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A recipe is a set of instructions that show how to prepare a culinary dish. It normally consists of four or five components: the name of the dish, the ingredients, preparation techniques and the number of servings. Recipe writers sometimes also list variations of the traditional dish.

Table of contents

A sample recipe

Fried eggs
Three large eggs
2 teaspoons of butter (or olive oil)
Detailed Procedures:
In a small (10") frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Crack open the eggs into the pan and let fry until the yolks begin to harden at the edges (indicated by a lightening in the yolk color). Flip the eggs and allow to cook for one minute. Serve with salt and pepper.
Cover pan with a lid and continue cooking until yolk obscured by cooked egg white.
Sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Other considerations Some notable features of the sample recipe include:
  • Ingredients listed in order.
  • Pan size specified.
  • Cooking temperature specified.
  • Criteria for cooking time (until yolks set)
What else might be included
  • Special handling requirements (how are eggs or butter stored? At what temperature should they be when cooking starts?)
  • Garnishing or serving advice (add a sprig of parsley for color).

Additional facts often included in recipes Recipe writers often add additional facts that are not properly part of the recipe. The history of the dish, for example, or philosophical ramblings about the soul-enriching or health-benefiting properties of the dish, or what wonderful hostess in what particular town first served the dish to the author. Nutritional information is often included as well, including calories, vitamin content, fat content, etc.

Where are recipes to be found People have written recipes as recipe cards, recipe books, recipes worked into needlepoint, and computer recipe databases, among others. Take notes when making your favorite dish and share your recipe in the list of recipes.

The composer Leonard Bernstein set four recipes to music in his set of songs, La Bonne Cuisine (1947).

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