I’ve mentioned many times that I like cooking when I have the time. If I see something on TV I like, I’ll look it up and make it for myself, or sometimes just look things up to get some ideas for myself.
Something I find really amusing is the reviews people leave for recipes, though. Last night I was after simple breaded chicken ideas, so I looked through several to get the gist of what I ought/ought not to try. Breaded chicken is extremely simple. It’s basically chicken dipped in flour, beaten eggs, and then seasoned breadcrumbs. After I’d got what I was after – ideas for seasonings – I thought I’d have a laugh at some of the reviews for the last recipe I’d scanned through.
It doesn’t matter what the recipe is, the people who review them seem dumber than my neighbour’s cat. Even a recipe for pouring a glass of water would be too difficult for some of them, and the review would typically go something along the lines of:
Brilliant recipe. I tried it last night, but I didn’t have any water, so I substituted some liquid I had under the sink in a bottle labelled “drain cleaner” that looked a bit like water, and I added some cabbage which I had lying around, and a piece of tree bark. It was lovely.
How the f&%k is it the same recipe if you change it?
This last chicken recipe – which I was not going to try in a million years, because it was so wrong – was no exception. It amounted to dipping a chicken breast into a garlic/oil mixture (bad idea), then into seasoned breadcrumbs (Basil and Parmesan), then baking it in the oven for 30 minutes. I knew what I’d find, but even I was surprised both by how quickly and how many reviewers had left Earth. The very first review went:
FANTASTIC! This was a great baked chicken. I changed some things to make it even more flavorful for us. For the breadcrumb mixture I substituted “pepperidge farm herb stuffing” instead of plain bread crumbs and also added 1 tsp oregano along with the basil. I used 4 large chicken breasts and used 4 tbsp olive oil and 2 cloves garlic. I also sprinkled a little salt and pepper on the chicken breasts before dipping them into the oil/garlic mixture…. I did have a little bit of each leftover (oil and breadcrumb), so I first drizzled what was left of the oil on the prepared chicken breasts in the pan, and then sprinkled what was left of the breadcrumb mixture over this. Then I sprinkled all of this with some garlic powder. It took about 40 minutes for the chicken to be done.
That is NOT the same recipe. Using stuffing instead of breadcrumbs is a good idea (I’ve done it before), but that would change the flavour completely. And seasoning the chicken alone is enough to turn an abject failure into a major success. So you have not reviewed the recipe at all – just your own.
The next review goes:
With my modifications, it came out perfect..! Was out of italian breadcrumbs so used chicken flavored stove top stuffing crushed well…
Another one who has changed the recipe completely, then reviewed it in the name of the original. Then the next one:
This is a great recipe. Here’s what I did with it…
Another change to a completely different recipe. Nearly all of them said something along similar lines. Only one reviewer I noted was still on Planet Earth:
I thought this was mediocre despite all the superlative reviews. I wish people would actually review the recipe as written, not their revisions. It makes the ratings very misleading. In any case, when actually following the recipe as written, the bread crumb coating was soggy and bland and there was not enough olive to dip six breasts in. I would not recommend this.
My thoughts exactly.
There was one more review that almost choked me when I read it. Bear in mind that this recipe is chicken dipped in oil and then coated in breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan Cheese. The calorie count would be off the scale compared with what it could (and perhaps should) be:
Really great, pretty healthy, chicken dish…
As an aside, all I wanted was some cooked chicken I could slice up and put in a tortilla wrap with some vegetables, then eat in the car without grease dripping out of it. Plain chicken used like this is bland, and I wanted something along the lines of what you get in a McDonalds wrap but minus the calories.
Back to the bottom line: don’t trust online reviews.