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A recipe is defined as "a set of instructions that show how to prepare or make something, especially a culinary dish." In addition to step-by-step instructions for preparation and cooking, recipes also contain the necessary list of ingredients and sometimes instructions for variations on the dish. While more experienced or freewheeling cooks often like to work by the seat of their pants, recipes are necessary for some people, useful for beginners, and helpful if one is learning a new dish or experimenting in an unfamiliar cuisine.

Up until recently, home cooks depended on cookbooks in print and recipes handed down from family members or exchanged with friends. However, today's Internet-connected cook will find the number of recipes available from a variety of sources to be seemingly limitless. There are many Web sites devoted to collections of recipes, many of which include articles on various aspects of food preparation. Many celebrity chefs have their own official sites, and there are many bloggers who share their recipes with the online community.

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