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Show HN: EatHow – Figure out what to make with the food you already have (eathow.com)
118 points by abraham_o on Apr 18, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 84 comments

Very cool project! I often hear people talk about this as an idea, but never really getting further than that :)

Some suggestions/notes:

- Looking at a recipe (e.g. https://www.eathow.com/recipes/219) I think you forgot to use a cursor: pointer; on the "Directions" and "Ingredients", to indicate that they are clickable

- Someone else mentioned, but you don't have to be so apologetic about wanting money for this :) My personal recommendation would be to mark "The money thing" in it's own section, after your self-intro, and then display very clearly as the first item the two different plans (monthly and yearly), perhaps in some more traditional style boxes as you often see (familiarity is oft helpful).

- I completely understand your reasoning behind 14 days of trial, but you might want to consider your long term game more, by extending the trial so that users will get hooked/dependent on it. Take for example the difference in Apple Music and Spotify trial plans, with Apple Music offering 3 months and Spotify only one month. Now I'm not saying that's the only reason, but Apple Music recently overtook Spotify in monthly unique users[0], which will presumeably convert to paying users later on.

[0] https://www.macrumors.com/2017/03/29/apple-music-monthly-uni...

I second the re-think about the trial period and pricing. I would like to trial it, but wouldn't be keen on paying after 14 days. If I was consistently using it after 3 months, I would definitely pay US$40 for the year, since I'd save that on grocery bills from saved food.

Maybe that's another feature you can add, amount of money the person has saved (approximately) through food re-use. Not sure how you'd implement it though.

Thank you :) I'll definitely be rethinking pricing and trials after this.

"90 days before we ask for a credit card, then less than $40 per year after that. Try us for 3 months let us show you how to save time, money and hassle for less than the cost of a family meal per year"

Just a thought to throw out there.

The issue with most subscription web services is that people who foresee using it a couple of times a month end up not signing up. Which is all lost revenue. LastPass charges​ $1 per month. I think that's the magic number for casual users. They may only use this once every month or two. But $12 can easily be forgotten / justified.

Don't think. Test.

People on HN might be cheapskates but your target might be willing to whip out their wallet sooner.

EatHow is now completely free. Hope you like :)

This is awesome! I've long thought of making something like this.

One caveat though, I would never pay $5/mo for it. If you're writing the recipes, consider advertising and product placement as a revenue stream.

Yep same, was interested to check it out, but stopped when I saw 'Start your free trial'

At least let me get hooked on some value before trying to make me sign up / pay.

No credit card or email required to try it. I should make that clear in the page.

That might help, but providing some example searches and recipes before requiring an account would also be helpful. Personally, I'm only comfortable signing up for something if I feel I can reasonably judge its quality first, even if it's free.

That's a good suggestion. Same here. Signs it works are one of first things I look for on a product/service site.

+1 same thing i was thinking. I wouldn't pay monthly...but I'd use it daily. so ads / product placement might be better route. Great job though!

I think both would be good, like some mobile apps - free and paid. I hate ads but if it's something genuinely useful I'd be happy to pay a few bucks each month to use it, especially if it's something that will save me money.

I like this idea but current execution doesn't work for me.

I currently achieve this goal by typing the main ingredients I have into google and adding the word vegetarian. I get something worthwhile in the first two pages.

I can see benefits to your system in terms of granularity and accuracy. But these will only accrue over time and at first use I found this approach cumbersome. Free text entry of main stuff I had would have been so much quicker. I took almost everything off your initial list.

I think this has great potential but there is a high bar.

Yep, I do exactly the same thing. Works really well. Another thing that helps use stuff in the fridge is following recipes as suggestions instead of strict ingredient lists. Swapping out different root vegetables for example.

This looks great. I will be trying this out later.

Minor grammar nitpick: "Less grocery store trips" should be "Fewer grocery store trips."

Minor grammar nitpick: "Less grocery store trips" should be "Fewer grocery store trips."

At this point I'd consider the former correct. It's just too commonly used in too many contexts. When more natives speakers than not don't know about a rule, I dunno if it's valid anymore.

Except the ignorant just accept both, whereas those who appreciate the distinction will be jarred.

I think the battle is lost here already. I'm an educated native English speaker and I could literally care less if someone says "less" when, traditionally, "fewer" would have been used.

It still annoys me that people describe things as "lite" instead of "light", but I realise the battle is lost as well.

I'm guessing you are from the US.

I am from Australasia and the fewer/less distinction is largely respected in my experience. I find the example jarring.

Regarding light/lite, I am doubtful that this is a problem outside of the US.

Don't give in so easily!


I think I have some of this in my fridge right now. "Lite" is used here a lot.

I hear native English speakers in NZ make grammar mistakes here all the time. I'm really curious that you hear the less/fewer distinction adhered to.

You could care less. So that means you do care when someone makes the mistake?

I knew that would trip someones grammar wire.

I think you mean that you _couldn't_ care less

But that's the thing. I literally could.

Making it a thoroughly meaningless thing to say. I could also care less, obviously, since I'm posting here talking about how I do care and find the use annoying, and you disagree and think it doesn't matter.

