Step # 6: The
Recipe � Grocery Savings Keystone
What two colors do manufacturers
often use because they are likely to catch your eye?
A. Red and bright blue
B. Red and green
C. Red and pink
D. Red and yellow
Take notice the next time you
go shopping. Red and yellows are used extensively because they
are both colors that catch the eye.
keystone of any menu is the recipe. The recipe is an important
tool for the cook. It�s the means of recording and passing
along critical information. Cooking without a recipe is like
learning to play the piano without using written music.
In spite of its importance,
written recipes have many limits. No matter how detailed a
recipe may be it assumes that you already have certain knowledge
� that you understand the language it uses and that you know
how to measure ingredients.
A recipe is a set of
instructions for creating specific food dishes. In order to
repeat a desired meal, it is necessary that we have a precise
record of the ingredients, their amounts, and the way in which
we combined and cooked them.
Everyone�s favorite meal is
Aunt Fay�s Easy Weeknight Chili. Because you�ve make it so
often, you can cook it without looking at your aunt�s recipe
Makes 4 servings.
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 20 min.
1 pound ground beef
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, undrained
1 package (1.25 ounces) chili seasoning
1 cup shredded Cheddar
Chopped onion (garnish)
In 2 to 3-quart saucepan
over medium-high heat, add ground beef and cook until no
longer pink, stirring often. Drain.
Next, stir in tomato sauce,
beans and seasoning.
Bring to a boil, cover and
simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir chili before
Top with shredded cheese and
Many people believe that
cooking is just learning recipes. However, a knowledgeable cook
is able to prepare food without a written recipe, if they have
to. They simply have a good understanding of basic principles
Yet, no matter how detailed it
is, a written recipe can�t tell you everything, and some
judgment by the cook is always required. There are three reasons
1. Food products are not
2. Kitchens do not have the
3. For many processes, it is
not possible to give exact instruction. For example, how do you
set the burner for, �Cook over medium-high heat�? How thick
this is a �thick� sauce?
When you make a recipe for the
first time, you apply your knowledge and thinking about making
the recipe, in relation to your skills. You want to determine
the following points:
1.) What are the basic cooking
2.) What are the
characteristics of the ingredients?
3.) What is the function of the
4.) What are the cooking times?
Experienced cooks know how to
cook with judgment. Then you will be able to cook with most
recipes, even poorly written ones. You will be able to see what
might be wrong with new recipes before you try it and will be
able to make adjustments in it. You will know how to substitute
ingredients or use different equipment. You will even be able to
create new recipes.
Remember, I said that some
recipes supply very little information and depend largely on the
cook�s knowledge. In cooking, thorough measurement is a key
part. It is important for constant quality each time you make a
recipe. Moreover, it is important for cost control. There are
two important kinds of kitchen measurements:
Weighing is the most accurate
method of measuring ingredients. It is the method used for most
solid ingredients. Accurate scales are necessary for weighting.
Because of their convenience, cooks use small portion scales in
Cooks use volume measures, for
example measuring cups, for liquids. Measuring a liquid by
volume is usually faster than weighing it, and accuracy is good.
You usually do not measure
solid ingredients by volume since they cannot usually be measure
accurately by this method. A pint of chopped onions will vary
considerably in weight, depending on how large or small you cut
them. Another factor is how loose or well packed the measuring
Dry ingredients such as flour
or sugar are usually weighted. However, you may measure them by
volume, when speed is more important than accuracy.
Measuring ingredients by count
in these circumstances:
1. When units are in standard
sized. Like 6 large eggs.
2. When you determine serving
portions by number of units.
Portion Control is the
measurement of portions to ensure that you serve the correct
amount of an item. The home cook must be aware of proper portion
sizes. The recipe usually tells us what the portion sizes are.
Portion control actually begins
with the measuring of ingredients. If you don�t do this
correctly, then your recipe servings will be thrown off.
When portions are determined by
count � 1 hamburger patty, 2 tomato slices, 1 slice of pie �
then the units must be measure or cut according to instructions:
4 ounces of meat per patty; 1/4-inch slices of tomato; 8 equal
For the home use, it is
important in calorie control if people are heath conscious.
Frequently, you will need to
convert recipes to different amounts. For example, you may have
a recipe for 10 servings of Swiss steak, but you only need 5
servings. Converting recipes is a very important technique.
Nearly everyone can double a recipe or cut it in half. It seems
more complicated to change a recipe from 4 to 7 or 8 to 5.
Actually, the principle is the same: you multiple each
ingredient by a number called a conversion factor, as follows:
1. Divide the desire yield by
the recipe yields: new yield / old yield = conversion factor
2. Multiple each ingredient
quantity by the conversion factor: conversion factor x old
quantity = new quantity.
