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INSTRUCTIONS & FAQ
FAQ & Instructions for making a request:
- The genesis of "Ask Uncle Phaedrus" is given here: Ask Uncle Phaedrus Timeline
- You must sign your real first name to your request. I like for requests to be a little bit personalized. Come on, for Pete's sake, no one is going to track you or trace you or send you unwanted e-mail by just your first name. I'm not going to give out your e-mail address.
- The content of this site is made up of e-mail requests from readers and my replies to them. It must be understood that I will post your request. I won't give your full name, I will delete your e-mail address, and I won't post any personal photos you attach, but your e-mail question or request will most likely be posted on this site unless you a give good reason for and specifically request confidentiality from the beginning. I do not give out e-mail addresses to third parties, and I do not automatically subscribe anyone to a newsletter, which I don't have anyway. Any recipe that you send me may be also placed on the website unless you specifically request that it not be and why.
- Please limit your recipe requests to one per e-mail. If you have several requests, please send each one in a separate e-mail.
- PLEASE DO NOT USE ALL-CAPS. It's like someone playing their car stereo at full volume next to you at a traffic light.
- If the dish is something that you had in a restaurant or institutional food server, don't forget to tell me the name and location of the restaurant, even if it is no longer in business. These are valuable clues.
- If I write back to you asking for some more information about your request, please respond even if you don't know the answer to my question.
- Share and share alike - If you're going to ask me to help you locate or interpret or understand a recipe or an ingredient of a recipe, then you must be willing to share the complete recipe with me and my readers. If you find the recipe yourself, then share it back with me just like you wanted me to share it with you. If I ask you to send me recipe that you say you have, and you won't send it to me, why would I ever search for another recipe for you? I'm not asking anything of you that you aren't asking of me.
- Before you write, please determine whether the recipe you want is already on my site. Check the Most Popular Requests Page and the Alphabetic Index to see if what you want is there. Then search the Archives with the search box that's on the upper left of every page. If you don't find what you want on my site, then e-mail me.
- If you've already Googled for your requested recipe and found recipes on the web that weren't right, please tell me why those recipes were not right. If you don't, then I'll send you the same recipes that you've already tried, duplicating whatever efforts you or others have already made. That's a waste of your time and mine. Tell me up front what you have already done so that I can skip the usual, routine searches and proceed to a more creative search method.
- Please be as specific as possible. Please don't write and ask for "some chicken recipes" or "some low fat recipes"or "some recipes with brazil nuts" or "something interesting with lark livers."
- Please enhance the chance of finding your recipe by providing as much of this information as possible (in order of importance):
- The name of the recipe or dish is most important. There's a lot better chance of finding a recipe named "Hot Apple Crisp" than there is of finding "this apple dessert recipe that got lost when I moved." There are thousands of apple desserts, many with similar ingredients. Close your eyes and visualize the recipe. What was the name at the top?
- Provide all of the ingredients that you know.
- What type of recipe is it? What cuisine - Italian, German, French, Southern U.S., etc?
- Where did you have it? A restaurant? What was the name of the restaurant? What city was the restaurant in? Perhaps it's an old family recipe? What's the family ancestry? Italian, German, Polish , etc? In what part of this country did your family live? Was the recipe in a magazine or newspaper or in a cookbook or on a TV cooking show? Which one? Is this a commercial product? If so, what's the brand name?
- Was there anything special about the recipe instructions or technique? What?
- If you'll "recognize it when you see it", HOW will you recognize it? What is there about it that will make you say "That's it!"?
- If I have no success locating your recipe, I usually post the request on my site anyhow. That's so other readers will have a chance to help. Sometimes readers send me recipes in response to requests from years ago. If I get such an answer to your request, I'll post it just below the original request. So, if you've made a request that I was unsuccessful at finding, you should check back once in a while to see if it's been answered.
- Consider the following: You ask my help in locating a recipe and I am unable to locate it. Later, you find the recipe or a copycat recipe or you make a "tastes-like" recipe yourself. Why would you not send me the recipe that you found or created so that I can post it for the benefit of others? Give and take, folks.
- Occasionally, I get a request for a recipe search from someone who already has the recipe - they just want to see if I can find the same recipe. Please don't do that.
- If you are writing from work, and you don't want to receive a reply at work, then perhaps you should wait until you get home before you send your request. I can't promise that I won't accidentally click on "reply" and send it to whatever address you sent it from.
- Besides recipes, I also search for hard to find ingredients. Also, for old record albums, books, poems, videotapes, trivia answers, and just about anything else.
- Some of my replies are, of course, debatable. If you disagree with me about something, it's fine to let me know. If, however, you want me to take your disagreement seriously, you must provide references to back up your disagreement. I research my replies, and I won't change something without corroborative references to back up the change.
- The content of this site is reader-driven. The purpose is to find answers to readers' requests. I also do links to recipes of different countries, mainly because I get so many requests for recipes from specific countries. I also do cookbook reviews and may post a recipe from those reviewed cookbooks as an example of what may be found in them.
- If someone feels that a post on my site is an infringement of their rights, I will remove it if I'm convinced they have a valid complaint. However, recipes that are just a list of ingredients & quantities and instructions for mixing them and cooking them are not necessarily intellectual property. Many of Grandma's handwritten recipes were given to her by someone else or copied from the back of a flour bag. It can be very difficult to discover the provenance of a recipe.
- I have found that some people will write to me and ask me to locate recipes for them, but then, if they have a recipe that I am looking for, they don't want to share it. I have little use for such a hypocritical attitude. Share and share alike or don't make a request of me. The exception would be if you currently work at a restaurant and someone asks for a recipe from that restaurant. I wouldn't expect you to jeopardize your job.
- Placing a link to a recipe on another site is often problematic for readers looking at older pages. Sites sometimes vanish from the Internet, recipes are sometimes removed from pages, etc. That results in "dead" links. Sorry if that happens. Not much I can do about it.
- Disclaimer: I have not, by any means, tried all of the recipes that I place on this site. I am not a cook;I am am a recipe finder. Often I don't even have time to read them closely before I send them out. Many of them come from message boards, and there may occasionally be an ingredient or a step left out. Not having tried the recipes myself, I cannot personally guarantee any of these recipes. I am not responsible if you spend money and time on one of these recipes and then it doesn't turn out to suit you. Read the recipes through and see if they make sense before you use them and test a recipe before you use it for an event. If you find a recipe on the site with an error or omission, please let me know.
- Notice: Eating fatty foods or sugary foods may cause you to gain weight or to have the health problems associated with the intake of such foods. You prepare these recipes and eat these foods at your own risk, as do I. I merely locate recipes for those who ask. I am not responsible for the nutritional content of foods prepared from any recipe that I list or link to, nor for any health problems resulting from their use or from the consumption of the foods or beverages described therein.
- Send your questions to:
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