I was reading recipe blogs this afternoon looking for suggestions on how to make a honey and orange vinaigrette. The typical ingredient lists were sufficiently consistent (orange juice, cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, a little mustard as an emulsifier) that I felt able to improvise, but in doing so I was reminded of Mallory Ortberg’s classic article, All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog:
“I didn’t have any eggs, so I replaced them with a banana-chia-flaxseed pulse. It turned out terrible; this recipe is terrible.”
“I followed this to the letter, except I substituted walnuts and tofu for the skirt steak, ditched the cheese entirely, and replaced the starch with a turnip salad. Turned out great. My seven-year-old boys have never seen a dessert and I’ve convinced them that walnut-and-turnip salad is “cake.” Thanks for the recipe!”
“I didn’t have buttermilk, so I just poured baking soda into a container of raspberry yogurt. It tasted terrible.”
“I love this recipe! I added garlic powder, Italian seasoning, a few flakes of nutritional yeast, half a bottle of kombucha, za’atar, dried onion, and biscuit mix to mine. Great idea!”
She’s not wrong.