Digital tools change the way cooks access recipes
With a box full of carrots and a hankering for something vaguely exotic, Mary-Claire van Leunen turned to her computer for a recipe.
“I looked for ‘Turkish carrots,’ and I found it easily; in fact, I found half a dozen,” said the retired Seattle software researcher.
Almost everyone’s done it — fired up a search engine to deal with that bumper crop of squash. But van Leunen wasn’t randomly appealing to the online universe. She was searching the recipes in her own cookbooks, the roughly 2,000 volumes that line her shelves. Without ever cracking a single spine.
“In the past, I would have gone to the Central Asian section of my books and gone through the indexes,” van Leunen said. “I would have looked in two or three cookbooks, and wound up adapting something for fennel or something to the carrots.”
Today, the online cookbook indexing service called Eat Your Books lets her instantly search the index of nearly every cookbook she owns.
When she finds the recipe she wants, the website tells her the book it’s in.
It’s part of a new wave of digital tools that are changing the way home cooks explore new recipes, revisit old ones and create satisfying meals.
Eat Your Books, launched nine months ago, boasts a library of 88,000 books with more than 2,000 indexed volumes. Users just tell the site which cookbooks they own, then they can quickly peruse the recipes of the chefs and authors they already trust.
Likewise, the site Cookstr catalogs recipes from more than 500 chefs and cookbook authors and offers them to users — free of charge.
“It is completely feasible today that a mobile device will be the center of the connected kitchen, and Cookstr wants to be at the center of that connected kitchen,” said Cookstr chief executive Art Chang.
The Associated Press