Crab Cakes A La Label

April 6, 2010 · 7 comments

It’s the dirty little secret that good home cooks don’t discuss in public.

But as our regular readers know (all 14 of you, bless yer hearts), that’s not how we run our operation around here. We share.

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Ready? Here it is: some of the very best recipes on the planet are hiding in plain sight.

They are distributed for free by the people who generally know their ingredient better than anyone else. It’s their core competency, their passion, and they tend to be intimately acquainted with the most common ways it’s used in recipes.

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It’s the recipe on the back label, and I’m a big fan.

My hunch, backed by extensive research into what my gut tells me, is that people generally tend to overlook these gems. While I can’t say with certainty why this might be, I have a few ideas:

1. It’s so free, you don’t even have to buy the product to get the recipe, so how good can it be? Everyone knows, you get what you pay for, right?

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2. The recipe doesn’t come with glossy art-directed photos, so it’s highly likely it won’t be as romantically fabulous as the exact same recipe you’d find in Gourmet magazine.

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3. It usually calls for ingredients we’re likely to already have in our pantry. Because we all secretly suspect that we generally lead a boring life and our pantry isn’t all that exciting either, by default, how great could the end product be?

This is the same thinking as when Groucho Marx declared that any club that would accept him as a member isn’t worth joining.

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4. Extreme foodies generally prefer to head out from the “I have a recipe I want to try” gate. We, on the other hand, tend to jump from a “Hey! Feel like crab cakes?” starting spot, so any decent recipe will do, as long as we end up with crab cakes. And easy is good.

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5. The recipes rarely come with wine pairing or side dish suggestions. For us, this is no problem, since Plan B starts with “What’s still alive in the fridge?” (Swiss chard, in this case, sauteed with oil and garlic, and a splash of white wine.)

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In the end, though, these “label on the back” recipes almost always result in a line-drive to home base for any craving in which you find yourself gripped. Coming soon to a screen near you: LOTB chocolate chip cookies, cherry pie (both crust and filling!), white bean soup…

But enough about us: what LOTB recipes do you recommend? Aw, come on… you know the rules about sharing around here..


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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Charlie April 6, 2010 at 6:28 pm

OK – I actually own a recipe book that’s the “Best of Recipes off Labels” – got it as a wedding present!

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rickandkathy April 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

So, Charlie… what’s your fav?!

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Doddie Householder April 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I love the Perfectly Chocolate Cake on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa can. It’s my go-to recipe for chocolate cake.

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rickandkathy April 6, 2010 at 5:10 pm

EXCELLENT!! We don’t have a LOTB chocolate cake recipe yet… this is a huge oversight! Will try it as soon as we make the next grocery store trek.

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Louise April 6, 2010 at 4:03 pm

…well there is that Kraft Dinner thing…

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rickandkathy April 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

hahaha… didn’t consider “instructions” to be the same thing as “recipe” before now, but that takes it to a whole new dimension 🙂

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