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SITE SUGGESTION: Interest in Global Ingredient/Supply Glossary?

 

BACKGROUND:

 

Wildflower recently asked the following in a forum topic:

 

"Lately I have noticed some confusion about ingredients, supplies, and brands because there are differences in meaning depending on what country you are in. Is anyone interested in the idea of creating a glossary where we could give specifics, with differences between countries/regions detailed? (A globalwikicookiepedia?) 

For example, in Germany, cream of tartar comes mixed with baking powder, or you can purchase it as crystals from an apothecary. In the USA, cream of tartar is a very fine white powder, not mixed with anything, and available at most grocery stores. (Thanks Laegwen for the info!) Someone in Germany who made a royal icing recipe from the US might end up with large crystallized bits of cream of tartar blocking their small icing tips, or icing with unwanted baking powder mixed into it."

 

The idea intrigues me, as I've encountered some significant product differences when traveling to teach. That said, I thought I'd pose a few questions here to more systematically gauge member interest in this idea. Please take a minute to fill it out. Membership interest is one (important) factor I use to determine whether to invest valuable time and resources in projects like this. Thanks! ~ Julia

 

157 Responses
×

How interested would you be in having such a glossary on this site?

(Picture the glossary organized by ingredient or supply, with any regional or country-specific differences explained underneath each item.)

Extremely interested
Somewhat interested
Neither here nor there
Not at all interested

How interested would you be in contributing content to the glossary, based on your knowledge of your area?

Extremely interested
Somewhat interested
Neither here nor there
Not at all interested

How interested would you be in spearheading this project (i.e., collecting information from other members and writing the glossary)?

Extremely interested
Somewhat interested
Neither here nor there
Not at all interested
Other
Posted by Julia M. Usher ·

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Comments (13)

Newest · Oldest · Popular
I would be happy to contribute, but I'm not sure I am best for the job, as I have never been overseas. Of course we all want more information for less effort, lol! Maybe everyone could contribute a bit, focusing on their favorites or area of expertise? Either way, it's a fun idea to consider.
Originally Posted by Wildflower:
I would be happy to contribute, but I'm not sure I am best for the job, as I have never been overseas. Of course we all want more information for less effort, lol! Maybe everyone could contribute a bit, focusing on their favorites or area of expertise? Either way, it's a fun idea to consider.

I would need someone willing to spearhead this project (collect, organize and write), as it is potentially a large undertaking - and there is no budget or extra time for me to do this. Just being frank - that's why it's important to really understand how important it is. We already have forums where people can discuss product differences, so the question is really how important it is to have all this information neatly collected in one place. And, of course, to be valuable, it would need to be accurate and kept up to date.

Hi Julia, I don't have time to look at spearheading this, Secret project on at present sorry, but I will say that when I am asked for recipes etc I am careful to say about the difference between countries and the ingredients. Where I do know the difference (Sticks vs grams of butter for instance) I try and include. I am forever trying to calculate the NZ Equivalent, and I am starting to look VERY closely at the makeup of the ingredients I use. If I cannot determine, I don't use as a rule of thumb. Will be interesting to follow this. Thanks to you and Wildflower.

Originally Posted by Julia M. Usher:
Originally Posted by Wildflower:
I would be happy to contribute, but I'm not sure I am best for the job, as I have never been overseas. Of course we all want more information for less effort, lol! Maybe everyone could contribute a bit, focusing on their favorites or area of expertise? Either way, it's a fun idea to consider.

I would need someone willing to spearhead this project (collect, organize and write), as it is potentially a large undertaking - and there is no budget or extra time for me to do this. Just being frank - that's why it's important to really understand how important it is. We already have forums where people can discuss product differences, so the question is really how important it is to have all this information neatly collected in one place. And, of course, to be valuable, it would need to be accurate and kept up to date.

