Sometimes it's hard to keep up. Between seemingly daily San Francisco restaurant openings and brand new food websites, it seems like change is a constant. And like all things, some of those additions are good and some--not so much. So today I'm going to show you around five new food websites that are aiming to make a name for themselves by finding a little niche in the market. Who knows? Maybe you'll find one you like (I did).
Kitchen Monki touts themselves as "your ultimate cooking utensil." The site is designed for home cooks and aims to be a place to store recipes, set up a weekly meal plan and generate grocery lists working from that plan. It's basically like a technologically advanced version of what I remember my mom doing on legal pads while we were growing up. It's not for me, personally. I'm far from that organized and rarely know what I'm going to have for lunch let alone what I'm going to have for dinner next Friday. But I can see it catching on, and it's a great tool for busy families who want to lay out their weekly meals and move on to other things. Once you generate your grocery list, they'll actually shoot it over to your iphone or blackberry which is pretty cool and they have an easy-to-use sort and search function to help you find exactly which recipe you're looking for based on ingredients, meal types or courses. So all in all, I think it'll stick around. If you're a planner and have a few people in your household, it might be worth checking out.
Yummly started up in June and is, from what I can tell, one of the first semantic search sites for food and recipes. They claim to have over 500,000 recipes from all over the web although when I did extensive searches, it seemed most were mainly from Epicurious and Food.com (Formerly Recipe Zaar). You can search by ingredient, nutrition, taste, price, and even by allergy. Then when you find a recipe you're interested in, Yummly will pull up its full profile, showing a rating by taste profile (salty, savory, sweet, sour, bitter) and nutrition facts. I found the taste profile to be a little kitschy and wondered who exactly deemed each recipe as such: have they made and tasted them all? You can become a member of the site for free (then you'll be coined a "tastebud") and will receive taste specific recipe suggestions, can connect with other "tastebuds," and can organize and edit all of your recipes. Members can "favorite" things so you can begin to establish a rapport with other people online and see what they're cooking. I like the idea of this site, I just think the execution needs some polishing. More variety of recipe sources would help, and sometimes--call me crazy--the social media component of a website or concept could just be left at home. I'm not sure it's working here. Personally I'd never join because there's no part of me that wants to be coined a "tastebud" and between twitter and facebook, who has time for more online networking?