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Friday, March 25, 2011

Why Google Recipe Search Will Destroy Cooking, Why You Should Use Vadouvan Cautiously

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 7:42 AM


Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. Google: bad for the cooks? Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook and founder of recipe site Food52, writes about her experience testing out Google's new recipe search. She isn't just disappointed ― she's horrified. Since the search can only be narrowed by ingredient, calorie count, and cooking time, Hesser accuses Google of privileging shortcuts over good technique and favoring SEO-conscious recipe writers who game the system by posting false calorie counts. Why is this important? As Hesser writes, "The entity with the greatest influence on what Americans cook is not

Costco or Trader Joe's. It's not the Food Network or The New York Times.

It's Google."

2. More Beard-worthy stories. Three more stories being considered for journalism rewards. Tom Junod's moving essay "My Mom Couldn't Cook"

isn't the witty complaint the title suggests, but an elegy for a woman

who struggled with the role forced on her. Barry Estabrook's New York Times Magazine story, "The Catch,"

isn't just a portrait of seafood dealer Ingrid Bengis-Palei, but the

relationship between New York's highest-end restaurants and a small

fishing town in Maine. And Jon Bonné's Saveur article, "The New California Wine," Bonné's search for California winemakers who aren't content with what he calls "fruit-bomb" wines.

3. One last thought about vadouvan.
Seems like I taste dishes seasoned with vadouvan twice a week right now (this week: Maverick and Wayfare Tavern). When it's done right, it tastes nutty, aromatic, ever-shifting. When it's overused, all I can think of is boullion cubes.

4. Hunh?
All-natural chips and vegan Peeps: If it isn't junk food, then it must be good for you.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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