photo by kkalyan

photo by kkalyan

Dinner in ten minutes? Meals using only 3 ingredients?  How about a recipe in under 140 characters?

If you use twitter chances are you  have seen ‘tweets’ that have an entire recipe condensed down to fit into a single post- the twecipe . Twitter has SMS’d  its way into our hearts as well as our bellies.

An example of a  twecipe that made it’s way into my ‘tweet stream’ recently…

gumbo-ht2/3c oil+½c flr stir til dk brn+2c onion celery/pepper/okra 1can tomatoes 2-4c stk,salt+ppr cook1hr+lbshrimp 10min bef serv …

After a couple of attempts at reading it and reminding myself to ‘stay present and live in the now’, I think I got it and it began to visually appear to me. Siouxbea the twitterer responsible for said masterpiece has managed to condense an entire Gumbo recipe into a single tweet, no easy feat I may add.

Having never made Gumbo before I decided to do a bit of research to find a similar recipe done  ‘ala old school’ to see if siouxbea had left any vital step or ingredient out.

The following recipe is courtesy of Kitchen Cooking Recipes

In a porcelain-lined sauce-pan put a tablespoonful of lard ; when hot put in a sliced onion, then a scant tablespoonful of flour and cook until a golden brown.  Put in a can of shrimp and cook 4 or 5 minutes; add a minced sweet pepper and two large tablespoonfuls of canned tomatoes.

Then add a can of okra or three teacupfuls of fresh sliced okra.  Let this simmer 10 minutes  or 20 minutes if the fresh okra is used  stirring constantly.  Then add one quart of water very gradually (one cup at a time).  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook slowly one hour and serve with boiled rice.  Chicken, crab meat, or ham and veal can be used instead of the shrimp.

Apart from the obvious differences in quantities and method which is a common trait in all recipe writing, the substance in both recipes seems fairly similar. The difference lies in the quality and quantity of the method.

A confident cook may very well be able to successfully navigate there way through a tweeted recipe by simply ‘ht2/3c oil +flr’ , whereas other cooks,  may prefer to ‘let it simmer for 10 minutes while stirring constantly’

What ever your prefered method of recipe delivery in this day in age when less is more and people  engage each other in short bursts, the short burst recipe is bound to appeal to many.

The New York Times has got in on the act by putting out a recipe challenge to twitter users asking them to condense one of their recipes down to 140 characters. You can even check on your progress and see who else is attempting the challenge by searching twitter for #nytrc which will give you a constant update of who and what’s being attempted! Phew…

My only question for twecipe writers is how do you tweet the picture? As a self confessed visual learner I tend to get more involved with a recipe that has a great photo not to mention a lead in story as to why I  need to attempt this recipe.

Because believe it or not sometimes sheer hunger is not what drives me to pour over a recipe,  down a pinny and pick up my wooden spoon.

Next on the twitter radar? Condense a whole blog post into a single tweet- the twiog?

twit+rec=twecipe/norm+rec=lngr meth,but 0 pht+stry. So NYT twecipe chall @ #nytrc if u lk  SMS’d rec’ps + can ck ok. *winks*



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With 20+ years working in commercial kitchens, I’m here to share with you some of the best secrets of the trade to help you cook better, faster and to eat well. You will surprise a lot of family & friends when you give some of my recipes a try.