So you want to be a recipe tester? Do you? Do you know what's involved?
I'm sure everyone's experience is different, depending on whose recipes you are testing, whether it is for a magazine or a cookbook, etc, etc.
I'm currently testing recipes for Robyn's next cookbook with about 10 other people. We each test a total of 10 recipes, time how long each one takes, measure out portion sizes, document our thoughts on taste, texture, presentation. We also write head notes, make any suggestions for retesting and edit the step-by-step instructions.
This last weekend, for example, I tested two recipes: one for shrimp & tomato bruschetta and one for lamb chops with slowly cooked onions. I took photographs of each, but unfortunately, my photography skills all of a sudden decided to go on a hiatus.
The bruschetta recipe I tested in the late morning after a night of salsa dancing and had it for breakfast. Luckily, the recipe only needed a small amount of tweaking. The flavors mingled really well together and the whole dish was a breeze to put together. The lamb recipe I tested in the afternoon: just in time for a late lunch. It was fantastic, and I've been adding lamb to my salads for the last few days: if you cook it pretty rare, it's great when cold.
While I wish I could tell you that after years of testing recipes I learned how to cook neatly, clean as I go and take easily read notes, I can't. My kitchen always looks disastrous; sometimes I have a hard time reading my own notes, and I am always left with a large pile of dishes to clean.
On a plus side, in the process of testing recipes, I've acquired quite a collection of spices, grains, mustards and vinegars. I've also had a chance to try different combinations of ingredients I would have otherwise avoided: and actually got to like some of them!
And because I'm still not comfortable with writing a post without a single photograph, I leave you with a photograph of coconut rice pudding I made for Robyn's blog. It's an incredibly simple combination of milk, coconut milk, sugar, vanilla bean and carnaroli rice.
Good thing my friend Jenn came over soon after I made the rice pudding and I did not have an entire bowl of it sitting and begging me to eat it.