I fear that I'm not expert enough to spearhead anything of this kind. Especially since I am located in Germany and only have limited access to a lot of products which would have to go in such a glossary

And yes, a lot of the infos which would go into this list can already be found sonewhere in this forum or on other sides. From personal experience I can tell that it sometimes needs ages to find the answer you are looking for, and very often I cannot find it at all. To have everything condensed in just one list, sorted alphabetically would be soooo cool!

It is absolutely understandable that you don't have the time for that, I guess even you need to sleep once in a while

I believe that there will have to be several people forming the spearhead, as one of the major points is the differences of available ingredients in different countries. I cannot possibly do this for the US or Timbuktu, but I would be willing to take over the part for Germany. Of course I cannot guarantee 100% correctness, as the deeper you delve into this matter, the more chemistry is involved (e.g. what exactly is the difference between shortening and soft vegetable fat - there is one, I know this, but I cannot find any further details than the info that there is a difference???) - and that is where I get regularly lost. But I am curious by nature and enjoy doing some research, so please count me in!

Originally Posted by Laegwen:
Originally Posted by Julia M. Usher:
Originally Posted by Wildflower:
I would be happy to contribute, but I'm not sure I am best for the job, as I have never been overseas. Of course we all want more information for less effort, lol! Maybe everyone could contribute a bit, focusing on their favorites or area of expertise? Either way, it's a fun idea to consider.

I would need someone willing to spearhead this project (collect, organize and write), as it is potentially a large undertaking - and there is no budget or extra time for me to do this. Just being frank - that's why it's important to really understand how important it is. We already have forums where people can discuss product differences, so the question is really how important it is to have all this information neatly collected in one place. And, of course, to be valuable, it would need to be accurate and kept up to date.

I fear that I'm not expert enough to spearhead anything of this kind. Especially since I am located in Germany and only have limited access to a lot of products which would have to go in such a glossary

And yes, a lot of the infos which would go into this list can already be found sonewhere in this forum or on other sides. From personal experience I can tell that it sometimes needs ages to find the answer you are looking for, and very often I cannot find it at all. To have everything condensed in just one list, sorted alphabetically would be soooo cool!

It is absolutely understandable that you don't have the time for that, I guess even you need to sleep once in a while

I believe that there will have to be several people forming the spearhead, as one of the major points is the differences of available ingredients in different countries. I cannot possibly do this for the US or Timbuktu, but I would be willing to take over the part for Germany. Of course I cannot guarantee 100% correctness, as the deeper you delve into this matter, the more chemistry is involved (e.g. what exactly is the difference between shortening and soft vegetable fat - there is one, I know this, but I cannot find any further details than the info that there is a difference???) - and that is where I get regularly lost. But I am curious by nature and enjoy doing some research, so please count me in!

Ok, thanks. To clarify "spearhead", I mean organize the information and the collection of it from other contributors. No one person is ever going to have the knowledge to write the whole thing, but for this idea to work, I would need one person to organize the whole thing with input from others. (I do not want to have multiple "leaders" on this project, as that typically leads to confusion and unclear accountability.) That one person would simply need to be: (1) knowledgeable enough to identify which tools/ingredients to spotlight; (2) organized and persistent in collecting info from others; and (3) a good writer (to edit input into an easy-to-understand format). That person does not need to generate the input for various countries, simply collect and edit it.

I haven't been around the world nor will that ever be able to afford it! Being a part of this process, I would enjoy the benefits of learning and sharing! With the time of work to take on such a task, I would take part in it, as well, if a few more people came on board, it wouldn't be so time consuming and get the urge to run far, far away! A wonderful idea that all would benefit from and enjoy partaking on their learning skills to understand, appreciate the learning tools for future reference!
Originally Posted by ellejay:
I haven't been around the world nor will that ever be able to afford it! Being a part of this process, I would enjoy the benefits of learning and sharing! With the time of work to take on such a task, I would take part in it, as well, if a few more people came on board, it wouldn't be so time consuming and get the urge to run far, far away! A wonderful idea that all would benefit from and enjoy partaking on their learning skills to understand, appreciate the learning tools for future reference!

