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January 24, 2008

One of the best parts about working at Vegetarian Times is the recipe tastings. Twice a week, our trusty recipe tester, Fiona, whips up five or six recipes for an upcoming issue, and we all load up our plates and eat. On a good day, it’s almost silent as we chow down, save for some mmms or the occasional attempt to claim an entire dish: “Um, no one eat the chocolate tart—it’s, uh, terrible, so I’ll just take it home and get it out of here.”

On a bad day, you’ll hear “Ooh, too spicy, way too spicy!” or “Wow, I can’t believe I even swallowed that.” Luckily, we don’t have many bad days. And it’s rare that we give up on a recipe entirely. More likely, we’ll brainstorm ways to improve it and Fiona will try it again (and sometimes again and again) until it’s right.

After everyone has sampled the recipes, we each rank the recipes on a scale of 1 to 10—10 meaning the rater loves it so much they want the recipe now, and 1 meaning they never want to see it again. Before a recipe is published, we make sure the ratings average at least a 7 or an 8. (For a regular rundown of staff favorites, check out the “Fab 5” on the Letters page of each issue.) In addition to VT, our office houses a few other magazines as well as corporate staff members, so we have a good mix of vegetarians and non-vegetarians at our tastings to make sure that a recipe is really good, not just “good for a vegetarian recipe.”

We go through this process to make sure each and every recipe you try from our magazine is delicious, because we know the frustration of buying ingredients and taking the time to make a lousy recipe. If you ever have a question or problem with a recipe, feel free to contact us at editor@vegetariantimes.com. We’ll help you troubleshoot it and even test the recipe here again if necessary. And if you think a recipe is awesome, we’d love to hear that too.

—Lisa Barley, associate editor/web editor