Bill Tancer
Photo: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Thinkstock
I have to face the facts; at 43 years old, my chances of becoming a rock star, professional baseball player or golfer are probably waning. But like me, you might, just for a second, indulge in the possibility that you could, if you put your mind to it, become a star chef and maybe even win a million dollars at the Pillsbury Bake-Off.

Cooking is a creative outlet, a chance for us to demonstrate that we can think outside of the (cake mix) box.

The Internet has changed many things in our lives, not all for the best, but one area that has really benefited from online groupthink is cooking.

In the past, one of the biggest challenges when I put pan to stove was that I had to place full trust in the cookbook or magazine recipe author. If I was cooking a recipe for the first time, my track record was 50/50 for producing an edible dish. I was almost certain not to come close to replicating the beautiful and appetizing result that was pictured in the pages of the book or magazine.

The Internet and, more specifically, user reviews of online recipes, has dramatically improved my chances of producing an edible and sometimes outstanding dish.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I recently purchased a celebrity chef cookbook. This particular tome provided "healthy" recipes on classic comfort food dishes. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to throw a dinner party for my neighbors using nothing but recipes from the book.