Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Getting the Kinks Out

When it comes to recipes, culinary powerhouse Leite's Culinaria just wants to weed out the riff-raff. And so, every month, they rely on a team of volunteer recipe testers to sort out the good, the bad, and the mediocre. From these, the best-reviewed recipes get posted on the website -- and the best of the best (those scored, on average, 8 or higher out of 10) are deemed "Tester's Choice". These are the ones that, according to testers, you've just got to make -- like the colourful-sounding Apricot-Pistachio-Lemon Coffee Cake.

So, how does it work for testers? Every month, each tester selects at least one recipe from those given. To give you a clearer idea, this month there were two different authors and six different recipes, ranging from easy-to-prepare meals to the more advanced. Picking a recipe (I chose one from quick-fix maven Robin Miller) was simple, and, I must geekily admit, kind of exciting.

The commitment? Testers have to really, truly promise that they will test at least one recipe a month during their time as a recipe tester. They must also agree to prepare the recipes exactly as specified in the directions, so if you're the spontaneous type, this might not be the thing for you. With that said, Linda Avery, the site's Food Editor, is no robot -- if you're going on vacation and won't be home to cook, you can always send her an email and let her know.

And the perks? Well, if you do follow through on your commitment to cook at least one recipe a month for six consecutive months, you can put the experience on your resume and Linda or one of her colleagues will vouch for the accuracy of your claim. Maybe not the most useful thing for those of us not pursuing a culinary career, but perhaps that "Additional Interests" section on your resume could use some added colour. It also ensures that at least one meal (or dessert) a month is already figured out.

If nothing else, it's just fun to be able to call yourself a "Recipe Tester."

If you're interested in becoming a recipe tester for Leite's Culinara, you can visit the registration site here. They won't be accepting new testers until Canada Day (July 1) -- so get ready to Ctrl + D.


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