You’ve diligently worked all day on a recipe, and it’s finally time for the first taste. You, dig in for a heaping forkful of the fruits of your labor only to find something isn’t right. Alton Brown knows every cook has been there so he offered his insanely simple solution: read the recipe.

Like, actually take time to read and digest everything it’s telling you to do. Most recipe mishaps can easily be avoided, he says. The problem is that we don’t take the time to grasp exactly what a recipe is calling for. We may do a quick scan before beginning to cook or bake, but we don’t focus on detail words that can make all of the difference.

On his website, Brown wrote, “According to my calculations, about 30 percent of the dishes prepared from written recipes go wrong because the cooks concerned didn’t actually read said recipe. Sure, we glance at them sideways, scan them, peruse them, peek at them, make grocery lists from them, but we rarely glean all the information we really need.”

His suggestion is so simple, yet even when we’re doling out our hard earned dollars on expensive ingredients, we still won’t take the time. Brown says we should first, sit down and read the recipe a few times, while highlighting special procedures and other line items that might change our assumed timelines in the kitchen. Then, we should gather our equipment and ingredients, heat the oven and take note of the order of the recipe’s steps. Lastly, triple check cooking times and temperatures.

For detailed step-by-step instructions straight from Alton, check out his post.


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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.