Telling me that you 'care some non-zero amount' doesn't mean much at all.

The phrase is couldn't care less, that is, 'zero units of care', i.e. you don't care.

I don't understand why people refuse to understand this.

I could care less = I care some amount. Possibly a lot.

I couldn't care less = I care no amount. I do not care.

I'm not sure if you think I'm refusing to understand this, but I agree, it's what I'm saying less succinctly in my comment above, with the addition that saying you care some unspecified amount is no use to anyone.

No, it is clear that you understand.

my eyes literally rolled so hard my head exploded reading that.

I could care less what you think of my grammar.

By which you mean that you _do_ care what they think of your grammar?

Ok this is no fun anymore. I was trolling. I tried to make it blindingly obvious by combining two common grammar pedant triggers in one sentence but people were so keen to be self-righteous that it flew over their head.

I know the correct grammar, and I just think it's sad that people care.

yup! and "neccesary"

How is it better than free supercook[0], that has basically the same functionality and tons of recipes?

0. http://www.supercook.com/#/recipes

I was about to say the same, I often lookup supercook

I found it annoying to be forced into a pedantic onboarding tutorial. I decided not to finish it.

Can't you wait until I try to do things, like view recipes or build grocery lists, before forcing me into them? I just want to check out the app my own way. The tips could appear when contextually appropriate, and be dismissible.

I wrote something like this as my first programming project. I had serious trouble with an algorithm to search and filter recipes, however.

The best point of my site was that it gathered its recipes from food blogs and linked directly to them. I had to tweak a scraper for about a hundred different food blogs, it was a hell of work, but the scraping results were good.

Differently from SuperCook, which uses food portals, my recipes were all personal and of higher quality.

>I wrote something like this as my first programming project. I had serious trouble with an algorithm to search and filter recipes, however.

This is an NP-hard problem!! Some version of this is anyway. Can someone with more math knowledge be more specific?

Do you still have the scraper? I'd love to see it.

No, I didn't even know version control or how to properly save code to disk at the time. It was 2011. I kept all my code in Dropbox and life was a mess.

There was a site with recipe search at http://receitrom.com.br/. Wayback Machine had it, but it seems to have a new search feature now that doesn't find anything anymore.

Anyway, it was scraping recipes in Brazilian blogs, so it would probably be useless for you.

This is cool, something I've long wanted. A big missing feature is the ability to filter out food allergie/sensitivities/preferences in recipes and the grocery list, though. I was pretty disappointed, after winnowing down the list of things I have on hand, to receive lots of recipe suggestions containing foods I can't eat without making me ill.

Congrats on shipping! Quick question, maybe I missed it on your homepage: How do you track what ingredients a user has on hand? Does the user enter each one by hand, by barcode, etc?

Thanks :) and for now by hand. Working on a much quicker way to do this.

Cool, good luck! Also, not sure if this is by design or not, but the header bar (with the about and pricing links) doesn't show up until I've scrolled down past the main splash image. I'm on IE11 and Win10.

It's by design. Thanks for the look out though.

Looks great, but one thing I’d love to see would be if the system could calculate the nutritional information for a recipe.

This would make meal planning a balanced diet that much easier.

I've always wanted something like this that works backwards from what you already have. 14 days free is too short to onboard me, though. I want a longer trial to get hooked.


I've considered this a few times, and things are getting closer to where it's practical to make an app you can point in your fridge and cupboards and have it work out you've got tomatoes, mushrooms, rice, pasta, whatever, and show you recipes you can make with what you've got, or a list of groceries to grab on the way home to make a longer list of possible recipes... I suspect I'll see this app within a few years - given the current capabilities of OpenCV and other optical recognition software...

Yeah that's the holy grail of any app like this that requires keeping an updated inventory of something. Maybe will be built into a fridge someday.

Or we'll all be eating nothing but Soylent in the future anyway ;)

I like the idea. I wrote a cocktail recipes app around a similar concept - https://github.com/dlubarov/Mixologist

I haven't monetized it, but figured it could be monetized with referrals to stores or delivery services. If nothing else, Amazon has a lot of non-perishable ingredients. I wonder if you considered that rather than a subscription model?

I was looking at doing something similar recently, but I ran into the problem of finding a good database of cocktail recipes, especially one that I didn't need to pay for.

What I think would be even better is an app that makes up recipes based on what you have, sort of like Chef Watson (www.ibmchefwatson.com) for cocktails.

I don't know of any, but if you don't mind doing some manual work, Wikipedia has

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_IBA_official_cocktails

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cocktails

Or did you want something more comprehensive, not just the most famous cocktails?

I was looking to make one as comprehensive as possible. I guess a good way to go would be to start with the famous ones and let users add their own.

Using this from Australia - would love a checkbox to turn all measurements to metric!

Hope it works out, I've wanted something like this too (but not enough to pay for it). An issue I wish could be resolved is too much reliance on any particular recipe. My two-minutes-with-this observations are that it's nice that some recipes seem to have 'one of these' so it can work with substitutes but how about outright removals? Do I really need that dash of nutmeg, and if I don't have the nutmeg, will that recipe just not show up? Seems like this interface could almost get there with another category besides 'on hand' and 'all' called 'almost'. It would fit in well with the add-to-shopping-cart feature too.

