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Recipes That AREN’T recipes! (A small rant)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Last week, the featured Spark People recipe, was a pineapple cake. Now I love pineapple upside down cake, and thought this might be an alternative, so I took a look.

Ingredients were:-

1 box of cake mix
1 can of pineapple!!!!


Today, the featured recipe was for a berry cobbler, it looked tasty though I don’t often eat dessert, but I took a look anyway.

Guess what the first ingredient in this ‘recipe’ was!

1 box of cake mix!!


How can anybody call that a recipe, or put it up as ‘clean eating’?

Cake recipes don’t come processed in a box!

They start:-

6ozs self raising flour
6ozs butter
6ozs caster sugar
3 large eggs

Apply some elbow grease!

Cook for 25 minutes in a medium oven.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
BAMAJAM 8/5/2013 4:18PM

  Well--- Cake mix and a can of cherry pie filling is a quick, delicious cobbler--Oh, and add about half stick of butter on top! I know we all want "healthy" but limiting the serving to "small"--- is OK for me. Back in the days of making everything from scratch, -- so many pies were made from LARD-- ( made a flaky crust, but I don't want to eat lard.) I want to try Granny's pineapple cake. (smile)
Different strokes for folks!

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BERRY4 8/4/2013 3:18AM

    Last time I made a couple of "healthy" items to bring to a potluck with kids & adults. Nobody touched the good-for-you stuff. Every one was used to "junk": mac&cheese, fried chicken, pizza. No one was interested in a spinach salad nor a bar cookie dessert. (It wasn't coated w/ frosting??!)

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GARDENQE2 7/20/2013 2:46PM

    Why do so many people think baking with a mix is faster? Why do so many people think cooking from scratch is complicated?

My favorite bread contains stone-ground whole-grain flour, yeast, water, salt.
It can be measured out almost as fast as I can say it!

I just taught my 12-year-old grandson how to make Crazy Chocolate Cake, and even he was amazed at how easy it was, baking from scratch! Nine ingredients and into the oven in ten minutes!

I won't eat anything from a mix. I want GOOD food!


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SUECHRIS50 7/16/2013 2:44PM

    I understand what you are saying but its a cake my granny used to make and it was 1 box of angelfood cake mix and a 20 oz can of crushed pineapple or chunks juice and all,mix quickly and watch it foam up,dont worry its a chemical reaction.bake at 350 in a 9x13 pan for about 25-30 minutes.the top will be crispy!mmm good top with cool whip or vanilla ice cream.

Comment edited on: 7/16/2013 2:52:44 PM

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SQUIRRELMOMMA1 7/16/2013 9:55AM

    OMG I totally agree with you! There are many, many recipes on Spark that are exactly like that. Or those crazy ones that are so high in sodium that we'd probably fall over dead if we ate it. Who eats that junk. I've seen those "cake" recipes too and instantly discarded them. Opening up a box isn't baking, it is simply cooking. If I want to be mindful of what I'm eating (and I do) I'm going to put much more care into what goes into me.

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KSCHRAUT 7/15/2013 8:40AM

    I completely agree! I'm a young adult, (23) and I bake/make 95% of my meals, desserts, etc homemade from scratch. I very rarely buy the box of cake mix unless I'm in a real hurry!

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1SALMON1 7/14/2013 4:23PM

    I agree with you. I wonder what response this blog would get if posted on the nutrition message boards?

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STFRENCH 7/14/2013 11:13AM


Urgh! As a keen baker, this really makes me shake my head in despair - You are right: it's not as if it is THAT difficult to mix the few ingredients needed for a basic cake! *tut*

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HARMONIUM 7/12/2013 5:19PM

    You are so correct! And these pre-fab mixes are filled with dubious ingredients at best and an array of toxic carbs...

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TRUCKERSMRS 7/12/2013 2:46AM

    When we were at school they use to teach us cooking but these days a lot of schools don't bother and there is a whole generation out there that do not know any of the basics.
Added to that, the food industry have grabbed onto that and introduced so many products to "make life easy" I sometimes feel we are on a losing battle.
Personally, I'm glad I am able to knock up a meal from fresh ingrediants and am able to ignore a lot of recipies out there.

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MT-MOONCHASER 7/11/2013 9:26PM

    I guess that us old fogies are lost in space...

I actually think that posting variations that improve the nutritional value of foods is okay, but calorie and sodium amounts vary greatly from mix to mix and there weren't any cautions about those.

I guess that we must just do as we have always done and look over the list of ingredients and ignore the recipes that we don't think will work for us.

I'm always reminded of a popular biscuit mix package which boldly declared that it contained no cholesteral. One of the shoppers in the local grocery store commented on it, and I said, "Of course it has no cholesteral in it, you add it at home when you put in the oil, milk, and eggs!"

