The official recipe tester FAQ

My apologies for the HUGE post, but it has hopefully everything you need to know to test these recipes. Please take a moment to go through the whole thing!


Update 10/29/11:

The Recipe Request Post: want me to make a recipe you don’t see? Tell me about it!


Hi and welcome and thanks! Here’s a few things you should know going forward :

-recipes will be posted in this blog, but viewable only to testers with a password. If for some crazy reason you’re able to read this post and don’t have a password to access recipes, please contact me asap.

-Need to know which recipes are new, finished testing or need more testers? Refer to the Recipe Index Post. I will try and keep this as updated as possible throughout the testing.

-search the Cookbook Testing category (on the lower right hand of every page) for anything testing related.

UPDATED: if you want to test a recipe, please post a reply in the post. THERE IS NO LIMIT TO HOW MANY TESTERS CAN TEST A RECIPE, but please, if a recipe has a lot of testers (10+), please consider testing something that needs more testers.

To find out exactly how many testers there are, open that post and read the comments.

Please try to test the recipe within 2 weeks of posting. If life gets in the way and you can’t do it by then, please say so in the thread so someone else may sign up in your stead.

-you’re seeing only a portion of the book here on this blog. The will be a substantial amount of front material covering techniques, ingredient talk, etc. that you won’t see here. Also, recipes when published may look very different from what you’ll be working with. Just thought you should know!

-there will be roughly 120-170 recipes posted during the testing phase. Again, it’s all about what you have time to do, not the exact quantity, that matters.

What I Need From You, the Tester (Important!)

We have a lot of testers for these recipes…hundreds of them in fact. Due to the sheer volume I’ll need everyone to be short and sweet about replies!

Please keep your comments on topic in each post and in response ONLY the questions below.

In your replies please answer the following questions. DO NOT copy and paste the questions in your reply. Just number your responses 1-4.

1. How long did it take you to make? Roughly from setting up ingredients to end of cooking time.

2. General impressions: like, love, just okay, don’t like it? Did the directions make sense, easily understood or any confusion? Worth the amount of work?

3. Ease or difficulty of finding ingredients in your area. Did you order any ingredients online?




4. Would you make this again? For just special occasions? Would you work this into your regular recipe rotation?

What not to include when replying to posts

-Pointing out general grammar or spelling errors, unless there is something that seriously interferes with recipe comprehension. The final manuscript will be reviewed by professional editors and proofreaders that will handle this.

-Anything not related to the 4 above questions. Please keep your answers short and on topic.

What you don’t need to worry about

-how many recipes you test to be included in the testing pool. Ideally I would like everyone to do as many as they can, but even just a handful help me. Exceptional testers will be eligible for books upon publication, but every tester who tests a few recipes and sticks around until the completion of recipe testing will get a mention in the published book.

-posting photos in this blog of your handiwork. If it moves you go ahead and post photos, but it’s entirely optional. If you’re so inclined, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post about taking fast and unfussy food photos!

Recipe Tester FAQ

Q: Can I post photos or talk about this on my blog / Facebook / Twitter / Google+

Yes, absolutely! Post and write to your heart’s content. Please do mention that said recipe is from Terry Hope Romero’s upcoming book, or just mention my name.

The only thing I ask you don’t do is post the actual recipe. You can mention some ingredients or flavors or general impressions and totally post photos, just no actual ingredient amounts and instructions please.

Q: I’m super busy and can’t continue testing, what should I do?

I totally understand that people get busy! I appreciate anything you can do. Considering the volume of testers, there is no need to write to me telling me you can no longer tester. If you come back eventually, great!, I’ll be glad to see you again.

Q: My mom/boyfriend/best friend since 5th grade wants to test too, can I invite them?

Sure, just have them email me at and I’ll add them to the tester pool.

Q: How long will testing go to? How often will recipes be posted?

Sometime in late Feb or early March, or perhaps a little longer with a few strangler recipes. I’ll give everyone plenty of heads up when we’re ready to wrap it up. I can’t say how often recipes will be posted, only that it’s probably best you check the blog once a week for updates.

Q: Will there be a recipe index I can consult to find out what to make (or what’s done testing)?

Yes! Please check the Recipe Index once a week to see the status of recipes posted. It may take me a few days but I’ll do my best to update the Index as often as possible.

Q: If I test a bunch of recipes, will I get a free cookbook?

Very likely! Please see the Tester Rewards post…

If you have any other tester questions at any time, please don’t hesitate to email me at and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Again, thanks so much for testing!

Recipe testing: Basic Equipment

As always I like to keep all things equipment light. Here are a few kitchen items I recommend having:

-heavy, sharp chef’s knife or santoko knife
-heavy duty cutting board. If possible, one small one and one really big one.
-big cast iron skillet, large soup stock pot, smaller saucepans. A smaller skillet, cast iron or stainless steel, is helpful to have
-mixing bowls, measuring cups & spoons
-box grater and a microplane grater/zester
-wire whisk, heat resistant silicon spatulas, long handled metal tongs
-baking pans, including rectangular ceramic or glass pans for roasting tofu, etc.

A few recipes will require blending and high speed chopping/pureeing. A moderately priced food processor is totally worth your while. If you can’t swing that consider investing in a hand held immersion blender, usually a little cheaper but a wizard at making creamy sauces, dips, soups, etc.

If you have a wok, that’s pretty awesome but optional. If you have a deep 12 inch skillet with a cover, either stainless steel or cast iron, we’ll do what we can to make due. But if you’re considering purchasing a wok, avoid non-stick woks in favor of carbon steel flat bottom woks. You’ll need to season carbon steel (not unlike seasoning cast iron), but I’ll tell you how; and once you do it you’ll only need to rarely re-season for easy naturally non-stick cooking. The typical size is 14 inches, but I love my little 12 inch wok which is fantastic for small kitchens with limited storage space. Choose flat bottom woks over rounded ones that require wok rings for support; flat bottom woks work great with electric and gas ranges and require no extra parts to function.