People love recipes! They love to be educated. Truth is, video can assist your post’s popularity. It can also help your blog grow. Is it the perfect recipe for growth? I have not used many on this blog, but I have used them widely for customers.
If you love recipes and wish to publish them then there are a few simple rules to follow. These rules also apply to other types of educational post. There are so many opportunities to make your work shine when demonstrating you culinary favourites. Let’s face it we all love food. One of the main uses of the Internet is personal education, so why do a bad job sharing your knowledge?
Popular, or Perfect Recipe!
One of the most popular types of post on the web are recipes. Yet, recipes are among the poorest quality pages published on the web. Many do not include pictures. Fewer still include video. Writers think it is simply a case of posting firstly a list of ingredients and secondly giving the briefest description of the method used. Wrong!
Look in of the cook books by famous chefs, whether Nigela Lawson or Mrs Beeton and you will see them explain recipes in full detail. They also explain the information behind the recipe. We have an Italian cookbook that gives a story behind the making of certain pastas. There is untold information is learnt before creating a single recipe.
Watch any cookery show on any channel on TV and it is immediately clear that publishing recipes requires a multi-media approach. In the search for the perfect recipe then the minimalist approach is definitely not good. Here is what every recipe needs:
A reason for trying it
The method used
Serving & Presenting your food
Look at any TV chef and they tell a story around the food they are serving, even when they show only a short presentation. To demonstrate this I will include a simple recipe that anyone can use to enhance the flavour of their morning cup of coffee.
Its origin. Where does a the recipe come from? Is it your Grandmothers? Did you encounter it on a trip to Tuscany? This tells the reader where the recipe originates, for example “it is a traditional Italian recipe that we have used our own unique twist to add more spices, which I believe provides a greater depth of flavour”. It can also tell them something about the personality of the dish.
You are setting the scene so the reader may like your presentation. They will appreciate that you used an opportunity to show a recipe that is unique in some way. It is your twist that adds something new.
TV presenters do this in their own unique way, like talking about the latest stops on their tour of Burgundy. Showing how they select the ingredients, this helps set the scene for the viewer. Perhaps assisting them understand why one variety of pear may be preferred over another. These are all tips that will both set the scene and educate their audience about the quality of the items used.
The TV presenter does this so expertly, and you hardly notice it being done. Writers must also set the scene. The backdrop for the recipe I present will show that it is possible to add a personal touch, include why you like it etc. Background is short but it does give information about where the writer encountered the idea and what makes it special, were this a recipe page then I would add more detail to the background.
Background — Cinnamon Coffee
A simple recipe that every coffee lover will appreciate! Indians love their teas, and they make them with special spices, especially Marsala tea. That is boiled in milk. As a coffee drinker it became clear that many of those ingredients can also be used to enhance the flavour of coffee. Other spices were not compatible. After many experiments over several years I have perfected a the recipe, using certain ingredients to compliment the taste of the coffee. This taste is not for all, but it is one of many ways that I have used to occasionally enhance the flavour of a morning coffee.
A Reason for Trying it
Look up any dish using Google and you will probably find a thousand recipes. Whether you intend to create a simple Macaroni Cheese or a delicious Clam Chowder there are dozens of ways to do it. There are many reasons why you may use a particular recipe, including:
It reminds you of something grandma used to make.
You have all the ingredients in your pantry.
It is visually appealing.
The perfect practical dish.
Simple to make.
When writing the recipe you must appeal to your reader. Work their taste-buds. Why should they use your recipe? This is where you have to advertise its virtues. The example below shows how I might do this for my Cinnamon Coffee recipe. Get the idea here that this is all about telling a story, it is because I will be honest I will be gone in 30 seconds if there is nothing to excite the taste-buds and an ingredients list will not do that.
Cinnamon Coffee: Enhancing your Cuppa Joe
Everyone loves cinnamon buns! But, have you ever thought of mixing cinnamon with your coffee?
It is not for everyone, but if you love your cuppa to be brewed in a cafetière using freshly ground beans then this recipe could be the delightful twist you have been waiting for. It is probably best when drunk black, but it will enhance your coffee even if you use a little cream.