Have a good day and enjoy your scratch cooking.

I voted for this as popular blog.


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DANAPRIME 7/11/2013 4:18PM

    It is surprising what our younger generation do not know. A few years ago, when my diet was BAD, I had a young woman over to visit. She wanted to make a box cake found in my cupboard. She did not know how to grease and flour the pan. So, I am pretty sure a cake from scratch would have been out of the question.

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JAMIELOGICAL 7/11/2013 2:34PM

    I'm lazy and a terrible cook, so any shortcuts for a recipe are welcome to me! Also, SparkPeople isn't all about "clean eating" there are other sites for clean eating recipes. SparkPeople is more about low cal/low fat options.

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_RAMONA 7/11/2013 1:41PM

    Amen, amen, AMEN!!!!

THIS is exactly why I NEVER use SparkRecipes, never recommend them, and will never buy a cookbook!!!

Thanks for posting this!

P.S. I hope everyone who commented also 'liked' this blog entry so that it comes to the attention of the 'powers that be'... my expectation of a nutrition 'expert' is actual teaching about NUTRITION, HEALTH, good WHOLE food and actual COOKING... not coming up with the latest way to fool you into thinking you're eating nutritionally.

Comment edited on: 7/13/2013 10:38:54 PM

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REBECCAMA 7/11/2013 12:42PM

    Have to agree with you and everyone else who has commented here.

As OveractiveElbow pointed out many of the pictures that go with the recipes don't match the ingredients in the recipe at all! I have seen that pointed out many times!

And as someone else said, oftentimes the recipe is a thinly disguised (or not disguised at all sometimes!) advertisement for a product.

Often the recipes aren't healthy. They are high in calories and/or high in fat and sodium too. Sure they may or may not be made with fresh ingredients but that doesn't mean you'll lose weight. Also note the portion sizes on some of these things. They will give you tiny portions in an effort to get the calories down. Not realistic at all.

There are times when I want to make something from scratch, times when I just want the cake in the box, and times when I'll take the cake in the box and add my own special twist to it. I don't need Spark for either of the last two. Often when I am cooking I have a 7 year old helper. Sometimes she just wants to frost and decorate the cake and so the mix is fine. Other times we want to make something that is really homemade. It all depends on our mood. Is that an American thing only? No, I don't think so. I imagine women AND men all over the world feel the same way about cooking.

So I do hope you get a Popular Blog Post for your rant because it is definitely a feeling shared by many of us!

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RAINBOWCHOC 7/11/2013 12:21PM

    I really wish you get the "Popular Blog Award" for this.....but somehow doubt it!

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MAIM138 7/11/2013 11:25AM

    Ugh! I'm with you.

We have bake sales pretty frequently to raise money for our roller derby league, and I bake several batches of different things from scratch (because there IS no other way, as far as I'm concerned), and half of everyone else shows up with Betty Crocker cupcakes and cookies they cut from a pre-made tube of dough.


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AMANDANCES 7/11/2013 10:49AM

    Agree 100% !

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MARTHROID 7/11/2013 9:24AM

    I actually noticed that too. As soon as I saw that, I just tried to find something else. I was in the mood for a dessert. I made the meringue cookies...not too unhealthy and the kids loved them. I will not make a recipe that calls for cake least not right now in my life. That's pretty funny. emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/11/2013 9:28:44 AM

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OLIVIANIGHT 7/11/2013 7:51AM

    I always think that too!! So many tasty-looking recipes but as soon as I see the ingredients I just bin them.

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WATERDIAMONDS 7/11/2013 7:37AM

    100% in your corner on this. I have re-learned how to cook from scratch and I love it.

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MARUKI52 7/11/2013 7:21AM

    I have to agree that it is far better to cook from scratch. Then, and only then, can you know what has gone into the mix and it won't be any "nasties" that you would not really want to put in your body.

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IONA72 7/11/2013 4:02AM

    Why are we getting cake as a featured recipe?????? Not what I signed up for emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 7/11/2013 2:29AM

    I agree with you totally, cook from scratch!

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THE_SHAKESHAFT 7/11/2013 1:26AM

    I'm with you totally!

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SUNNYBEACHGIRL 7/11/2013 12:49AM

    I so agree with you.

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SNOW_LEOPARD_74 7/11/2013 12:10AM

    I rarely see recipes on here that are what I would consider healthy. EIther they are loaded with fat or are from pre-made starting ingredients such as the cake mix. I find that user recipes are often better than the Spark recipes.

