Of all the things the Internet Revolution has brought us, recipe ratings have to be pretty far up there.
Once upon a time, people relied on a good name to bring a recipe they trusted enough to try. "Oh, it's Julia Child!" or, "I found it in Good Housekeeping."
As a person whose interest in cooking developed around the same time recipes were going online, I don't really trust a cookbook. Who can tell me if this is good or not? Even my grandmother's church cookbooks provide ideas as opposed to actual recipes (though we KNOW the good ladies of the church don't lie).
But a recipe to which 1,706 people have given five stars? Now that I will trust.
In the beginning of recipes online, there was really only epicurious.com. It consolidated recipes from magazines I appreciate, and a few reader comments would help guide me along. ("Double this, skip that.") I'd never make anything with fewer than 3 1/2 forks. Now it's rare to find an epicurious.com recipe with fewer than 100 votes that's been online for more than a month. And other sites, like allrecipes.com, have votes and comments in the thousands. (The latter, however, allows random people to post recipes. epicurious.com maintains quality control by vetting recipes first.
But still, I will trust a recipe with 1,710 positive reviews, even if I don't know the source.
And so was my experience two nights, when I marinated shrimp for the grill from this recipe, which had received, yes, you guessed it, 1,710 five-star ratings. And even though it sounded a little strange to me (I was expecting to put lime into a shrimp marinade, not tomato sauce), the end result was more delicious that I could have even imagined.
The next night I made a recipe from a cookbook. No ratings, no feedback. It didn't work. The recipe was for salmon patties, and although they tasted good, they totally fell apart. This recipe would never have received a five-star rating, because the presentation was a disaster.
To that end, I bring you five tried, tested and true marinades that will rock your grill cover off.