May 20, 2011
Recipe Search Tools Aren’t Always What You Think
Recently, NatureSweet tomatoes sent over a last-minute request for recipe testing, and the first thing I did was open my browser. Crunched on time and in need of reliable ideas, I knew I could turn to the internet for recipe research. What I didn’t know at the time, though, is just how many options I had—or that there’s mounting criticism to some of the biggest of these.
I visited sites I knew well, like Epicurious.com, but as the New York Times’ article Can Recipe Search Engines Make You a Better Cook points out, I could have turned to Google’s recipe search. Or Bing. Or I could have checked out Foodily. Or Cookzillas. Each of these search tools would have pulled up countless tomato recipes for me—or they might not have. The recent NYT article notes that these sites are still primarily designed by programmers, not foodies. Which means that a search for no-bean chili might actually turn up a recipe packed with jus the ingredient you didn’t want. Similarly, these tools are likely to only pull recipes from the major food websites, like Allrecipes.com, but not chefs’ blogs.
So the takeway? Recipe search engines are still in the early stages of development. We’re eager to see how they take shape in the next several years, especially given that recipes are one of the most searched items on the internet. But for now, we’ll stick to going to the sites we trust.
Here's a list of our go-tos: