August 13, 2004

Humanity: What Was the Point Again?

People kill me. I was just reading a recipe for a sort of spinach souffle deal, right? Here are the principal ingredients--relax, it's a short list:

  • fresh spinach, 20 ounces
  • eggs, 3
  • cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup
  • butter
  • milk
  • breadcrumbs

    And flour and seasonings, blah blah blah . . . anyway, it's an online recipe. And the average rating by other members of this online community is 4 stars out of 5, so not bad, right?

    So I thought to myself, hey, I know, let's read some reviews and see if anyone's tried it and has any suggestions, because I'm thinking some mushrooms and garlic could really work in this thing, round it out a little bit; but seeing as how I have never made this dish before, I don't want to fuck with the formula too much and risk screwing the whole thing up. So let's see what other amateur cooks out there have to say about the adaptability of this dish.

    (Helpful hint: In the preceding two sentences, all the words following "but" are vital to understanding my eventual point.)

    I started reading the reviews. There are over 100 of them, so I was just skimming to see if anyone else had tried throwing in extra veggies--ordinary, flavor-enhancing, why-they're-practically-condiments veggies like, say, mushrooms or garlic--when I hit the inevitable one-star review. Inevitable, because nothing can ever be perfect in this world, and it's damn sure nothing can ever be perfect on the internet. Someone's always gotta come along and screw up the five-star rating. So I was not surprised to see a review posted by someone rating the recipe 1 star out of 5.

    But this particular one-star reviewer did it with a special . . . ah, not style . . . not grace . . . what's that word I want?

    Oh, right: GALL. Before I reproduce the review in its entirety here, may I invite you to review the aforementioned list of main ingredients?

    Thank you. And now, presenting the one-star review of sheer, unmitigated gall:

    I used 6 oz. of fresh spinach, egg replacer instead of eggs, fat free milk instead of whole milk, swiss cheese instead of cheddar,. I left out the salt,and flour. and used just a sprinkling of dried parsley and added some dried dill. I did not use any butter or margarine. Instead of bread crumbs, I used crushed Ritz(cracked pepper ritz crackers). Instead of layering it, I just mixed everything together except the crackers..those I put on top. I sprayed the pan with Pam. It was delicious. The only drawback some might find is that the bottom of the dish is a little watery but that was not a problem for me. I absolutely loved it!
    She loved it, but she gave it one star--well, there's dumb for you. That's just the stupidity icing on the great cake of imbecility here.

    But what I love is how she left no stone unturned in her quest to make something that was almost completely, but not entirely, unlike the original recipe.

    Posted by Ilyka at August 13, 2004 09:36 PM in hell is other people
  • Comments

    Recipes come in two varieties. Rough guidelines and strict formulas. The later encompasses most baking and a few meal type dishes. Rough guidelines are most meal dishes like this spinach one.

    It's not wise to mess with most baking recipes unless you really know what you are doing.

    For this dish, I'd say go for it with the mushrooms and garlic and while your at it, ditch the cheddar and use a good feta.

    Posted by: Stephen Macklin at August 14, 2004 02:14 AM

    Heh, heh.

    Hey I once made a bagel with lox, cream cheese, and tomato, only I used wonder bread instead of the bagel, mayo instead of the cream cheese, and tuna instead of the lox. But you know it was pretty good!

    What a piece of work is man...

    Anyway: mushrooms would enhance this dish, but garlic would completely change its character. I put garlic in everything but in this case I'd advise against it until you've tried the original first. Mushrooms are subtle enough they wouldn't mess with it though.

    Posted by: Dean Esmay at August 14, 2004 08:35 AM

    Given her insistence on changing absolutely everything and still complaining, can you imagine what she'd be like in bed?

    Posted by: Venomous Kate at August 14, 2004 10:55 PM

    ::: snorrrrrrrrrt :::

    I think I lived next door to her on an unnamed Air Force base in Oklahoma.

    I referred to her as Miss Priss. She retained a look of utter constipation on her face.

    And Kate? I've never seen a man more in need of a good blow job in my whole life -- her husband -- so your connection is quite apt.

    Posted by: Emma at August 15, 2004 12:11 AM

    That was a great post. I might try blue cheese, by the way, which I love with spinach.

    Posted by: RP at August 16, 2004 05:00 PM

    They got the recipe all wrong anyway. It should be:

    fresh spinach, 20 ounces
    eggs, 3
    cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup

    Open up a bottle of wine and have a glass.

    Grate cheese, mix it all up, pour yourself another glass of wine.

    Wind up dipping your hand in the mix a lot, eating the mix directly off your fingers. Pour third glass of wine.

    Realize you need to bake the souffle and open another bottle of wine. Drink directly from the bottle.

    Realize you are out of breadcrumbs. Wine will help you forget the pain.

    Sit down in the living room, bowl of souffle mix available but uncooked, and drink.

    That'll definitely be a 4 out of 5 star recipe then.

    Posted by: Helen at August 17, 2004 10:55 AM

    Stephen's statement can be summed up by something I spout whenever relevant: cooking is art but baking is science.

    As for the rating, one could score all sorts of l33t gratification out of going around giving bad ratings.

    Heinlein's Tunnel in the Sky was the book which began my turn toward individual liberty and personal responsibility. The romance between the sister and the teacher was dumb so I give it a one.

    Posted by: triticale at August 18, 2004 09:59 AM