(It is best to convert all
weights to ounces and all volumes to fluid ounces.)
Let�s say Tom Mix Beans goes
from a 8 servings to a 5 servings.
New Yield/old yield = 5/8 =
1 pound dried beans = 16 oz.
so, 16 oz. x .625 = 10 ounces.
8 cups water = 64 ounces
64 ounces x .625 = 40 ounces = 5 cups
For the most part, these
conversion procedures work very well. However, when you make
some very large conversion, like from 10 to 400 portions, or
from 500 to 6. However, in the home context, this would be a
rare occurrence. Not only does it factor in reducing quantity of
ingredients and would change the kitchen equipment to do the
work. Importantly, it is going to increase or decrease the
Food service operations are
businesses. However, even though the home is not a business, you
still have to worry about budgets, cost and bills. (It�s the
reason for the book.) You have a great deal of responsibility
for food cost controls. You must always be aware of accurate
measurements, portion control, and careful cooking and handling
of foods to avoid excess trimming loss, shrinkage, and waste.
In order to calculate portion
cost of recipes, you must first determine the cost of your
ingredients. For many ingredients, this is relatively easy. You
just look at your invoice or at a price list.
Many recipes, however, specify
trimmed weight rather than the weight you actually pay for. For
example, a stew might call for 1/2-pound of sliced onions. Let�s
say you pay 24 cents a pound for onions, and to get 1/2-pound of
sliced onions, you need �-pound of untrimmed onions. In order
to calculate the cost of the recipe correctly, you have to
figure out what you actually paid for the onions. In this cast,
the true cost is 18 cents (3/4 times $.24 per lb.) not 12 cents
(1/2-pound times $.24 per lb.)
It is the total cost of all the
ingredients in a recipes, divided by the number of portions.
Portion cost = cost of ingredients / number of portions
I will cost out a sample recipe
to show you how the procedure works. First, not the following
points and keep them in mind when you are calculating portion
costs. Many errors is costing are caused by forgetting one of
1. Cost must be based on as
purchased amounts, even though recipes often give edible portion
quantities. For example if the chicken recipe calls for you to
remove skin, de-bone and chop chicken into pieces. The whole
chicken is the purchased amount and the skinless and de-boned is
the edible portion.
2. Include everything. That
means the lemon wedge and parsley garnish for the fish filled,
the cream and sugar that go with the coffee, and the oil that
was used for pan-frying the eggplant. You call these the hidden
cost. Seasoning and spices are a typical example of hidden costs
that are difficult to calculate. I�ve seen where some add up
the cost of all hidden items used in a year and divide that by
the total food costs to get a percentage. You add this
percentage to each item. For example, if the cost of an item is
$2.00 and the seasoning cost percentage is 5%, the total cost is
$2.00 plus 5% of $2.00, or $2.10. You can calculate other hidden
costs the same way. For example, you use Crisco Vegetable oil.
The bottle is 48 fl. oz. (The bottle contains 96 �1
tablespoon) The bottle cost $2.00 / 96 = $.02 per tablespoon.
3. Record the number of
portions actually served, not just the number of recipe is
intended to serve. If the roast beef shrank more that you
expected during cooking, or if you dropped a piece of cake on
the floor, those cost still have to be converted.
Procedures for calculating
1. List ingredients and
quantities of recipe as prepared.
2. Convert the recipe
quantities to as purchased quantities.
3. Determine the price of each
ingredient. The units in step 2 and 3 must be the same.
4. Calculate the total cost of
each ingredient by multiplying the price per unit by the number
of units needed.
5. Add up the ingredient cost
to get the total recipe cost.
6. Divide the total cost by the
number of portions served to get the cost per portion.
1 - pound ground beef
2 - cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 - can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, undrained
1 - package (1.25 ounces) chili seasoning
1 - cup shredded
Chopped onion (garnish)
1 - pound ground beef
2 - 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 - 15 ounce can red kidney beans
1 - 1.25 ounce package Chili Seasoning
1 - cup shredded
chopped onion (garnish)
Step 3 & 4
Ground beef = $3.99 / lb. = 3.99
2 cans tomato sauce = $.49 = $.98
1 can kidney beans = $1.49 = $1.49
1 pkg. chili seasoning = $.69 = $.69
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese = $2.88 / 2 cups = $1.44
chopped onion = $.25 per onion = $.119
Total = $8.71
divided by 4 = $2.18 per serving
When it is all said and done,
there is one important question. Do you read the grocery ads or
look for coupons before figuring what recipe you�re going to
use? It is the which came first, chicken or egg theory. One of
the great things about a restaurant is their menu is standard
and their recipes are standard. The items they need don�t vary
like in the household.
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