How to annotate a new recipe

When trying a new recipe for the first time I annotate it to highlight certain important parts. An annotated recipe is easier to follow when cooking. And the process of annotating a recipe forces me to actually read the recipe.

Here is a recipe that I’ve already annotated:

In the ingredients list

  • Underline implicit preparation steps like “chopped”, “minced”, “defrosted”. Mark their ordering with ①, ②, ③, etc. With such implicit steps marked you’ll remember to do them even though they may not be in the main recipe steps.

  • Put a [ bracket around ingredient clusters that are added or used at the same time.

  • Mark fresh or uncommon ingredients with ● that I’ll definitely need to buy. Mark pantry ingredients that eventually expire with ○ since I might need to buy them. All other items are pantry ingredients which never expire and don’t usually need to be worried about.

  • Draw a ▭ rectange around key ingredients. These give the primary flavor and should only be substituted with extra care.

  • Mark any substitutions with ≈

In the recipe steps

  • Mark any cooking times like “12 to 15 minutes”

  • Mark any words that imply the use of non-standard equipment like “sift” or “poach”