Boiling Recipes Down to a Tweet

In the world of 140 characters or less, the recipe is getting a serious do-over. It’s the raison d’etre for Twitter.com/cookbook, the shrunken down recipe page of the very pro-twitter-lific Maureen Evans, who’s based in Belfast, Ireland.


A micro recipe from Maureen Evans's Twitter page.

Even for people who edit and write recipes for a living, recipe condensation is an art; here’s my feeble attempt last week, which went well over the Tweet limit:

@Jeters Red lentils in a pot w hunk of ginger & cinnamon stick. Cook for about 25 min.

@Jeters Cook up pot of rice. cook thinly sliced onions w cumin, coriander, salt. Remove from skillet. Add oil, then saute kale w/ garlic.

Chip Brantley and his kitchen crew at Cookthink have issued a challenge to aspiring micro recipe writers: Submit yours
here and “We’ll send a book of macro recipes to the person who submits our favorite.”

Meanwhile, how does all this shorthand affect recipe form, function or readability? Is there a role for shrinky-dink recipes, or is it a language you'd rather not learn? Weigh in, and if you're game, see what you can cook up in 140 characters or less.

KOD on Twitter.

By Kim ODonnel |  April 2, 2009; 7:00 AM ET Food on the Web
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Take bowl of rice, top with fried egg, steamed spinach w/drizzle of sesame oil, Korean pepper paste (gochujang). Mix, enjoy!

Posted by: Elizabeth_Terry | April 2, 2009 9:16 AM

I don't think I'll ever Twitter. I'm pretty sure that there isn't anything I want to say to anyone who wants to listen that can be said in 140 characters. Humans have spent millenia developing language skills and brains that can appreciate nuanced communication. Twittering and texting feel like we're devolving rather than improving.

Lest you think I'm a curmudgeon or a luddite, I don't actually disapprove of twitters or text messages. I think they could even be fun, creative and poetic a la haiku if people would try. I haven't seen that yet which may just reflect on the people I know. I'm sure twittering has a place in our modern society; I'm less sure that I do, though.

Posted by: esleigh | April 2, 2009 12:10 PM

Thanks, but I would rather read full length recipes plus commentary. With pictures. In a book. Everything in life does not have to be boiled down to the quickest, the smallest, the least.

Posted by: margaret6 | April 2, 2009 12:30 PM

esleigh, I don't think you're a luddite or curmudgeon at all! The reason I wrote today's piece is that these trends are happening faster than the speed of lightning and are impacting the way we do our work and communicate and I'm fascinated by how/if it will have an impact on our kitchen lives. Cheers!

Posted by: Kim ODonnel | April 2, 2009 1:29 PM

Twitter recipes are to Fisher books as drive-thru McDonald’s is to a summer cookout with cold beer, just-picked corn and homegrown tomatoes.

Boiling down makes a fine red-wine reduction or slowly simmered stock, but yields recipes without the style or flavor of good food writing.

Expressing my view of Twitter (and its recipes) in 140 characters is a superb way to dodge work, and not a half-bad way to play with words.
~~~~~~
That's one at 140 on the nose, two at 139 each. Perhaps I am a Twit after all. :Q

Posted by: Agathist | April 2, 2009 4:43 PM

There is something poetic about this, as if creating recipe haiku. I love it!

Posted by: eatingoutloud | April 3, 2009 3:30 AM

Sorry -- This may be the "age of the sound-bite", but not for me. I have and use Escoffier's "Basic Elements", and that's about as telegraphic as I want to get.

Posted by: heinpe | April 3, 2009 10:05 AM

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