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Started in 2003 as a food blog consisting of family recipes, Simply Recipes today boasts over 100,000 daily visitors. The site’s appeal lay in the quality of recipes available as well as the general approach to food that the editor takes. Here you’ll find recipes handed down from generation to generation with a personal touch that can only really be conveyed on a small, personal blog such as this one. Simply food reached its pinnacle in 2006 where it was voted “best blog overall” at the food blog awards and was listed in Time Magazine’s “50 Coolest Websites of 2006” as a “great resource for cooks”.
Although this was only 5 years ago, it sows how rapidly the internet is developing and evolving. Since 2006 technology has moved on rapidly; recipe websites the likes of which we commonly see today were few and far between. Multimedia technology was sparse while community features and advanced search engines were non existent. In the last 5 years the recipe website sector has moved on significantly but Simply Recipes has only taken baby steps. It is still a personal blog and does not pretend to be otherwise. Hence, do not expect the vast, all encompassing, “everything food” resource that other sites in this category offer.
What then, helps Simply Recipes maintain its popularity? For us, it is the fact that this blog has not lost touch with its roots; to share tried and tested home cooking for your average Joe. In fact, notwithstanding the dated technology, Simply Recipes has a rather old fashioned feel which may suit some, yet put off others. For example, none of the recipes come with nutritional information which some of us on a diet may find frustrating. However, healthy eaters will be happy that Simply Recipes use healthy whole foods in most of their recipes and hence, feel little need to analyze the nutritional content of the ingredients. Personally, we felt that, in a society obsessed with counting calories, trusting your tastes, recipe and ingredients was a refreshing approach to cooking.
If you are looking for something specific, how to cook kosher cheese burgers for example, Simply Food will not be your best bet. Instead, we would recommend the site to those looking for inspiration and ideas to add to their culinary repertoire. Likewise, inexperienced cooks will have to look elsewhere for how-to guides and technical education as this site simply focuses on recipes (the clue’s in the name really). With hundreds of recipes, as opposed to the tens of thousands on other sites, there is not much here quantity wise. However, we found the categories adequate for searching this small archive and most recipes to be, although slightly on the instructional side, of high quality. It must also be noted that with user comments and constant updates to the recipes, Simply Recipes is a work in progress and the content itself is not out dated.
In sum, this blog is a great source of original recipes which use whole foods and are easy to follow. It represents a great, if not slightly old fashioned, approach to cooking which many cooks will love. It is not a comprehensive culinary tool which will act as a recipe book, shopping list, carb counter, dietitian, lifestyle guide and cooking club. Instead, it is like your family recipe book; not so easy to navigate, with many pages missing, but with great hints and tips as well as some recipe gems.
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