Recipe Testing

My, how life has changed. Just a few months ago, I was working in a perfectly fine job doing work that was okay, but nothing that I really loved.

And today? I get to spend time recipe testing for a new book from wine expert extraordinaire, the fabulous Natalie MacLean, author of the very highly acclaimed Red, White, and Drunk All Over. Natalie’s newest book brings together her wine expertise with great recipes from around the world.


As part of recipe testing, I first chose, from a list of recipes, the recipes I wanted to attempt. My choices included focaccia bread, a potato recipe, a green bean recipe, pumpkin soup, and a chicken dish. Because the book is not yet published, I can not share the recipes or details of the dishes, but I can tell you that so far they have all been very easy, really delicious, and ideal for entertaining.

red potatoes

I am still in the process of completing all of the recipes that I chose, but it is definitely an interesting experience. For one, some recipes may not be complete or written out as they will appear in the final product.

As a result, recipe testing is a little like conducting an experiment. Even though other people, including chefs in some cases, have already tested the recipes, the interpretation of the instructions can vary from person to person which makes writing a cookbook seem like quite the challenge!

Also, because Natalie is based in Canada, the measurements in the recipe are written using the metric system. Here’s where it is handy to be married to someone who grew up using the metric system Smile Between my husband’s ability to make conversions in his head and a few internet conversion sites, I was easily able to figure out how much of each ingredient I needed.

My job is to basically read through the recipes and make them, noting ingredients that may have been difficult to find, steps that may have been missing or unclear in the cooking process, and whether or not the outcome was a success. I have had fun so far looking at the recipes from my own perspective but also trying to think of questions other home cooks might have. All in all it has been a great exercise.

I am looking forward to the book’s release in the fall; it will definitely be on my wish list because I am so excited to see what wines are paired with the food.

Have you ever been a recipe tester or wanted to write a cookbook? If you got your own dream cookbook deal today, what would your book be like?

Note that I am volunteering to be a recipe tester; I am not being compensated in any way to promote the book or website, and my opinions are entirely based on my experience testing the recipes. :)

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Tags: cookbooks, cooking at home, Food, food and wine, Natalie MacLean, recipe testing, recipes, wine pairings, world wine regions

  1. Megan’s avatar

    I’ve done some recipe testing before. I dream of having that as a full-time job… one of these days… once I get someone to see that editing experience combined with baking/kitchen experience equals the perfect recipe tester. :)

    This sounds like a great project!


  2. Lizzy’s avatar

    What an awesome experience- that sounds like so much fun : )


  3. Michelle’s avatar

    I’ve never done recipe testing before but it definitely sounds like an interesting project!


  4. brandi’s avatar

    Recipe testing is my dream job!


  5. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    I’ve never done recipe testing, but it sounds like fun! Enjoy!


  6. Simply Life’s avatar

    oh what a fun (and helpful) thing to do!


  7. Renee {Eat.Live.Blog.}’s avatar

    I think this is probably every food bloggers dream job! Enjoy every second of it!


  8. Allison @ PickyEatingRD’s avatar

    I have never had the chance to try recipes nor have I had the motivation to write a recipe book. I tend to skip steps and forget the really small things that I just do naturally!


  9. Judy’s avatar

    What a fun way to spend the day. It would be great if you could find a way to turn it into a paying job. Let me know if you figure that one out!


  10. alicia’s avatar

    I would love to write a cookbook – but I’d be sooooo bad at it… I’m always so forgetful when it comes to writing down amounts and ingredients. When I do actually post a recipe, its a painstaking process!


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