Social Networking

5 Sites That’ll Get You Cookin’

5 Comments 21 July 2009

Whatever you’re looking for, chances are it can be found on the web. This can potentially make things at home run much more smoothly. Say you’re looking for a recipe - to where do you turn? The following five sites are recipe databases online. You’ll find an overall review of their recipes, a featured or favorite recipe, the quality of the ethnic recipes listed (considered by some to be a good indicator of overall recipe quality), how easy it is to find qhat you need, and the social networking capabilities the site offers (if any). There are also ratings, ranging from one to four stars, the latter being the highest rating. Enjoy, and get cookin’!

Recipes: There are definitely a lot of twists on traditional dishes. Articles on the site will help you to pair wine with food or to put together a great meal, which is still pretty standard for all of the recipe sites.
Featured Recipe: Lime Marinated Grilled Salmon
Quality of Ethnic Recipes: There are only a limited amount of ‘ethnic’ or ‘world’ recipes, only a couple of which actually reflect the day-to-day cuisine of that region.
Search Functionality: AllRecipes has four different types of search. The basic search, the advanced search, the glossary search, and the collection search.
Layout/User Interface: It takes a minute of exploring to find the area of the site you need. Once you do, however, it’s fairly easy to navigate. The colors are bright and cheerful and the font is easy to read.
Membership: Free membership with limited features, full features (including ability to blog & custom url) come with sponsored membership. Sponsorship costs ten dollars for a half a year or seventeen dollars for a full year.
Social Networking: AllRecipes allows you to add other members to “cooks I like,” if they have a paid membership. You can blog with a paid membership for yourself, and have a personalized profile. However, if you choose to stick with the basic membership, there seems to be no way to contact other members.
Rating: Two and a half stars


Recipes: There are many interesting recipes ranging from easy to innovative to traditional.
Quality of Ethnic Recipes: Excellent international recipes are held in the Epicurious database. There is a good amount of recipes and the majority are true to their region of origin.
Featured Recipe: Quick Paella
Search Functionality: While there are only two types of search, basic and advanced, the advanced search is quite functional and has plenty of options to choose from to narrow the results down to the perfect recipe.
Layout/User Interface: This is a fully functioning web 2.0 website. The front page is easy to navigate and the drop-down menus in the top toolbar makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Membership: Membership is completely free. You don’t need to pay to get great features and to be able to use the entire site.
Social Networking: There is an entire Community section on this website, complete with a member search and groups.
Rating: Four stars.


Recipes: The Food Network recipes are mostly by professional chefs of the media network itself. There are also some user submitted recipes.
Quality of Ethnic Recipes: The international recipes on Food Network’s website are heavily Americanized to fit the palate of the general audience.
Featured Recipe: Grandma Maroni’s Meatballs
Search Functionality: It’s not so easy to find what you’re looking for. There is only a basic search available.
Layout/User Interface: The website has a nice, finished, web 2.0 look. There are lots of interesting media on the main recipe page, but none of which make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. This site is more for inspiration than function. Pop-up ads are an annoyance when navigating through the website, although they are limited.
Membership: Free membership is the only option (which is great, not to pay), but there is no benefit of membership other than a personal “recipe box” on-site.
Social Networking: There are no apparent features to network with other members.
Rating: Two and a half stars.

Recipes: The database is not so extensive, but there are very practical recipes within.
Quality of Ethnic Recipes: This is the place to go if you’re looking for country-specific recipes. The recipes are true to their region.
Featured Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Search Functionality: There is an “advanced” search, which really isn’t enough of a difference from the basic search to justify a different title.
Layout/User Interface: RecipeSource, while containing some interesting food recipes, retains it’s old web look. It is not aesthetically pleasing, but is fairly simple to navigate.
Membership: No membership available.
Social Networking: No social networking system.
Rating: One and a half stars.

Recipes: RecipeZaar claims to have over 371,000 recipes. Amongst them, you’ll find a broad variety of interesting, tasty dishes. Nearly all are user submitted.
Quality of Ethnic Recipes: Very good ethnic recipes and a smart sorting system. They offer traditional recipes and a few with an alternative take.
Featured Recipe: Grilled Moroccan Chicken
Search Functionality: The search functions on this website are useful and usable. There are many options, which you can choose to select or not to select to find what you’re looking for.
Layout/User Interface: More pop-up ads. Besides that, the website is visually appealing and fairly easy to find your way through.
Membership: “Premium” membership is free. There are options to place your recipes in publicly, privately, and/or together as a menu. You can also keep notes and make a shopping list.
Social Networking: There is a separate Community area and forum. Also, there is the ability to add member chefs to a list of your favorites and contact them directly via private message.
Rating: Three and a half stars.

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Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Chris says:

    Good list. Although we don’t have as many as the big guys, I think you’ll agree we have a lot of the type of recipes you’d actually make more than once.
    Just click on the link in my name and you’ll have a lot of good meals.
    (btw - this is my first comment using my phone - much easier on a regular computer)

  2. thanks for some additional recipe sites. I also love smitten kitchen, bitten (mark bitman’s blog) and LA Times food blog.

  3. Karen says:

    I would also recommend Gold’n Plump and Just BARE Chicken. They have chicken recipe search engines.


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