by Ben Miller
There’s nothing I hate more than seeing a recipe I’m really interested in making, scrolling down to the directions and seeing this in the first line:
“In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with XXX.”
I get that stand mixers are powerful. I get that they can make dough, whip things, probably even do my taxes if I ask them really nicely. But I’m 24 and not married. I don’t own one. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that most of America doesn’t own one. Nor do I plan to plunk down $400 anytime soon to get one. So why the insistence on relying so heavily on them when writing recipes? Humans made dough for centuries without owning electric stand mixers, so clearly it can be done.
I also understand that almost always either a food processor or your own hands can accomplish the same thing with just a little bit of extra work. But if that’s the case, why not say that? Why not offer alternatives?
I’m looking at you Cook’s Illustrated with your recipe for bagels that begins like this:
“Because bagel dough is much drier and stiffer than bread dough, it takes longer for the ingredients to cohere during mixing. For this same reason, we recommend that you neither double the recipe nor try to knead the dough by hand.”
So let me get this straight. In order to make a bagel, something I could purchase for about $0.80 if Washington, D.C., had ever heard of what a semi-normal bagel looked like (don’t get me started on those Cosi abominations I’ll leave that to Adler) I can’t make at home because I don’t own a $400 machine?
Food elitism doesn’t begin with politics, it trickles down even into the recipes we use.