Recipe Tester Lessons

I’ve learned quite a bit from my recipe testers.

Some things about motivations in the kitchen, reflections on how we consume and lifestyle choices. Some ingredients aren’t readily available in certain regions of the country or in more rural areas.

Some cooks enjoy following a recipe exactly and wish not to go off-script to convert into vegetarian or adjust for spiciness. Others prefer to add their own flair to a dish. Sometimes this is because they’re accomplished in the kitchen, some have garden harvests to use up, and others yet are probably sort of like me. I like to look at a recipe or several recipes for a certain dish, and then make it without referencing any of them during the cooking process, just from what stuck out in my mind as important.

This probably defines why writing down certain recipes intimidates or overwhelms me, and others simply commit to the page with little stress or second-guessing.

When I wrote my first cookbook, I had no idea how enlightening the testing process would be. Because I’m writing recipes for “home cooks”, I keep all varieties in mind. From the newbie college student to the passionate and experienced foodie, I want my recipes to become staples of the recipe rotations in every home kitchen.


Recipes can be the thing that makes cooking easy. A road map from grocery store to stove/oven to table. When my testers give me feedback, my image of who I am writing for becomes more clear. The scientist. The rebel. The artist. The mother. The farmer. The gardener. The hesitant self-doubters. The teacher. The student. I love getting the perspectives of every home cook and seeing how my language can improve from the first draft I send to the final draft for publication.

If you’re interested in testing recipes, you may join my recipe tester group here. Not all dietary restrictions can be accommodated at any given time, but I do try. Right now I’m sending out recipes to my testers for “One Dish Wonders”, which is book 2 in my series “The Home Cook’s Dozen”. The series features twelve recipes grouped by categories I find useful and practical.

Thanks to each and all for your enthusiasm, time, investment and thoughtful feedback. I appreciate your input.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rosemary says:

    Great read, Melissa!! Love your Soup cookbook, and so privileged to be a tester for your second book!


    1. Thank you so much for your feedback and support!


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