7

I can't seem to find any guidelines on this, but I seem to recall seeing a few questions back in the early days of the "I just came into a large quantity of [x]. How do I use it up?" ilk. Are those kinds of questions OK?

For example: How can I use up a large quantity of egg? and How can I use a large quantity of raw almonds all at once?

  • If you're wondering about specifics, it's Easter egg season at my house, and the fridge is full of the blown-out contents of said eggs. We've already had tojásos nokedli more than once, and while I love me some egg gnocchi with scrambled eggs on top, there's only so much of it I can eat. – Marti Mar 5 '16 at 19:31
  • I think we eventually started applying the "culinary uses" guidelines to these, which tends to make them off-topic (it's something that's normally food), but it might be worth specifically addressing this category. – Cascabel Mar 5 '16 at 19:41
  • I'm sure we've discussed exactly this topic here on meta in the context of somebody who asked what to do with dozens of pounds of almonds, but can't find that discussion right now. I'd very much like to see what we concluded back then. – rumtscho Mar 5 '16 at 19:55
  • @rumtscho: I vaguely remember exactly that almond question, too, but couldn't find it. – Marti Mar 6 '16 at 0:01
  • Correction: here's the question itself. What I can't find is any meta discussion of it. (I totally did not remember answering that question. Huh.) – Marti Mar 6 '16 at 0:08
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My inclination here is no, we should deem these examples off-topic under the "what can I do with X" custom close reason. If no dish would normally contain large quantities of X, however, that might fit under the "no culinary uses" exception. (That's not the case with eggs or almonds, I don't think.)

Note also that "how can I preserve X?" may well be a good question!

I do hate to ban categories questions as much as anyone, but I'm afraid that this type of question does appear to be the kind of thing that can attract a large number of equally good answers.

(This answer is not meant to be laying down the law, of course - vote and comment as you see fit!)


To back up a bit, that close reason is all about trying to avoid long-list questions (i.e. too-broad questions) but without getting into a debate about whether things are too broad on every question in this category. The exception carves out an area where there are not likely to be a lot of possibilities (so the question is less broad) and on top of that, the potential answers are not likely to be well-known (so the question is even more useful).

So in looking at these questions, we should think primarily about how broad they are, i.e. how long the list of answers would be. It seems that both the egg question and the almond question are fairly broad. There are a rather large number of possible things one can make with a lot of eggs or a lot of almonds. If they were less generic ingredients, that might be different, but these are pretty common things. So it makes sense to lump the egg question and the almond question in with the rest of "what can I do with X?"

To get an idea of how to make this all consistent, we can simply try to apply the "no culinary uses" exception. Usually we're asking "is X normally an ingredient." This is pretty much the same, except X is a large quantity of something, not just any amount. So we should then ask: is "a lot of X" something that's generally regarded as a possible ingredient in a recipe? If so, the close reason applies. If not, the exception applies.

Using those rules, we might say:

  • "...a lot of eggs" - off-topic, since it's common for dishes to be mostly made of eggs.
  • "...a lot of fresh mint" - on-topic, since it's uncommon for dishes to mostly be made of mint.
  • As Makromika pointed out, there's a lot of eggs, and then there's a lot of eggs. My great-grandfather's hazelnut torte recipe requires a lot of eggs: 8 of them, the whites for the cake, the yolks for the frosting. When my niece gets going on the egg dyeing, though, we're talking upwards of two dozen eggs, yolks and whites all jumbled together. It's a much more specific, and limited, scenario than "I need to use up a lot of eggs." Or like with a gardener: there's a world of difference between cooking zucchini and using up an entire garden's worth of zucchini. – Marti Mar 24 '16 at 21:46
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    @Marti But nonetheless, it's common for dishes to be mostly made of eggs. So the only way to use up even larger quantities is to eat even more dishes made mostly of eggs, so the answers inevitably have to just be lists of those common mostly-egg dishes. This isn't about how hard it is to use up all the eggs, it's about how many ways there are to reasonably do so. A good demonstration of the kind of list we don't want (with shrimp instead of eggs): youtu.be/4rT5fYMfEUc?t=39 – Cascabel Mar 24 '16 at 21:50
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I don't see how this is any different from the close explanation:

Questions of the form "What can I do with [ingredient]?" are off-topic because they are subjective and lead to a long list of equally good suggestions, which is not compatible with the Stack Exchange format. See Culinary Uses Guidelines for details. Exceptions are made for items which are not generally considered to have any culinary use.

We already have this as off topic.

Eggs (and almonds) are clearly culinary products. I don't see how adding "a large quantity" makes this any less subjective of a question.

I believe this type of question is off topic and should be closed.

  • 1
    The difference is that there is a best way to use up a lot of an ingredient: by making something that involves only that ingredient, or at least very few other ingredients. The best answer would list all of the most-efficient food types, not a single food that happens to use the ingredient. – Marti Mar 9 '16 at 18:18
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    No, there's not a best way. You have four answers to your question already and they're all different. The list of possible solutions is infinite. – Catija Mar 9 '16 at 18:19
  • There's a reason I haven't accepted any of the answers... – Marti Mar 9 '16 at 18:49
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    You having a personal favorite answer doesn't mean there is one perfect answer. No one answer will ever have every possible choice, either. That is the definition of "too broad". – Catija Mar 9 '16 at 18:52
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    @Marti "...would list all of the most-efficient food types" - that, unfortunately, is why this is probably too broad and thus intended to be part of that close reason. There are a lot of most-efficient ways to use something like eggs. If you include the 3 things you mentioned in the question, there are actually seven already! – Cascabel Mar 9 '16 at 21:06
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Since the almond question remains open, I went ahead and posted my egg question. As Emperor Gregor would say, let's see what happens.

0

I understand why someone would say it's off topic, but I look at Seasoned Advice not just for ADVICE, but for inspiration as well. Yes, you may get many equally good answers. All the better!! I've seen many questions on other Stack Overflow boards with similar issues. After the answers start repeating, the questions are closed, but remain available for others to view.

I keep thinking about the issues of cooking "Seasonally". Those are the times that you get a LOT of xyz items. If my garden just produced a HUGE crop of xyz, and I don't want it to go to waste, both "How do I preserve it?" and "How do I use a lot of it?" both seem like good questions. Especially on the more common things to come from someone's garden, like corn, tomatoes, hot peppers, eggplant, etc.

All that said, people aren't growing EGGS in their garden, but I think the choice of ingredient shouldn't matter.

  • You make a pretty good point: just because, say, zucchini is a perfectly ordinary ingredient that people use every day, doesn't mean it's an ingredient that people use 4 bushels of every day. Or like in my case with the eggs, yes, we cook with eggs all the time, but we don't usually have a half gallon of slightly-colorful semi-scrambled egg innards occupying the fridge. It's not the ingredient itself we're having trouble with, it's the quantity. – Marti Mar 24 '16 at 21:31
  • Yes, thank you, that's exactly the issue...the how to use something in quantity. – Macromika Mar 28 '16 at 15:39

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