Thanks for the generous offer and spirit of collaboration, ellejay! I'm going to let the survey run for another few weeks to a month before I make any decisions. If we go with a full-blown glossary as outlined here, I would like one point person for the project though - someone who can keep me informed of progress, rally the various contributors, etc. I simply don't have enough time to serve as that point person or to interface with more than one person about it. There are also some different formats that a "glossary" could take, some of which might be easier and less time-consuming to implement (like a regular single-subject blog post . . . ex. "Tell Me About Meringue Powder in Your Country"). So all options will be considered. I'll definitely keep you in mind as someone who wants to help out! Thanks!

 

I love the idea of dividing it up by subject/tool/product, then inviting everyone to comment with information from their own experience and country. Half the fun of this cookie site is learning and sharing what you know with others. Even something as simple as "we don't have that available in Australia" could be very helpful, saving someone from searching all over the place when it's not even available. Plus, sometimes it's non-related information that is the most helpful. For example, letting someone know an alternative if they can't get the product.

You could always pick a specific topic, such as glycerin or metallic luster dust etc., and do a trial run to see what people have to say about it. I hope someone with travel experience jumps in to help, because it would be so helpful to have all the information.
My response to Wildflower; you nailed the subject of learning and experimenting with the tools and knowledge from others. The only thing we would have to be aware of is when people comment on a particular subject, it would be up to an individual to read it over, edit it and provide for easy reading and understanding for others so it doesn't become a back and forth with questions about the comment!
Originally Posted by Wildflower:
I love the idea of dividing it up by subject/tool/product, then inviting everyone to comment with information from their own experience and country. Half the fun of this cookie site is learning and sharing what you know with others. Even something as simple as "we don't have that available in Australia" could be very helpful, saving someone from searching all over the place when it's not even available. Plus, sometimes it's non-related information that is the most helpful. For example, letting someone know an alternative if they can't get the product.

You could always pick a specific topic, such as glycerin or metallic luster dust etc., and do a trial run to see what people have to say about it. I hope someone with travel experience jumps in to help, because it would be so helpful to have all the information.

Sounds very reasonable. I have been wondering these last days how to make such a glossary (cross Indexes? Prove of the information supplied? Updates on changes?) and have come to conclusion that I am way too scared to even consider spearheading something vast like this. Let alone that I am no native speaker and couldn't possibly edit English that good. Making this as an ongoing blog will solve a lot of these issues.

BTW, this all started with meringue powder and a detour by cream of tarta, which I stated we don't have in powdered form in Germany. In the meantime I could prove myself wrong. I found a tiny online herbs store that actually sells it at a very cheap price  But it took a couple of weeks to find that out. So this blogsary (or whatever we want to call it) could also help to locate where to get unusual ingridients in a country.

Ellejay, you make a very good point, something this consider.
Laegwen, so do you, and your english is better than some people I know who were born here!

I feel just like you, in that it is a huge project, and we should all give ourselves pats on the back for having the foresight to see its potential, and how much work is involved. When I brought it up, I was thinking of slowly building something up, like maybe once every week or two presenting a topic, so everyone could submit knowledge. Then just storing them in a clip set or alphabetically somewhere on the site. I believe it's just too much for one or two people to do, but it would be easy for most people to just put in a sentence or two of the what they know. Sort of like a survey with open ended questions insted of multiple choice.

Instead of trying to edit it into one comprehensive "definition", simply give people a place to go and scroll through other cookiers advice about it. Maybe even link a relevent comment somewhere to it as we go along. I guess I never really explained what I meant about a survey. I was thinking about the topic being brought up with specific instructions at the top letting people know it's the place to put in relevant info, not a conversational forum.

If someone has a question or need specific advice Julia already has a wonderful forum set up, and it would get a much quicker answer there. Having a wikicookipediasaurous would also give us a great place to send anyone asking those questions for further information. A regular blog post would be nice, but there would be trade-offs. For example, it would take a lot longer to read or sift through a blog post for information before reading the comments. Just doing it by alphabetic listing would make it simple to edit, and quick to use for reference.