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MARYJEANSL 7/10/2013 11:46PM

  I could not agree with you more. Nothing irritates me quite as much a recipes that rely on boxed mixes, canned soups, etc. In fact, I absolutely refuse to make a recipe that requires a can of condensed whatever. Or cake mix, for that matter. It isn't that hard to make a cake from scratch, and it really isn't all that much more work than a mix. If I really want to have all the fat and calories of a cake, I would prefer to know exactly what I'm getting, in any case.

Ranters, unite!!

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CATHEMARIE 7/10/2013 10:48PM


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ISHIIGIRL 7/10/2013 10:19PM

    I actually think those "recipes" are thinly disguised as advertisements for the cake mix manufacturer. I wonder if they were sponsored recipes. I hate those. I know the site needs sponsors to stay free, but can't they get sponsors that advocate real food and not processed junk? I feel your pain!

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BEWELL48 7/10/2013 10:14PM

    Love it!!!

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LIVE_AMAZINGLY 7/10/2013 9:25PM

    Actually, with my energy problems, even the cake mix and can of pineapple is to much work. If I want cake I buy it. Hopefully some day I will learn to 'skip the cake'.
emoticon emoticon

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    an addendum to your rant.. and a rant I have seen many times... The picture of the prepared recipe... really bears little resemblance to the ingredient list and the preparation directions. look at all those polysyllabic words. Every once in a very great while I surprise myself.

I agree with your rant on the many things you see on this "We promote healthy eating/life-style" website. Then the ads of questionable taste for a website with that motto... But they are probably raking in some really big dollars for the ads and we need to practice our discernment skills. And if you are careful the site is free for the use and browsing.

Maybe these things we rant about are just tests ??? nah, follow the money.

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BUNNYKICKS 7/10/2013 9:11PM

    Ohhh recipes that rely on "boxed cake mix" or "instant pudding packet" etc. etc. just really get on my nerves. I had been eyeing that cobbler recipe - now I'm glad I never clicked, and now I never will! SIGH!

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COCK-ROBIN 7/10/2013 9:11PM

    You're doing great!

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JUNEAU2010 7/10/2013 9:05PM

    I echo your rant!

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REGILIEH 7/10/2013 9:01PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LADYIRISH317 7/10/2013 8:36PM

    Totally agree! It's like the "recipes" on boxes and cans.

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DEBIGENE 7/10/2013 8:03PM

    That says it all !!! LOL !!!

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CHRISTASP 7/10/2013 8:01PM

    I get the impression, fairly frequently, that many / most (?) Americans do not know how to cook. Or maybe, do not want to cook. I get the impression that to many, it's an old fashioned thing to prepare your own foods.
I don't mean this as a judgment, because I think other countries may well follow this trend, sooner or later. Sadly.

Comment edited on: 7/10/2013 8:04:03 PM

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ALIHIKES 7/10/2013 8:01PM

    I agree with you! But I do notice that some of the non-recipes are posted by users and not by Chef Meg

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PATRICIAAK 7/10/2013 7:37PM

    Perhaps, SP needs a new category called Quick Desserts or Minimal Prep Time.
That would distinguish them from the 'from scratch' recipes.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/10/2013 7:26PM

    Totally agree!

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SUSANNAH31 7/10/2013 7:20PM

    I agree! Cake mixes are not for me either. And cans of fruits or vegetables are definitely out! Let's have the real thing!

There's one item I want to learn to make from scratch -- and that is pudding. I am sorry to say that I still use a package of pudding mix for that.

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OWL_20 7/10/2013 7:08PM

    Ha! I kind of feel the same way, I grew up baking so it's sacrilege to use a box of "anything" in a recipe. emoticon

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LCOLANGELO0803 7/10/2013 6:46PM

    Point made - agree with what your saying. but.... "the teacher in me" lol'

the definition of a recipe is:

A set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required.

Something which is likely to lead to a particular outcome: "sky-high interest rates are a recipe for disaster".

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CATLADY52 7/10/2013 6:44PM

    emoticon Apparently the Spark editors are thinking of harried people who don't have all of the ingredients at hand or they are not good bakers. emoticon

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CATLADY52 7/10/2013 6:38PM

    The directions are for the hurried person who doesn't have time to do things right I suppose. emoticon They certainly aren't for people who have time on their hands.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 7/10/2013 6:30PM

    Love your rant! I'm afraid I'd be more likely to make the 1 box... but that's because the take the flour (self rising... um... that would be gold medal?) add butter, sugar... umm... what was the order of that again?

Yeah, I know your point is how is processed foods clean or healthy? Well, if you never cook with fruit this might be a start. Not every one here is concerned with clean eating so Spark People doesn't police the entries... however, they could make better choices to highlight.

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KENSHO 7/10/2013 6:26PM

    emoticon Good point and well said!

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