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Food website removed after blogger backlash (bbc.co.uk)
16 points by Beggers1960 46 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments

I think there's certainly a degree of truth in what the creators are saying about recipe websites being full of fluff.

It's painful trying to actually find the recipe etc on some.

Nonetheless, it's pretty disrespectful and the content creators have a right to be royally ticked off here.

>> “We all hate shifting through lifestyle guru stuff to see if we need one egg or two,” another wrote.

I don't understand this. If all you want is the nitty-gritty on some recipe, why do you absolutely have to get the recipe from a foodie blog? Can't you visit one of the many, many recipe aggregator sites that have no personal narratives whatsover? I don't want to point to any one in particular but, say, if I search on DDG for "how to make shepherd's pie" and with a quick round of eyballing it seems pretty much all the results in the first page are bare-bones recipe listings, without any life stories whatsoever. The longest piece is one on Gordon Ramsey's recipe for the dish and that is not expounding on how grandma used to make it, it's just being exceedingly loquatious with the instructions.

I also have to point out that there are tons of recipes in probably literally millions of physical recipe books offline. I live in the same house as a lady who owns a restaurant and the libraries here are straining under the load of recipe books to cook basically any dish from basically any cuisine in the world, with any ingredients you may imagine. Food blogs with long personal experiences are very far from being the only way to get a quick idea about how to cook some dish.

Once you begin cooking you start to realize the vast majority of recipes in the internet are complete crap. Sites like All Recipes are mostly nothing but garbage.

Finding dependable recipes is time consuming when you start navigating outside of a select few places with an established reputation. I rarely use recipes outside of three or four sites and very famous chefs because it's very frustrating to follow a recipe exactly and it just taste like crap through no fault other than a poorly developed recipe.

When you go somewhere new and have to read three pages of some story about cooking with their mom (when the person is not a professional chef the stories are always some boring variation about cooking with a family member and if the relative is older how it brings them back to their child hood) with a bunch of smattering of ads before you can even get to the recipe to give it a once over on whether the ingredients and instructions can actually result in a good dish.

I personally hate the back story most of the time but do know some people who like them. I think the best use is on serious eats (one of the few consistently dependable sources of new recipes). The "story" is often times about the menticulous trial and error of trying all variations on time, temperature, and technique to weed out what works best and scientifically explain why they believe it works. Through the use of javascript when you get to the end of explainer it seamlessly transitions to a new page that is just the recipe so you can easily bookmark it for later without having to read the pages long explanation if you don't want to.

>> Once you begin cooking you start to realize the vast majority of recipes in the internet are complete crap.

I'll one-up you on that and say that most recipes anywhere are complete crap, except for the recipes you compile yourself through trial and error after cooking a dish a dozen times or so. With the possible exception of recipes handed down by grandmothers etc.

Moreover, recipe books and websites of all stripes copy recipes from each other and it's incredibly common to find recipes that don't even work repeated by hundreds of sources. I could share some notorious examples where people clearly have no idea what they are doing, but they say how wonderful their results are anyway.

The thing to understand is that there are only exceedingly few cooking and recipe books that are actually trying to help you learn how to cook or how to cook a particular dish. Partly because many people who cook (and write recipes) for a living don't actually cook all that well, partly because a recipe, despite what we learned at CS 101, is nothing like an algorithm, and it is very, very hard to transfer the knowledge required to cook a dish in writing, especially to someone who has never experienced the dish with their senses.

This should account for the crapness of recipes on the internet, and on sites like All Recipes. More to the point, a recipe that gives you a list of ingredients and a set of instructions to combine them is never going to get to the bottom of what makes a recipe "tick". Such recipes are at best a reminder for those who already know how to cook a dish, or an inspiration for everyone else. Like I say: not like algorithms.

This should also go towards explaining why so many recipe books and blogs etc. are full of details that have nothing to do with ingredients or preparation instructions: they are trying to convey a "feel" for the kind of dish you are trying to perpare. After all, if you've never tried Indian food, you're just not going to be able to get it by looking at a list of ingredients and a set of instructions. Food simply does not work that way.

Personally, I don't cook from recipes. I reverse-engineer the dishes that my grandmothers cooked for me when I was a kid, based on what I know from having eaten them. I consult recipes for tricky bits like Greek "avgolemono" sauce (an emulsion of egg and lemon that is considered difficult to get right) or mayonnaise, bechamel, etc. Mostly emulsions, in fact, that need a bit of balance between ingredients, and that typically look like they'll never work until they suddendly come together.

But, in general, I learned to cook by cooking, and I don't believe that there are any alternatives. I see complaints about recipe blogs as a combination of a misunderstanding of this important fact and the wishful thinking that one can learn to cook by reading about it.

I think this is a cognitive error to which programmers are particularly susceptible. After all, we've learned everything else we know by reading about it. Why not cooking? Unfortunately, cooking just doesn't work that way.

Paprika strips the useless life story stuff. I'm glad they haven't faced this backlash. Maybe it's because you have to browse to the recipe first (loading the ads) before you can strip it.

Good. If you don’t want to deal with the state of recipe blogs, go buy a cookbook.

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