A recipe contains a list of ingredients and directions to make something, usually food. For example, a chocolate cake recipe, a recipe for steak and mushroom pie, a fruit smoothie recipe.
Here's a question - this can mean "You read a receipt" or "You are reading a receipt." Would a be correct in thinking, even if you translated it the former way, it would not be imperative? That is, it wouldn't be taken to mean a command or a directive?
First of all, "Rezept" doesn't mean "receipt" but "recipe" or "prescription" (except in historical usage as explained above by Keith_Rhodes).
"Du liest ein Rezept" is not an imperative. The imperative (Read a recipe!/Read a prescription!) would be "Lies ein Rezept!" (informal, addressing one person), "Lest ein Rezept!" (informal, addressing more than one person) or "Lesen Sie ein Rezept!" (formal, addressing one or more people).
So it is an accusative case, but Rezept is neuter, so we should use ein, correct?
That is covered in the tips from the first or second lesson. You should revisit them for study.
Rezept seems more medical/pharmaceutical oriented. Wouldn't it be better to use Kochrezept? (since we are in the "food" section)
>Rezept seems more medical/pharmaceutical oriented
That's not true. A "Rezept" can be a prescription or a recipe.
"Seems more." If Kochrezept is commonly used, and Rezept seems more medical oriented, maybe he's right.
That would be true, except it isn't. Every cookbook or recipe I've ever seen has used the word Rezept, and I've never seen the word Kochrezept.
Sometimes a word just has two meanings, either of which is correct based on context.
I suspect every language has its share of words that have two meanings. English definitely does.
For example: He bolted the door. The deer bolted. One sentence means "to bolt" in the sense of locking or securing. The other means to flee, or to run away.
It isn't confusing most of the time to native speakers because we are used to the contexts and way people use the words.
But when learning another language, these words do cause confusion because we want to know the right answer and we don't like ambiguity.
Here are some other examples of words like this in English:
fix - to repair, or to castrate buckle - to fasten (like a seatbelt), or to break/collapse dust - to add fine particles, or to remove fine particles variety - a particular type, or many types
It can be. Historically, the word "receipt" was used for a list of ingredients for preparing food, and is occasionally still used. See for example the book at the link below. http://www.amazon.com/Charleston-Receipts-Junior-League/dp/0960785426 But the word "recipe" is far more commonly used now. For a document that proves you have paid for something, ¸die Quittung" is easy to remember as "quitting", as in "we're quits" for "we've settled our debt".