Finding a great recipe can be like being possessed by a poltergeist. It likes to take up residence in your brain, refusing to budge until you’ve done its bidding. It takes over your body, making your mouth water, your stomach grumble, and forcing your mind to think of one thing and one thing only: procure those ingredients and get cooking.
The proliferation online of certain recipes proves that this isn’t just an individual thing; it can happen en masse, too. Some kitchen ideas just take hold of the collective culinary heart, flying from blog to blog and sending armies of cooks into their kitchens to obey their commands. While recipe memes certainly predate the internet – Rome’s Fettuccine Alfredo from the turn of the 20th century or The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella are both classics that reached total saturation thanks to word of mouth and well-distributed cookbooks – the advent of online food media has given the phenomenon speed and ubiquity like never before. With food blogs, instant social sharing, and easy copy-and-paste e-mailing, those great recipes can pass from cook to cook with viral speed.
From Marcella Hazan’s buttery tomato sauce to Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, here are some of the recipe memes of the last few years that have captivated the blogosphere – and us. What did we miss? Let us know in the comments.