One of the great perks of working at Yankee Publishing is the occasional opportunity to help the food editors with recipe testing—followed by taste testing, and rating the recipes. There’s a sense of fun and adventure in trying out recipes you might never attempt when cooking for your own family, and if they turn out well, the satisfaction of adding them to your permanent file.
An additional advantage is being part of the test group that gets to taste and rate the finished products. Sometimes this is as casual as someone bringing in a dish and leaving it on the lunch table with a note saying, “Test—please let me know how you like this.” And sometimes it’s a whole group of us bringing in dishes to set up in the conference room with rating charts. Each person who tested a recipe gets to sample all of the dishes and rate them.
Recipe testing can sometimes be frustrating, especially if the directions are not clear and complete. I once tested a recipe for broccoli and cheese soup. It called for putting grated cheese into the soup and then adding cornstarch. I did this twice and each time, as soon as I added the cornstarch, all the cheese would clump up into one big ball and fall to the bottom of the pot. The third time, I put the cornstarch in first and added the cheese afterwards— success! And the soup was delicious. The recipe eventually made it into whichever cookbook we were working on at the time. A couple times I’ve tested recipes that resulted in totally inedible dishes, but that’s a rarity.
Overall, I believe recipe testing is a hit with both the testers and the tasters. Especially with the tasters.