Putting the recipe swap questions issue aside, I think these questions should be on topic (for sane values of Y) as they usually have an answer (you applied too much heat, too little water, etc.)

Wouldn't you agree?

2 Answers 2


Any culinary question that asks "I tried this, didn't work, what happened?" is hugely on topic.

Read this very carefully: Clarification of recipe swap questions.

There is a world of difference between a call out for a recipe (bad) and

  • discussing a recipe
  • how to improve a recipe
  • trouble shooting a recipe

Those are a perfectly fine for a culinary discussion.

Recipes are the "language" of cooking and anyone who thinks that "recipe" is a bad word on this system just really isn't getting it.

  • I agree, and this question was indeed aimed at pointing out the differences between the cases you mention.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Jul 18, 2010 at 18:08
  • On the other hand, the recipe tag really needs to be eliminated; most of the questions in it are either questions that aren't really about recipes or questions that should be closed. Having the tag around gives the impression that recipe requests are OK. Still, I agree that questions relating to a specific recipe are entirely different from questions asking for recipes.
    – Aaronut
    Jul 18, 2010 at 18:24
  • Totally agree. An overly restrictive approach will just turn this site into "Food Q&A brought to you by Robotic Software Developers".
    – hobodave
    Jul 18, 2010 at 19:48

Wouldn't this kind of question be likely to generate numerous, probably subjective, answers based on peoples own personal notions about how any given recipe should be followed and in the case of problems, repaired?

I'm not saying there isn't a right answer, most of the time, but quite often, as the saying goes, to many cooks...

  • Depends on the value of Y. If Y is "the bread didn't rise" there are a finite number of objective answers for that possible cause. If Y is "I didn't like the taste" or course that'll be subjective unless burned food or otherwise obviously mishandled content was involved.
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Jul 18, 2010 at 15:10
  • 2
    Cooking is basically physics. Just because a "trouble shooting" question might have multiple approaches, multiple suggestions, and multiple answers-- multiple answers does NOT in and of itself constitute a subjective discussion. Jul 18, 2010 at 15:26
  • I tend to agree with both of you, but I wanted to raise the possibility that these kinds of questions may tend towards the subjective.
    – Pulse
    Jul 18, 2010 at 15:42
  • I'd say that if there is subjectivity, it's exactly the sort that's helpful in cooking: judgment based on experience.
    – Peter V
    Jul 21, 2010 at 16:46
  • I agree. I was playing devils advocate, as the term 'subjective' tends to be a bit of a dirty word around these parts.
    – Pulse
    Jul 21, 2010 at 22:35

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