When Following a Recipe, Rely on Descriptions, Not Time.

When you follow a recipe, you will likely notice that it provides two pieces of guidance: how long you should cook an ingredient and how that ingredient should look before moving on to the next step (or coating). To make the food tastier, you should (mostly) ignore that first bit and focus on the second.

This is not because the recipe makers are actively lying to you. The number of minutes they prescribe for broiling, broiling, or braising is probably based on reality, but you should use this time frame as your most loose reference. There are simply too many kitchen-to-kitchen variables to take numbers as gospel. Ovens do not heat up evenly, medium-high on a gas hob differs from medium-high on an electric stove, and varying ingredients such as size or moisture content can greatly affect cooking time. So instead of worrying if you cooked food for a couple of minutes longer (or too short), focus on the parts of the recipe that describe physical signs such as temperature, color, and volume. (And please buy a digital thermometer for anything edible.)


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