Per­fect par­ody on cook­ing site a recipe for laughs

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - FOOD & WINE - ⁄ by Jef­frey Bloomer

COM­MENT sec­tions on web­sites can be nasty places, but they’re rarely more use­less than they are on pop­u­lar recipe sites like Al­lRecipes, Epi­cu­ri­ous and the like. The com­ments there are not full of the ob­vi­ous trolling you come across else­where, which is gen­er­ally easy to ig­nore. In­stead, you find one recipe “re­view” af­ter an­other that point­lessly re­counts an in­nocu­ous sub­sti­tu­tion, de­scribes a hus­band who thought the dish was too spicy, or shares a breath­less com­plaint about “no flavour” that could surely be fixed with a tea­spoon of salt. Oc­ca­sion­ally one finds a flash of ge­nius from a clever cook, but usu­ally the com­ments are an end­less slog.

So I was happy to dis­cover that my de­spair over such com­ment­ing prac­tices is widely shared — and even hap­pier to read a per­fect par­ody of this cor­ner of the In­ter­net. In a glo­ri­ous recipe posted to Food.com that has been mak­ing the rounds on Twit­ter, a frus­trated cook of­fers a recipe for ice cubes, not­ing that it may come in handy for “fam­i­lies who have mem­bers who don’t know how or have for­got­ten how to make ice when the ice tray is empty.” The run­down pro­ceeds as expected — wa­ter, freezer — and it’s funny enough on its own: a pas­sive-ag­gres­sive plea to re­fill trays that any­one can get be­hind.

But then the com­menters get hold of it, and the magic be­gins.

“This recipe is hor­ri­ble!” de­clares Chef #1408275. “Maybe I should have left them in longer than two min­utes (the recipe doesn’t say how long to leave them in the freezer so I just kind of guessed) but mine came out all wa­tery. I won’t be mak­ing these again.”

“I har­vest my own free-range wa­ter, so the idea of putting it in a plas­tic tray and a com­mer­cially made elec­tric­ity-wast­ing freezer dis­gusts me,” huffs don­quix66.

It goes on, beau­ti­fully: “I was won­der­ing if you had a crock-pot ver­sion for this recipe.” “So easy and low carb/cal, lac­tose, and gluten free.” “The ad­di­tion of 1 ½ T of Sriracha re­ally lifted the oxy­gen flavour that was be­ing over­pow­ered by the dou­bled hy­dro­gen.”

The winks and nudges continue, and no com­menter stereo­type goes un­cov­ered. There is a Rachael Ray joke, an Al Gore joke, and at least one gen­uinely help­ful sug­ges­tion for how to end up with clearer ice (start with hot wa­ter).

True, the jest gets a lit­tle overex­tended in 326 re­views, but the deft sendup of the com­ments that typ­i­cally lit­ter these sites seems to have sprouted or­gan­i­cally from the community. It’s enough to re­store one’s faith in In­ter­net com­ment­ing.

MARTIN MEISSNER / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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