A recipe is full of quantities, measurements, and instructions, but it’s not just a formula. Often, it’s a memory—of that week you were in Florence, or of your mom baking cookies, or of your homeland across the world. Which is to say: Often, it’s personal.

A headnote—that blurb at the top before the ingredient list—shows this better than anything. "The best headnotes not only give you a sense of the recipe and why this particular recipe is noteworthy or challenging or different from all the rest," Food52 Co-Founder Amanda Hesser said. "Great headnotes also give you a sense of the author and why you should trust them. I don’t want to spend time in my kitchen with a voiceless formula telling me what to do." Whether it’s two sentences or six paragraphs, this introduction is where you can meet the person behind the recipe.

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