Before every recipe is published in Everyday Food, it goes through several rounds of testing and cross-testing. Our amazing food editors come up with between 60 and 70 recipes every month, each of which they cook at least three or four times before writing up in our format. The dishes are edited once, then photographed in our studios, where they might go through additional tweaks (an extra garnish might be added, or an ingredient might be cut differently for beauty's sake). All of those changes are recorded, the recipe is updated, and then our recipe testers cook the recipe straight through, as though they were a reader cooking at home. We strive to use the same supermarket ingredients as our readers would, and use the photograph as a guide. We even shop for the Grocery Bag all at once, using our shopping list, and cook one recipe a day, Monday through Friday; we even take a picture of what's left over at the end of the week. Along the way, our tester makes notes on timing (like how long it takes to brown a batch of chicken, for example) and weights (how much does a "medium" zucchini weigh, anyway). Even if we don't publish every detail, having them on file can be very helpful down the line.
And then, of course, there's the tasting. Part of my job is to sample every finished dish, along with the recipe tester who created it (I know, tough job, but somebody's gotta do it). There have been days of many risottos, holiday desserts, layer cakes, and smoothies. Let's just say I skip dinner a lot. Even when the recipe is approved, we're not done. The recipe circulates in proof (the recipe and layout are mocked up the way they'll look in the magazine), and at least 5 people read it 4 or 5 more times, asking questions and flagging issues along the way. Eventually, finally, it's as they say, fit for print.
Those are some of the steps we take to ensure that our recipes are in top shape by the time they get to our readers. Of course, sometimes we make mistakes, too, and it's feedback from our readers that keeps us focused on constantly improving our game.