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Food.com is a sister site of The Food Network but with a distinctly different, as well as complimentary, focus. Formerly known as RecipeZaar, this site has revamped and rebranded itself as a website dedicated to all things edible. Food.com is clearly orientated towards recipes, and lots of them. All these are made easily accessible by Food.com’s excellent search engine whilst the quantity available means you’ll almost always have a good selection to choose from, even if you should have the most specific requirements. To both aid you in making your decision and inspire you to try something new, Food.com has great community features which allow you to rate and review recipes as well as discuss everything food related. With a strong following and an impressive archive of recipes, Food.com could really be onto something here.
With over 400,000 recipes, and new ones being added every day, Food.com claim to have the biggest archive of recipes online. These are divided up by categories and subcategories to facilitate ease of browsing. We have listed the main categories above, however, the sub categories are extensive, ranging from cheese to Vietnamese to Blue recipes (that’s right, a category dedicated to all things blue!). The Recipe Sifter allows you to narrow down your search by selecting categories to filter in or out, little by little bringing you towards a selection of recipes that match your personal preferences at that time. We found this search engine to be really effective, one of the best in the category. Food.com’s homepage also features seasonal recipes, recipe of the day and specialized recipes in order to give you ideas or inspire you to try something different.
As with most sites in this category, recipes you like can be saved to your personal cookbook. However, unlike its competitors, Food.com allows you to make multiple cook books and menus based on different categories. For example; you could have your summer cookbook and your winter cookbook, one for healthy eating and one for celebrations, etc. The same is true for menus, of which you can make as many as you like, be it for one meal, one day, a week or even a month. You can then add necessary ingredients to your personalized shopping list and voila, you have your food sorted for the month! Although users cannot tweak recipes, it is possible to add personal notes to your menus which is sufficient for personalizing your recipes. Furthermore, you can upload your own recipes either for public or private usage. All the recipes in your cookbook can either be shared within Food.com or by Twitter, Email and Facebook. You can also print out recipes and give them to friends; these can make excellent little gifts!
This brings us on to the community features of Food.com. With over a million members and an equal amount of reviews, each recipe comes with personal ratings, reviews and tips from your co-foodies on Food.com. This can give you an excellent idea of how good the recipe is for real people, like you. The ratings are also excellent in helping you decide which recipe to go for. Any questions can be posted on one of the 50 + forums on Food.com and as you get to know other users you can build up your profile, add your favorite chefs and send / receive private messages. The community is also enriched by regular competitions held by Food.com as well as games. Although we did find the games a bit strange, in general we really appreciated the community aspect of Food.com; it really builds a lot more confidence in the recipes and gives the site a more personal feel.
In conclusion, Food.com is possibly the most extensive and searchable recipe database online and for this it is unbeatable. However, a lack of any entertainment features or culinary educational resources such as videos, how-to guides and beginner’s tutorials held it back from achieving a higher ranking in this category. However, used in conjunction with its sister site, The Food Network, users will find all they need to satisfy all their culinary urges.
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