Who can you trust when it comes to cooking from a blog or investing in a cookbook? You should know, because a bad recipe -- one that is poorly written, or worse yet, untested -- can make you feel like a failure. Nevermind the wasted money and time or the embarrassment, it might even convince you that you can't cook at all.

You can know ahead of time that a recipe will most likely work if you have a checklist of the key things to look for.

One bright red flag is the extremely short recipe. It looks so easy and it can betray you in a nanosecond. That brevity often comes from cutting out the specific information you need to know to end up with something worth eating.

Here's the rest of the list:

   ·Does the recipe tell you what you can prepare ahead?
   ·Does it tell you how to store the food and for how long?
   ·Are the ingredients specific -- not "1 pound beef," but "1 pound well-marbled beef chuck"?
   ·Do the instructions tell you ...
       ·What kind of pot and utensils to use?
       ·The level of heat and/or the timing needed for each step?
       ·What the food should look like, sound like, and/or smell like?
       ·How to know if it's done?
       ·How to serve?

Some Reliable Recipe Writers

No one is infallible, but these are some (and by no means all) of the authors that come to mind who are especially exacting and expert with their recipes.

   ·Rick Bayless
   ·Lidia Bastianich
   ·Julia Child
   ·Melissa Clark
   ·Crescent Dragonwagon
   ·Dorie Greenspan
   ·Madhur Jaffrey
   ·Diana Kennedy
   ·Diane Kochilas
   ·Francis Lam
   ·Deborah Madison
   ·Andrea Nguyen
   ·James Peterson
   ·Judy Rogers
   ·Michael Ruhlman
   ·Sally Schneider
   ·Molly Stevens
   ·Bryant Terry
   ·John Willoughby and Chris Schlessinger
   ·Paula Wolfert
   ·Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.