So you're out of vanilla for your annual Thanksgiving upside-down cake. Try peach schnapps. Out of eggs for baking? Give it a shot with some olive oil. Or corn starch. Or a mashed banana. A team of researchers mined recipe sites to find out what can be swapped for what. Turns out that almost any ingredient is replaceable.

Researchers at Harvard, The University of Michigan, and Northeastern University in Boston got together and found out what kind of ghoulish substitutions can be made if someone is caught without a key ingredient in the kitchen. They checked out recipe sites and generated a list of 1000 ingredients, over ninety percent of the ingredients listed, and then arranged them in clusters that can be swapped for each other. The overall clusters split into three parts, sweet, savory, and alcoholic drink ingredients.


Check here for the full article [PDF], which shows that lemon cake mix can be substituted for chocolate chip cookie dough if you're really in need. Then wonder what anyone bringing a dish to Thanksgiving is putting on your plate today.

Read the full scientific article Arxiv; image by VallaV via Shutterstock.