THE BASICS OF WRITING GOOD DIRECTIONS AND RECIPES #6

#6 Avoid putting too many steps in a single notion.

But wait a second?

Didn’t I just say do it and now I’m saying don’t?

Yep. But it’s really not that hard to understand.

While combining associated or like steps is encouraged. You want to avoid combing steps that are too far unassociated. In other words, don’t combine steps that require changing the task at hand all together or steps that take place at the same time, but in a different situation.

OVER-COMBINED

  1. Heat oil in skillet, over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, diced potatoes, black pepper and half the salt. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile n another skillet brown your butter and bacon fat over high heat, whisk in flower, stirring till about the shade of peanut butter. Gradually add the milk or cream to the roux, stirring constantly until all is added, and cook until the gravy is smooth and thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

PROPERLY COMBINED

  1. Heat oil in skillet, over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, diced potatoes, black pepper and half the salt. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile in another skillet brown your butter and bacon fat over high heat, whisk in flower, stirring till about the shade of peanut butter.
  3. Gradually add the milk or cream to the roux, stirring constantly until all is added, and the gravy is smooth and thick. Season with the remaining salt and white pepper.

While all of these things are technically being done during the same timeframe, they are not all one step. It’s inefficient and doesn’t really save much page space. It is simply too difficult to properly refer to for repeated instruction.

Basically, the user should never have to dig too hard for details or keep re-reading through in order to find out where they left off.