Search engines and recipes - NYT article
  • An interesting article in the New York Times today that might interest cookbooks analyzed the usefulness of various recipe search engines. They discussed how the good recipes get ranked lower in search engines because of the way google does it, and that many do not return what you are looking for. The recipe can be found here.

    Someone should write the NTY a letter telling them about the awesomeness of cookbooker - instead they end up plugging "eat your books" - a pay-for service that doesn't seem nearly as good as this site!

    Do you use google searchers to find recipes?
  • I use google pretty often to find recipes that will help me use up the last of whatever is in the fridge -- I have had pretty good luck.

    The other thing I use it for is when I go out to eat and try something new that I really like (i.e. last Saturday I had a beef cheeks ragu over pasta), I'll look online to see if something comes up. I found a recipe for it (at the River Cottage site I think) that looks very doable at home and it's on tap for next week or soon after. A few weeks back my husband was traveling on business and ate at Eric Ripert's bistro in DC -- he loved the short ribs and I was able to find an online recipe (at the Washington Post I think) and make them at home.

    I also use the internet all the time to source ingredients.
  • I actually do use Eat your books for finding recipes. That way I can search quite a few of my cookbooks and filter on ingredients, for instance. And then when I find a nice recipe, I cook it and review it here. Isn't that a win-win situation?

    I think these two sites complement another nicely. It is a pity that Eat your books is paid (you can have a free account of 5 books, but what use would that be?), but then they do a lot of indexing and that's expensive.
  • When I first had the idea for Cookbooker, I was also going to index recipes. I did one book as a test and realized how much time it would take, and decided I'd focus on reviews and the social aspect, and if Cookbooker was successful enough, we'd gradually index the books through everyone's efforts. I'm not surprised EYB has to charge considering that they would have to be paying indexers to do all that work. We do complement each other fairly well though - they don't really have a lot of reviews there, and we don't have complete indexes.

    I tend to find websites I trust rather than just search on Google - if the results include somewhere I feel fairly confident about (Epicurious, BBC, Martha Stewart etc) then I'll give a recipe a shot. I'd be fairly wary about just picking a recipe shot out by Google itself...
  • Wester - that is a good idea - using both sites. I think it might really help me on my personal cookbooker challenge (using all my cookbooks at least some) - I've started a free account, and will enter the three cookbooks I'm trying to cook from in EYB. That should help me plan my cooking (usually done at work) -by helping me to make a shopping list. But EYB has ingredients without amounts, so I'm not sure how it will work. And certainly the reviews go in cookbooker.
  • I think I may be inadvertently helping with the indexing process. I've found that I like going through a particular cookbook, indexing the recipes I want to try here on Cookbooker and adding them to my recipe folder for reference when I want to plan my weekly menu and feel like trying something new.
  • I guess we need to all be helping here by adding the ingredients. I noticed that EYB does not include quantity - but Andrew has this site set up to include quantity. If you, like me, plan you dinner while you are at work and stop at the store on your way home, this site's ingredient quantities will be really helpful.
  • I think EYB and Cookbooker complement each other nicely. I was able to purchase a lifetime EYB membership when it first started so I'm quite happy with my investment. I use EYB only for searching and don't really tend to keep track of my recipes there.
  • I've also started recently to index a few cookbooks, and I'll certainly also start to add the ingredients to recipes, probably starting with those with a 5 star review, or those I want to cook soon. Maybe we could make a list of cookbooks that are already indexed?
  • Good idea, @friederike - the only question is how to know when they are completely indexed. I'll look at the options - maybe just a button that can be clicked by anyone when a cookbook has been completely indexed?

    Also there should be a way so we can all see the recipes which have ingredients in them. I'll look into that too.
  • Maybe we could collect them in a discussion thread?
  • I've actually started to tag indexed books (both self-indexed and others) as 'indexed' - anyone else want to join?
  • That sounds good. Been out of town a couple days, and its fun to see the activity on my favorite web site.
  • Seriously fun, this article from Huffington Post caught my eye because they noticed how odd people from Utah really are... (ok, maybe not all of us).

    Searching google for the geographic distribution of food-based searches is interesting - brownie recipe shows Utah in the lead, chardonnay goes to CA (lowest in utah), etc. Its pretty fun, easy to figure out, and I thought all you foodies might enjoy it.
  • That's awesome, Queezle. I could waste so much time playing with that. I love maps AND food!
  • After a frustrating hour last night, searching through my cookbooks for a gazpacho recipe, I opened an EAT YOUR BOOKS account. Wow! This will be a powerful tool to use along with cookbooker. I'm excited!
  • Silly, Queezle! I can't believe you waited so long. I don't like EYB for recipe reviews - I used Cookbooker for that - but it is awesome for searching your cookbooks. Their search functions are quite well done.

  • It was the gazpacho that made me do it. I have lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, etc, and I wanted to make gazpacho last night. Instead I spent an hour looking through my cookbooks for recipes. I've half loaded my bookshelf, and can already see that searching things like "eggplant", I will find recipes much more easily.
    And I agree, all recipe reviews go here. My thinking is - less time searching and more time cooking. Your talking about it assured me that it was a wise choice, so thanks!
  • EYB is indeed a great idea. I actually considered doing something like that when I first came up with Cookbooker, but after indexing one book manually (it took several hours) I realized that even if I outsourced the work to India it would still cost many thousands of dollars to create a good sized index. So good for them for sinking the time and money into creating a good resource.

    And yes, Cookbooker seems to be finding a good niche as the place to come for reviews of recipes - people seem to use EYB mostly for searching, not for reviews.

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