Quite by chance, I have come across a well of unexpected angst in a corner of the web I thought was reserved for foodies or hungry people. This angst, often manifested as anger, is literally bubbling away in online recipes. Yes, simple solutions for dinner are the new heartland of irate commenters.
This shouldn't have been such a big surprise for me -- after all, I was hated for daring to mention I don't love the Thermomix, but I naively thought the anger was coming from the obsessive cult of the kitchen gadget rather than everyday cooks. However, in my continued search for dinner inspiration, I have begun to look at the comments on online recipes to see if the recipe is going to be as easy to follow as I was lead to believe and that's where I have found the hangry (hungry/angry) commenters.
The end-of-the-world commenter
On a recipe for a cake: "I put it in and 1 hour and an 1/2 later I took it out, I let it cool for 20 minutes and took the cake out of the tin. The cake mixture went everywhere. You destroyed my sons birthday."
I think destroying the entire day with an undercooked cake is quite a stretch, but then again I do like cake batter. What baffles me most is the recipe actually called for the cake to be baked for two and a half hours and cooled for two hours, so by not following the recipes she actually ruined her own child's birthday. That's a lot of guilt to carry, no wonder she's angry.
The indignant commenter
On a recipe for chicken tikka masala: "What a huge disappointment! Watery bland brown soup! Not at all like tikka masala what a waste of my ingredients. I was making this for a dinner party and now have to start from scratch! This recipe should be removed from the website!"
It should be noted that every other comment on this chicken dish is extremely positive so it would be a pity if it was actually removed from the site, but, you know, Jamie Oliver did ruin her dinner party so maybe it should be considered.
The replacement commenter
This person has been known to replace a chicken breast fillet with a piece of tofu or tomatoes with watermelon and then get angry when the meal does not turn out as promised. It's hard to take someone who replaces steak with eggplant seriously in real life. It can be even harder online.
The ethical commenter
The commenter who will remind you where your food comes from, how your chicken was raised, where your steak was born etc. They will also explain the emotional intelligence of a pig. If I commented on recipes I would be this commenter, so I can't figure out if it's wrong or not.
The religious commenter
Perhaps the best place to urge people not to eat pork is on a pork recipe, which is surely why this comment appears on a recipe for a pork roast: "Not kosher. Unhealthy and will increase belly fat on anyone who consumes it. There's a reason God ordered the people to refrain from eating pork. High in cholesterol, fat, and DNA that will alter a human's DNA and create cancer cells in the human body. Eat steak instead."
I don't know how many conversions happen in cooking forums but I do know this kind of comment does invoke some serious derision.
The gluten/sugar-free commenter
This commenter can often be confused with the indignant commenter. They are basically pissed off with any recipe that has sugar or gluten in it, and they believe you should know it. They are the commenters most prone to using all caps or using a passive-aggressive tone, for example: "For a person who hates sugar you certainly use a lot of it" on a Jamie Oliver chocolate cake recipe or "not everyone can handle that amount of gluten" on too many recipes to name.
The give-me-personal-advice commenter
This is the person who is on a salt-restricted diet and wants every recipe to conform to that. Or the person who is having people over in 15 minutes and urgently needs the author of the recipe to step in and give step-by-step guidance. Often the writer of this post has not yet mastered the fact that time differences and actual lives exist.
The I-can-do-it-better commenter
Don't even get me started on sites such as Tasty, where a simple chicken dish can have over 90,000 comments complaining about cooking time and the name of the recipe. Every one of these people knows more than the original poster of the recipe, which makes me wonder why they need to follow a recipe in the first place...
So while I haven't yet found a solution to making dinner every night, I have discovered that I am not alone in being a little frustrated about cooking. And while I would never complain in a comment (because being rude in comments reflects more on the commenter than the content), I have been known to serve a lot of cereal.