I think of Lisa Heldke writing in “Recipes for Theory Making” in 1988, that cooking “has never really been the subject of philosophical consideration,” and that one reason for this is that it’s “women’s activity.”
I think, looking at Johnson, Heldke, and Colwin, that it is radical to insist upon the significance of the writing, the body, and the philosophy of a recipe in a cultural situation where recipes are more accessible than ever and many readers feel entitled to them.
To insist that a recipe is more than a list of ingredients and a set of instructions is to assert the significance of cooking as thinking and recipe development as labor—labor and thinking done by the body and the mind, both as significant to its creation as all the eating and experience that has led to the moment of inspiration.
This is an interesting perspective; I’m personally not bothered by lengthy introductions to recipes, but admit I only read them sometimes. The introduction can be helpful in providing extra context or details — but sometimes it’s a recounting of toddler playtime. It depends on both the source and the situation whether I’m likely to read the intro: is the recipe from one of my go-to websites that I’ve been following for years, where I’ve built up trust in the creator and appreciate them as an individual and creator — or am I vetting a dinner concept and only looking for a spice profile, ingredient ratio, or technique while I’m in a rush trying to make dinner? I can’t say my approach is good (it’s certainly stressful), and maybe I’m missing something by not better vetting recipe sources.