Among all of the holiday baking I did was one recipe that was very special to me.  

My Great-Grandma’s fudge.  I literally have dreams about this fudge and its melt in your mouth texture as well as sinfully sweet flavor.  

When I got a Christmas card this year that just so happened to have her recipe tucked away in it, my heart skipped a beat and I could not wait for the opportunity to make it!

And make it I did. 

And it was pretty bad.  A FAIL by every definition of the word.  

Some things about it were right, but the consistency and texture were so bad it was embarrassing.  I think my thermometer was not calibrated correctly, and I ended up with a hard sludge that dried into an even harder fudge.


Let me tell you what I did not do.

I did not pull up my grandma’s facebook page and leave her a scathing comment about how her recipe must be off since I followed it to a T and it still turned out disgusting.

I did not jump on twitter and tell all my freinds to never use this recipe when making fudge.

I did not write an critical blog post about a certain recipe that I had such high hopes for but that failed so badly and how everyone hated it and now all I had was the ruined pans to show for it.

I didnt do that cause my mom would kick my butt.  

I also didnt do it because I trust the source.  I know grandma knows her stuff.  And I know that more often then not, the error is mine.

But sadly, negative feedback is often deemed as acceptable in the food blogging world.

At least, it seems that the folks leaving it feel that way.

I consulted some of the foodie genius’ I am lucky enough to stalk read and asked their opinion on Foodie negative feedback.

Most agree, there is a time and place.  If a recipe has flaws (significant or not) most really appreciate having that pointed out so they can make adjustments!

They also agree that you have to develop a thick skin to be a food blogger.  It was discovered that people will leave bad comments/ratings based on taste alone… something that would be impossible to make universally pleasing.

One question kept tumbling around my noggin.

What can we do to make this community more productive?

For those who have left unkind or critical comments (and will continue to do so): 

1. Attempt to do it privately first.  Contact the author via email or leave a comment saying you would like to talk to them privately.

2. Troubleshoot on your end.  Is it possible your thermometer is not calibrated?  Or that your oven heats unevenly?  Or that your baking powder is bad?  

Could you make the recipe again and see if you have the same results?

3. Remember that no one is perfect.  If you discover a flaw in a recipe, please do let the author know! But try to sandwich it between some grace and charm.

And now, the advice that I really need

To those who have received negative feedback:

1. Be calm.  At least in print!  If you need to, yell and scream at your couch, or call your BF and vent, but do not reply in like to the offender.

2. Answer negative comments but do so with as much kindness as you can muster.  Pretend you are replying to someone you highly respect! 

3. There are legitimate concerns and their are trolls.  If someone is attacking you and there is no basis to the claims, they most likely fall into the latter group.  (It can be harder to ignore because they are often more personal and vengeful with their attack, but it would serve you better to do so.)  

Feel free to delete and ban/block IP address’s.

Remember,  your credibility (and reputation!) will positively grow if you answer a negative comment professionally.

This is definitely a lesson I am learning daily!

And now I leave it to you.  

Have you ever left a negative comment?  Or how about had one left for you? 



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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. My husband LOVES his mom’s fudge. The reason? Because it’s a little granular, and he likes that texture. Most people want a smooth fudge…not my husband, which is fine. I readily admit that his mom makes excellent fudge. The other important thing to remember is that everyone has different tastes. Some people may think Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls are the BEST EVER. I personally, think mine are better, in every single way. Nevertheless, I did not go on her site and leave a scathing comment about how she shouldn’t say her rolls are so doggone great when they are not. I just chalked it up to personal taste. Honestly, her rolls are fine. My family just prefers my usual recipe. No biggie. If there is a flaw, sure; point it out quietly and give the recipe author time to make corrections, if necessary. I have a friend with a food blog, and I know she usually has several of us test out her recipes before she posts them to make sure there are no flaws. And, there are so many ways to mess up a recipe when baking. Baking is definitely a science….even the way you measure your flour can make a difference in the end product! In the end for me as a recipe try-er and commenter? “Personal taste” and “let it go.” P.S. Make your sugar cookies and icing again for Christmas this year. SO love them! They really are the best sugar cookies I’ve ever made, and I have recommended them to many people also.

  2. Funny you said this. I posted today and included a photo of my cutter collection because a lady was very mean to me last week over not being able to remember where a cutter came from. I know she was a stranger but it stung and my feelings have been hurt since. It’s was hard for me not to be smart or snippy back and to resist the urge to explain myself… but I did sit around wondering how I attract these people. I never thought someone would do it to you! I’d automatically assume if a recipe did nut turn out that is was me, not the recipe! This turned from a comment into a note, but good post. You always make me think

  3. You know, even our best recipe may fail despite our efforts. Ingredients may not be up to snuff, the weather may be off, or you know what, sometimes we all have a bad day. There are lots of things that I try, that I know for some people taste great, but I personally want to gag on.
    I don’t think we do the other person or ourself any favors if we blast someone’s recipe. What’s the golden rule, do unto others ….
    We have all had those horrific fails, if you haven’t you will have one, I promise. I just hope I don’t have many when I have a house full of people. Failure with a houseful of people makes the CopyKat lady want to cry, and call out for food.

  4. Amanda, great post. I completely agree. Very nicely written and I love the advice.
    I have had negative feedback, ie. My cookies were flat and did not look like yours. The cookies were too dry, any suggestions?
    The majority of them come via email and I can give feedback. One came through via twitter, but she tweeted and asked I follow her so we could DM. As it it turned out I tweaked my recipe after tweeting back and forth. It was a good constructive work through.
    Then I have had some not so nice comments that make me want to scream, but I post them anyhow, unless there are just being downright mean then I delete it.
    Thanks again, for taking the time to write this much needed post. I always need advice on how to handle negative comments, so I love what you have to offer here.

  5. I am so happy that you took the time to write this post, I had one of “those” comments last night. Your advice on how to handle these sort of opinions & comments is professional & well thought out. I need to remember to not take things too personally & unless it is a true attack then I will publish the comment with a polite response back. heck, sometimes I even learn new things from those negative folks. XO

  6. This is a great post. I’ve been lucky that any criticism I’ve received for my cooking has been polite and well-thought, and my friends are very quick to admit when it’s just their tastes. Then again, I encourage the feedback because a lot of the time it’s an easy fix and I’d rather cook things for them that they’ll enjoy eating, instead of everyone making pretend yummy noises and then bitching behind my back.

  7. I have never tasted anything that you have made that I did not love. And if I ever do I will just swallow it….smile…and say…”Well isn’t that interesting?”xoxo

  8. No, cuz’ I try to use the golden rule, do unto others…
    And haven’t had negative comments on my blog but when I used to play around on the forums on it came to a point where no matter what I said some snotty person would come on and say something back. I finally left that world and haven’t looked back. You’d think in a “Christian” environment that would not be the case, BUT everyone has free will and some choose to exercise it in the wrong way.

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