Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One of my favorite things about Allrecipes is that it’s a world-shrinking machine

It’s put at your finger tips just about any cuisine you can think of. There’s access to the familiar, of course; but then there’s everything else, as well. We’ve shrunk the world down to the size of a dinner plate.

It’s fascinating, particularly when you realize these world cuisines developed over long periods of time, more or less in isolation. They were very tied to their place. Allrecipes removed the barriers, collapsed the geological and social walls, and brought the cooked and the cookers into the same room. We've flattened the world like a pancake—or a latke.

To accomplish this kind of feat with cookbooks, your cookbook collection would need to cover every cuisine in the world—and there could be no real-time communication, no dialog, no interaction, and little ability to modify and evolve the recipes.

With Allrecipes, if you suddenly have a hankering for Lihapyorykoita, (Finnish meatballs) you can find it, maybe scan the reviews and discover a few interesting tweaks, and then stop at a grocery store—and it’s yours for dinner. Or maybe on the way to the store, you hear a story about Morocco on the radio, and you decide, hmm, what I really feel like tonight is Moroccan food. When you get to the store, you search Moroccan food on your phone app—and it all works out, so long as you can get the ingredients, and increasingly you can. There’s immediacy with Allrecipes that you could never get before.

It’s also interesting to think about what this shrinking of the culinary world might hold for the cuisines themselves. One of the great things about Allrecipes’ reviews is that you can see how people are adapting recipes. Home cooks are making adjustments, substituting ingredients with what they’re familiar with or have on hand. It’s hit or miss, but eventually people strike upon popular and delicious variations, which could conceivable slowly become standard—first within the family, then as communicated in a review maybe it’s picked up somewhere else. Think of tomato sauce in Italian cooking. There were no tomatoes in Italy before the 16th century. And now it’s practically impossible to think of Italian food without tomato sauce. There’s a lot of potential here for new kinds of cuisine to emerge.

So Allrecipes is making an exciting contribution to culinary history. It opens up all sorts of possibilities. And really, we’re 15 years old or so. We’ve just barely begun. It’s exciting to see what will happen next. At any rate, it’s a great time to be alive and be hungry.

-Carl H.


Absolutely 100% true! I have been amazed by all of the new world cuisine that AllRecipes has opened me and my husband up to! Who knew that we would both love Thai and African cuisine so much?

Keep up the good work, AllRecipes. We love you!
-Rikki Rogers