Why Recipes Are Getting Dumbed Down

Toronto Star food editor Susan Sampson on how recipes are becoming longer and more and more detailed-oriented because people know less and less about what to do in the kitchen:

Martin recalls sharing with office mates a recipe for chocolate cake. Taken from The Perfect Recipe by Pamela Anderson, it was, as Martin recalls, almost as easy as a mix but 20 times as good. She got an email back from a young woman who said the cake seemed "wrong." It turns out the woman had never experienced anything but cake-mix cake.

"You cannot build enough into your recipes to anticipate that," Martin says.

The home cook is an insecure creature. A recipe may be unclear and the result unappetizing, but a cook is apt to think a bad result is her fault. So we take her by the hand and soothe her with details. You, too, can cook this, we imply – just follow these step-by-step instructions. Meanwhile, recipes are getting longer as we fill in more and more blanks.