Tuesday, March 24, 2020

What You See Isn't Always What You Get

I have lost count of how many times I have seen this photo and recipe posted on Facebook. Each and every single time I see it plastered on my newsfeed, I cringe. Why?

Because after cooking and baking for close to 40 years, I know these ingredients will not produce the rolls in the photo. At best, you'll get a salty dense biscuit that is barely edible.

Because I'm sick and tired of people using photos that do not accurately portray the finished product of a recipe they're posting. 

Because of the shortage of ingredients in grocery stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people are groveling to make homemade versions of convenience items...like bread and rolls. Milk and flour, along with many other items, are scarce. Attempting this recipe will only result in wasting valuable ingredients.

Because 90% of the people who have posted this recipe did not attempt the recipe before posting. 


When a friend of ours posted this very same photo and recipe earlier today, I replied with this...

This recipe will not produce the dinner rolls that are pictured. The ones pictured are a yeast dinner roll. If you make this recipe, you'll get a salty drop biscuit that is slightly dense.

Our friend was receptive with a kind response.

To clarify, I replied with this...

I hope my reply didn't appear arrogant. It wasn't meant to be. Over the years, especially since Pinterest came to life, a lot of people will post a recipe and use a photo that is NOT the actual finished product. I've noticed this more with recipes for dietary restrictions (vegan, gluten-free, etc...) and ones like this. 

With ingredients being scarce due to the current situation, I would hate for anyone to waste hard-to-find ingredients (flour and milk) on a recipe that wouldn't produce a finished product as depicted by the photo. 

Again, my reply was received with kindness all the way around.

I have been on social media for well over a decade. 

I cook. I bake. 

I post a lot of food photos on various social media sites including Facebook. I only post photos of the foods I have made in our kitchen.

I do not enhance the photos or make them look all pretty 'n shit. I do not use props or the many techniques used for recipe sites or cookbooks. 

I take the photos either before or after I plate them.

When I plate them, I mean just that.

I plate the food and we eat it.

That would include but is not limited to...

Homemade bread. I took this photo about 5 minutes after I removed the bread from the oven and the bread pan. I like to cool bread on a rack so it retains that crusty crunch on the outside.

Chicken tacos on homemade Indian fry bread. I love making Indian fry bread because it's so versatile. I made 12 pieces of this delicious bread. I made 2 tacos for Lisa and myself. Plated. On paper plates. Dinner. Lisa and I were seated at our table. I snapped this photo seconds before we dug in.

My homemade cheesecake. I always make a plain vanilla cheesecake with a fresh made berry compote on the side. On this day, my cheesecake cracked. So, I cooked the compote a bit longer to make it a little thicker. Cooled. Added it to the top. We had company over for dinner. I took this photo before slicing.

I make quiche at least once a month. It's one of those versatile meals that can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I made a quiche for dinner. Homemade pie crust. Eggs. A splash of milk. Yummy mix-ins like ham, sharp cheddar, bacon, and/or grilled sweet Italian sausage. And lots of veggies. I snapped this photo after I took this quiche out of the oven and moments before serving.

Making Whoopie Pies is a pain in the ass, but several times a year, I do it. During the Fall season, I make pumpkin whoopie pies with a cinnamon cream cheese filling. I always share with our neighbors. I took this photo shortly after I added the filling.

On a side note, I use this cutting board a lot when posting food photos. It's an antique. My brother made it during his middle school years in woodshop class. It's old.

One of my favorite meals to make is pizza. In the afternoon, I make a homemade pizza crust. Then, I make a homemade red or alfredo sauce. On this night, I made my alfredo sauce. Topped the pizza with sautéed chicken breast, spinach, and artichoke hearts. One of the best pizzas I've ever made. I took the photo after taking it out of the oven. 

Nothing beats homemade Chinese takeout. It is a bit time consuming, but when I make homemade Chinese takeout like chicken stir fried rice and shrimp eggrolls (as shown), vegetarian sushi, orange chicken, peanut chicken, etc... Oh! Oh! Oh! Total greatness. On this particular evening, this was our dinner before plating. 

During the Fall season, I make homemade apple cider and/or pumpkin doughnuts. We always share with the neighbors. After frying and giving them a generous kiss with cinnamon sugar, I put them in brown paper bags and Lisa delivers. We enjoy them for breakfast too. I took this photo before I bagged them.

Those are just a few out of dozens and dozens of food photos that I post. I'll include the recipe if someone asks. Nothing is staged. Nothing is misleading.

What you see is what you get.

That's how it should be with recipes.

Unfortunately, not everyone follows that simple rule.

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