’s true about everything in life. And you’re already on the right path, since you know to “trust your intuition” about things like salt, going for recipes that you know you’ll like, etc. You’ll be just fine. 🙂 Now, get back up on the horse. Success is just around the corner. (How’s that for mixing metaphors?)

    • Reply
      Amelia
      March 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks, Richard! You’re right – we’re all works in progress!

  • Reply
    Teri Roughen
    March 1, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I like that even people who cook often have recipe failure. I have only recently realized that some recipes have to be perfected. I guess if they are worth your time (because they’re tasty!), then you’ll be happy in the end. If they’re not worth your time, then move on!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    March 6, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I second Terri, it is nice to know that everyone stumbles upon bad recipes from time to time.

    Maya made this veggie burger recipe recently and it’s really good! Might be worth a try.
    http://www.chow.com/recipes/10988-chow-veggie-burger

    • Reply
      Amelia
      March 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Thanks for the veggie burger suggestion – these look like a good bet and if you & Maya liked them I know they’re good!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    March 6, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Oops, spelled Teri’s name wrong.

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