Also wish more places used the recipe format that Cooking For Engineers uses... e.g. http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/170/Chinese-Almond...

I try to keep a balance between few ingredients and taste. So you won't find recipes with nutmeg for example unless it's absolutely necessary.

I love that format by the way. Will definitely look more into it.

Congrats on shipping! I tried chef Watson [1] a while back and it was very good. I liked that the suggestions were not exactly something out of a menu. I'll give this a try to see how it compares.

[1]: https://www.ibmchefwatson.com/community

Sent this to my wife who happily input everything we have in the fridge:

eggs, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, canned beans, balsamic vinegar, banana, cashews, lemon juice, paprika, spaghetti, garlic.

And all it came back with was breakfast of scrambled eggs. Nothing for dinner or lunch.

Not good! She was turned off immediately.

There are 80 recipes now and I add more every month (going for 20/month) It only gets better with time :)

I think even if you have a recipe for banana caper bean salad people will still be turned off.

Well yeah, but with that list you could easily have just a caper bean salad without the banana, or maybe spaghetti with the sundried tomato, capers, and garlic.

Maybe part of the problem is a lot of people aren't going to think of putting in basics? Maybe it should also show recipes that just need a basic you might have forgotten to list. Like, maybe it did have a spaghetti with sundried tomato and garlic recipe but it requires olive oil or butter.

That makes the logic a lot more complicated though. Maybe if you could define a list of basics you always have in the house, like olive oil, butter, basic dried seasonings, etc. It would have to be customizable though, because some people might always have milk in the house and others might never (same with olive oil or any other thing).

Google search had for any recipe an ingredient filter on the side which they removed a while back.

I think a blog idea to help the site with more useful information and SEO is how to manage a home kitchen. For example, how to store food so it doesn't get thrown out. This can go hand in hand with the recipe search.

I was a private yacht chef for 6 years and I ran what is a home kitchen like a professional kitchen. I had to deal with looking at what was about to go bad or needed to be used first because I could only go shopping every two weeks sometimes and figure out what recipes I could make from them. Although I only cooked for a couple and 4 crew, I ran it like a two star Michelin kitchen.

I love how clear it's the headline. I see too many apps unable to explain what they do, instead you tell the user immediately. Even the rest of the copy on the home page it's really well-written. Nice work.

Solid idea. But for me it really depends on how big a recipes database you have. Eg, is it suitable for a household where a lot of the meals we already make are from a smallish geographic area?

Currently at 80 recipes, with 20+ added every month.

At first I thought you were crazy for naming it so close to EatNow, but turns out that's just an Australian thing. Did confuse me for a second tho.

Cool to see someone implement this often-suggested idea!

Having a subscription does sound hard to get off the ground tho. Maybe it'd be better monetised thru advertising deals? Can't find any good recipes with what you have? Blue Apron would be happy to cover you for next time...

This looks really awesome but google does this for me. It will be interesting to see how EatHow differentiates themselves from google results.

Google keeps track of your current on-hand ingredients and then constrains recipes by that inventory? Can you direct me to this functionality? I'd love to use it.

No but if I type "beets yellow squash" it gives me a bunch of recipes. It's far easier to do that than keep a running inventory of ingredients in my fridge updated in an app.

I can see that this might be useful for people who really don't know anything about cooking but would like to start somewhere.

Now if this app has a receipt OCR scanner that automatically adds ingredients and amounts to the inventory, I could see paying for it. I started a project like that in the past but gave up with the OCR technology wasn't very accurate.

This looks great! I spotted a typo with the word "neccesary" a bit down the page, however.

Thanks for the heads up :)

I like it, but "the money thing" and the content in that section is tacky.

I agree with this sentiment. This is America, never apologize for capitalism. Hype the app, show us why it's worth more than your price, convince us to subscribe. Close the sale.

The personal blurb before "The Money Thing" is great, definitely keep that. But the money thing... rework it into the sales pitch. "I want to make EatHow much better. That means more delicious recipes and improvements that make things easier for you" - start with this, justify the $5, then delete the rest.

I like the landing page! Its pretty clear.

But I myself would not spend $5/mo for this. I don't know that it solves that much of a problem for me? So, maybe just not in target audience.

Looked pretty cool but I wasn't able to get past the "add ingredients" step in the tutorial. The button didn't work for me. Testing on iPhone.

The way the tour widget toggles is super unintuitive. I kept toggling it back and forth being confused about why it wasn't progressing in the tour.

There is a fairly large australian food delivery startup with the same name. Just might make it hard to rank your site, have you considered this?

EatNow != EatHow

Oops, my bad. I feel dumb now, apologies.

Your site is pretty broken. Pricing link doesn't work.

I always had a thought like this!

I was always lazy to think how to do it.

I'm so happy!

"necessary" is spelled "neccesary" on the homepage

Something like IBM's chef Watson?

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