We've created this page of FAQs to help answer some of the more common questions readers ask about us, the site and our recipes.
Should you have a question on a topic not covered here, please feel free to contact us.
What makes MyGourmetConnection different from other food blogs?
There are thousands of food blogs online today and a good many of them are inspiring, well-written and beautifully photographed, so you might wonder what sets us apart from the crowd.
My name is Lynne Webb and I started MyGourmetConnection in late 2008 with the goal of becoming a comprehensive resource for food lovers that would include recipes, a nationwide restaurant guide and gourmet food reviews. The site has undergone a number of transformations since its inception as I discovered that creating original recipes was where I really wanted to devote the bulk of my time and effort.
Once I turned my full attention to creating recipes, I made a decision about the format MyGourmetConnection would follow and I've stuck to it. I believe in traditional, cookbook-style recipe writing with ingredient lists in the proper order and a comprehensive set of preparation instructions that can easily be followed by novice and expert cooks alike.
The introductions and notes I include on my recipes pertain directly to that recipe, its ingredients and preparation and I rarely include any unrelated commentary.
When compared to other food blogs, some may say MyGourmetConnection is impersonal, but I'm of the opinion that you've come to this website for a reason - to find a recipe, and I don't feel that a lot of extra dialogue will help you accomplish that goal. I'd rather put my time and effort into writing a new recipe!
Note: MyGourmetConnection has grown to contain more than 1000 recipes and 300+ articles.
What is your background - do you have professional training?
I come from a long line of fabulous cooks - Hungarian immigrants with amazingly intuitive cooking skills (no written recipes in their kitchens) and an intense dedication to feeding their families wholesome, homemade fare on a daily basis. I'm not professionally trained, but I've been cooking since the age of 13 and, like my immigrant ancestors, am committed to serving meals made with fresh, quality ingredients.
Because cooking is my passion, I've always spent my spare time studying cookbooks and food references, watching educational cooking shows (that was before cooking became a spectator sport) and for the last 5 years, researching and creating recipes has become a full time endeavor. I'd like to think that my readers here at MyGourmetConnection reap the benefit of my research and experimentation.
How do you create an original recipe?
I do a tremendous amount of reading about food and draw my inspiration from a variety of written materials and restaurant menus I find online. When I get an idea for a new recipe, I jot down a basic concept and categorize it by its primary ingredient. Then, when shopping, I'll choose a main ingredient that looks nice, look over my various notes (I store them on my phone) and choose complementing ingredients.
After that I go home and go to work in the kitchen where I develop ratios, flavor accents and prep methods. I write everything down on the first go-round and, if the dish turns out well, I'll make it again within the next week or so to test and tweak the recipe.
My co-editor, Erika Pitera, consults on nearly all my recipe concepts, and tests a large percentage of the finished recipes herself. She's a very creative cook in her own right and it helps tremendously to have another person make a dish in a different kitchen.
No, we're not the equivalent of a commercial test kitchen and don't claim to be, but we feel pretty confident that if we've successfully made a recipe several times, it's solid enough to share on the website. We always proofread each recipe multiple times before publishing, however mistakes do occasionally slip by us. Please don't hesitate to let us know if you find an error.
Why don't you take multiple photos of every recipe?
Regarding the recipe photos, I do my level best to photograph each recipe in a style that accurately represents the way that dish will look when YOU make it. I don't spend undue time styling glamour shots for Pinterest or TasteSpotting, and I'm far too focused on documenting the written preparation instructions accurately to be adjusting lights and snapping photos of every bubble and sizzle along the way to the finished dish. I do however work with a professional photographer from time to time - mostly for holiday menus and recipes. If you pay attention, I'm sure you can pick out his photos over mine.
I left a comment, but it wasn't published - how come?
Thanks to the propensity of spammers in the world, all comments go through a review process before they are published. I try to do this daily, but sad to say, it doesn't always happen, so please be patient. I also try to answer all questions in a timely fashion, so if you've asked a question, do check back.
Comments that are rude or include profanity are always deleted, as are those that include spammy links or are not relevant to the recipe or post they're associated with. I welcome suggestions and constructive criticism, but comments that cannot be addressed as part of an ongoing civil conversation will be deleted as well.
What about ingredient substitutions?
When I call for an ingredient that may be a little difficult to find, I'll often suggest a more common ingredient as a substitution, but only if I feel it won't compromise the recipe. For basic ingredient substitutions, I suggest you keep a book on hand for reference.
If you own a copy of Joy of Cooking, check the back for their substitution chart, or you can get a copy of The Food Substitution Bible by David Joachim. It has over 6500 entries that include not only food, but equipment and techniques. It's a very nice resource.
Why don't you include the metric conversions in your recipes?
I would love to include metric conversions in MyGourmetConnection's recipes, but I simply don't have the time right now. It is however a long-range goal to work through the collection and eventually add that information.
In the meantime, Epicurious publishes charts that can help you accurately perform those calculations yourself (click here).
Why don't you include nutrition information in your recipes?
At this time, we don't include nutrition information on our recipes. Because serving sizes are somewhat subjective and ingredient sizes can vary (e.g. 1 medium onion), we're not comfortable with calculating information that we feel would be approximate or even inaccurate.
There are a number of free online tools that will let you calculate nutrition information for yourself, but we find the one at Calorie Count to be the easiest to use (click here).
How do you determine serving sizes?
Most of the recipes on MyGourmetConnection are written to provide 4 servings that are roughly in accordance with the portion sizes recommended by the USDA. That being said, I strongly feel that serving sizes are very subjective and those portions might not be adequate for those with larger appetites or extremely active lifestyles.
Always use your best judgement and adjust quantities if you feel it necessary - after all, you know your family best.
How long will this dish keep in the refrigerator or freezer?
I am certainly no expert on food safety and I always err on the side of caution when it comes to storage times for both cooked food and raw ingredients.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains a comprehensive website where they offer guidelines for safe food storage times (click here), as well as current food recalls, safe cooking temps for meat and more.
This recipe didn't turn out right - what happened?
It's very hard for me to answer a general question about the failure of a recipe. There are so many possible reasons why a dish might not turn out as planned: ingredient substitutions, variations in oven temperature, high altitude, choice of cookware or simply a matter of taste.
When provided with specifics, I'm more than happy to try and help, but I do need details. Feel free to ask for help by leaving a comment on the recipe in question. I'll reply as quickly as I can.
Can I re-publish your one of your recipes and/or photos on my website?
In general, the answer to that question is almost always "I'm sorry, but no." If you feel that you have a special situation that bears an exception to our copyright policy, please use our contact form and provide specifics.