When a topic was posted, the first few cookiers who feel knowledgeable about the topic could imput the basics in the first comments, and the more unique or unknown information could be added as it comes up, keeping it relevant. This way the people with the most experience or passion about that topic would be the ones to contribute the most to it. Also, anyone who comes up with some brilliant new way to do something would get a little credit for the contribution. If just a couple of people agree to look over it regularly for accuracy and do basic editing, we could leave it up as-is for people to scroll through.

I'm sure some people will have differing opinions about the quality of certian products and tools, the best way to accomplish a specific technique, or how available certain things are in their country. By making it more casual everyone can weigh in with their opinion, just like we comment on cookie clips posted here. I don't think we need to reinvent the wheel, just have a specific section for organizing the information, and of course regular prompts asking everyone to chip in their two cents.

Maybe instead of calling it a glossary, we should just call it something like "our two cents", lol! We could always go back sometime in the future and use the information to create a more formal glossary once there is enough information. I think the best way to do it might be to just introduce a topic or two and see how people respond. It might be a fun experiment. If it works well, we could allow it to evolve naturally. Planning ahead is great, but sometimes just jumping in to see what happens can be useful too.

I am too intimidated to take on everything myself. I would be happy to help, and could commit to some regular work on it. I would even be happy to put forth a topic every week or two, especially if you all gave me suggestions. (or we could do a poll to choose topics)  It would be nice to keep it fun, cheerful, and friendly, so anyone will feel welcome to add in information or post a photo.

In the end though, it is for Julia to decide how she wants to handle it. This is her site, and only she knows how it would best be handled. I did not realize how involved everyone is in contributing to the site, and thought Julia did the majority of the work, or hired/invited professional guests to interview or write regular blog posts. I foolishly thought typing in the suggestion to start one would be my total involvement, lol.

I was thinking along the lines of a new area on the forum, not a massive project to write the Ultimate International Cookie Decorating Reference. (which I would love to own, lol) I was not sure anyone would even be interested in my idea, ha ha! So many people have said they are interested, I hope something comes of it. (I would love to write a small blog, so if this tanks I might try to pull a simple, smaller one together on my own separately, maybe by interviewing experienced people from different backgrounds.)

Since Julia is out of the country and has a lot going on right now, I think we may need to wait a few weeks before any decisions about moving forward are made. If we can be patient, I am sure she will come up with something great. I hope everyone will continue to jump in with suggestions, because I admire and respect all of you, and love to hear everyone's opinions and ideas. Especially the wacky ones!

I wonder what most people would like to find when clicking on a word/topic? A more formal definition? Just a list of comments? Do and do nots? Where to purchase specific things? An explanation for how to do a technique? Links to tutorials? A small collection of photos to provide a visual? Also, what do you think you would like to contribute? It's such a ginormous undertaking, almost like writing our own encyclopedia, so narrowing down to focus on what people will actually use or contribute might be helpful. Maybe some of us could put up an example of our ideal definition/post, or what topics we would want. (Don't everyone jump all jump up at once...)

The main thing is that we should enjoy creating and using it. Thanks everyone for being so supportive of the new idea, and don't forget how awesome you all are!!!

** UPDATE **

 

Hi, for now, let's please stay focused on the questions asked in this survey, and not introduce a lot of new ones. I am in the process of making some decisions about this idea, but won't be prepared to announce anything until August. 

 

** UPDATE **

 

Thanks to all who completed this survey; it will be closing to further responses at 9 am on July 6, 2015. Very soon! So act now, if you haven't yet responded!

 

Note: I'll be addressing the outcome of this survey and if/how we'll be implementing this idea when I announce the same for the ideas generated by the recent site improvement survey. You can read about how I will be making decisions about what to implement and my timing for these decisions here.

 

Thanks again!

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