I get a daily email from Allrecipes.com, and now and then instead of one featured recipe the email takes on a theme. Today’s was Oktoberfest, and one of the recipes listed was Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst … I can’t help but view this with a combination of That’s awesome! and Heart attack on a plate!, with a hearty helping of I gained five pounds just reading that! For the heck of it, I clicked, partly to see the comments.
The comments on Allrecipes.com are not quite as painful as, say, the comments on Youtube or the random article that comes along on pseudo-news sites, or at least not in the same way. Though the spelling can be hilarious, the ridiculousness on this site lies in two areas.
One is the overwhelming number of comments that say “Great recipe! I just changed a few things …” and then proceed to list amount changes, ingredient changes, and changes to cooking method. The most beautiful ones in this category are those which state they changed half the recipe the first time they used it – and then give it three stars. Or less.
Which brings me to the other area: where people give one, two, or three star reviews … and then say in the comment that it was their fault that the recipe failed. Sometimes, as above, they changed everything about the recipe – or they did something wrong … Regardless, they feel compelled to post a review anyway, although they did not technically make that actual recipe.
The best version of #2, though is one I have, sadly, seen more than once: “I loved this!! What a great recipe!! My husband/wife/kids/parents/great aunt Tilly LOVED this!! Will definitely make this again!!” Aaaannnnd … this person gives it one star. Er. Oops?
The reason the Bacon Wrapped Bratwurst recipe prompted this bit of a rant was that a good percentage of the comments, instead of saying “great, but not something to make often” or “my cardiologist hates you”, pointed out that the brats were too spicy, and next time they’ll cut back on the cayenne pepper. There are a couple of directions this takes me. (I’m longing to post at least the last part of this as a comment, but I a) don’t want to register and b) don’t want to start a flame war… so I’m venting.) (ETA – oh, all right, I registered. I have only limited will power.)
First – People? It calls for a full teaspoon of cayenne. A teaspoon. That, unless you’re used to it, is a LOT of cayenne – most recipes I can think of use about half that, or sometimes a quarter teaspoon. I’ve seen 1/8. I don’t understand how anyone who’s been cooking more than a week can have the nerve to complain about a teaspoon of cayenne being too hot. To quote Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign”.
Secondly, and this didn’t strike me until I started writing this and the comments coalesced in my mind … This is a high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium, high *everything* recipe with no redeeming factors except that it tastes terrific: a guilty, guilty pleasure to the nth degree. And it calls for the brats to be simmered in beer. (I do love that it’s light beer … must watch the calories!) I’m aware that the alcohol is going to boil off, but I have my doubts that ALL the alcohol is going to burn off … (pause for search)
… Ooh, I love Wikipedia. They have a chart which indicates, from “a study by a team of researchers at the University of Idaho, Washington State University, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Laboratory” (in other words, not some guy in his garage with a bunsen burner), that a dish baked or simmered for a quarter of an hour with alcohol stirred into the mixture is going to retain … 40% of the alcohol content. My unscientific impression is that brats, poked with a fork and immersed in beer and solely beer to simmer for fifteen minutes – particularly given that the directions indicate you should put the sausages in the beer and then bring it up to a boil – might just absorb more than that. A lot. And beer absorbed into the sausages before and during the heating process through those holes poked with that fork isn’t going to evaporate.
So how is it that the concern of several commenters is that the heat was too much … FOR THEIR SMALL CHILDREN?
“It was a little spicy for my 6 and 4 year old”
“time I made it I used cracked black pepper instead..much better, especially for small children!”
“I will decrease the cayenne simply because I felt it was too spicy for me and our 2 year old.” (TWO??)
“I also did a few in a mix of brown sugar and cracked black pepper for my 5 and 3 yr olds.”
Let’s review some of the ingredients, shall we?
– 3 CANS light beer
– 1 TEASPOON cayenne pepper
– children under six.
– at least 40% of alcohol content of said beer (basically the same thing as feeding children under six years of age more than a can of beer)
Are you insane?