This is the start of the business end of your recipe, but the list of ingredients should not be a boring list. Look at how a TV chef handles this element. Many discuss the importance of each ingredient, perhaps what it brings to the dish.
One thing you could do is suggest alternatives — particularly where you know that allergies relate to specific ingredients. Perhaps you have healthy alternatives in mind. You can advise the audience of ways to enhance the recipe, perhaps the addition of pepper to the ingredients list, or how sea-salt provides a stronger flavour than table salt.
With all recipes there are options. Showing them gives you the opportunity to show alternatives. Demonstrate the core ingredients that should not change.
Cinnamon Coffee: Ingredients
For 2 large cups, include:
1 medium sized stick of fresh cinnamon approximately 2.5 inches (60 mm) in length
1.5 cups of coffee beans
In addition to cinnamon (or in place of it) you may further enhance the flavour by adding 1 or 2 cloves, or 3 to 4 cardamom pods, all three work well when ground together. Ginger is another alternative, although a much smaller amount is needed to flavour your drink.
Demonstrating the Method
This is, perhaps, the most valuable discussion in the entire recipe. It is where you are educating the reader of the steps to take. This discussion is the most important aspect of any educational page you create. Each step may require its own subsection.
In theory the steps you take must cover everything in the minutest detail. Do not assume your reader has ever done this element before, unless it is so basic a step that everyone in the world knows how to do it.
The reader may not know how to kneed dough. Tell them how many minutes they should be performing this operation and the type of texture they are looking for. If the specific element is particularly complex it may be wise to add a video that demonstrates how it works — that shows the reader the required action in a way that words alone are not able. Video enhances your instructions.
Make sure you include all the details are included — this is where the importance of editing your article comes into its own here because any mistake shines out like a neon light, read it through and make sure it describes each step in detail.
Cinnamon Coffee: Method
Add to Blender
Cinnamon is added to the coffee beans when ground, there are two ways to do this either adding it to the coffee grinder before any coffee beans are added or after you have added a small handful of beans. The video shows the cinnamon broken into strips of about half an inch before adding any coffee beans to the grinder.
Grind the mixture
Set the grinder at coarse to allow larger chunks of coffee bean and cinnamon to come through — this gives a better depth of flavour in the drink.
Transfer the powdered mixture to the cafetière then add hot water.
Pictures and Video
Pictures add weight to all articles. Steps need to be clearly identified when educating your readers. There are many opportunities for pictures. Presenting the ingredients via a picture can be very helpful. This is especially true when showing an unusual ingredient.
It is almost obligatory to include a video when presenting a recipe, especially for more complex recipes. Soufflés, for example, are extremely delicate and are often best described in words and presented in video form. There are plenty of educational examples where video aids understanding, not simply the textual presentation. Showing people how to use software is another example.
Think about who presents your video. One view, the perfect recipe video is best presented by the person publishing the article. But, many writers do not feel they would make good presenters. If someone else makes the presentation, then ensure they stick to your script. Alternatively you can search YouTube of Vimeo for videos produced by others.
On the technical side, your video should be a minimum of 720p resolution (that is 1280×720 px, also called Standard HD), although 1080p is preferable today. 1080p is 1920×1080 px, also called Full HD.
Serving and Presenting the Dish
Here is another lesson to learn from the TV chefs, 90 percent of food is about presentation of the final product. The taste may come from the method you use to prepare the dish but how you present it at the end of the day is all about how others will understand your recipe.
One possibility, use the picture of the final dish as the featured image for your post. This way people know what to expect from the dish before they come to your page.
If you just cooked it photograph then photograph it. Pictures along the way are all helpful in demonstrating progress. The image of the finished item should present your recipe in the best of light. Show us that roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, or the lamb chops served with roast potatoes and mint sauce. They should be so delicious that the reader cannot pass them by.
All in the Presentation
This post is based on one originally published on Wikinut. It has been updated with new thoughts. Recipes are amongst the most popular of pages on the web. The majority are poorly presented, which is a pity because they fail to showcase the work in the best light. If you have the perfect recipe, then present it well.