Last week, Nicholas Hune-Brown wrote a fantastic article for Slate.com titled If You Are What You Eat, America is Allrecipes. The article reviewed the enormous gap Nicholas sees between foodie culture and what people actually cook at home. While the foods we eat and crave have always been highly conversational (I grew up in French household and the conversation during each meal with my family was often dominated by discussions about what we planned to eat at our next meal), the explosion of food videos, posts, and photos on leading social channels over the past year has raised the volume of this conversation to levels never experienced before.
Spend 60 seconds visiting Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Pinterest, and you are guaranteed to see luscious images of impossibly easy to make, sinfully delicious, gorgeous meals and treats begging for attention in your streams and feeds. It’s easy to understand why the foodie media—who measure their posts’ success according to their ability to capture eyeballs, spark reactions, and position the author as a tastemakers—are far more likely to post media centered on foods we aspire to make, rather than the foods we actually cook at home on a typical weeknight.
The reality is, most household don’t have the food budgets or time to procure artisanal ingredients, or to spend hours in the kitchen. In addition, while foodies often prepare foods to please their own palates or the palate of their peers, most home-cooked meals must please a wide-range of taste profiles: everyone from a picky toddler, to an opinionated tween, to an adult managing a specific nutritional goal.
Our goal at Allrecipes has always been centered on offering technology, community, and content that energizes home cooks with confidence to succeed with all of their cooking goals— no matter the size or scope. When a cook’s daily cooking journey is easier, less stressful, and successful, it’s more rewarding and fun. And when things are fun, all of us are far more likely to continue an activity.
One notable area of Nicholas’ article was about one of Allrecipes’ most popular recipes that uses “canned condensed soup” as an ingredient. It’s true. Some of our most-loved recipes such as Chicken Enchiladas II (2,984 reviews, 4.5 stars), Baked Pork Chops I (4,126 reviews, 4.5 stars), and Best Green Bean Casserole (293 reviews, 4.5 stars), all feature cream of mushroom soup as an ingredient—probably because it’s easy to find, provides a taste everyone enjoys, and shortens the prep time. It is part of what we consider the holy trilogy for a top-rated recipe: cost, convenience, and confidence.
However, it’s important to note that for each of these recipes, Allrecipes offers thousands more recipes providing different approaches for preparing these very same dishes—dishes ranging from foodie-inspired approaches requiring extra time and effort, to ethnically authentic versions sourced from one of our 18 international sites. We’re proud of our 1,439 recipes that take advantage of “cream of mushroom/chicken soup” as an ingredient. But for those who seek to define the American palate or diet by the use of a single ingredient, it’s important to note that these recipes represent just 2.6 percent of all the recipes available on Allrecipes. They also account for just 2.7% of the nearly 3 billion recipes viewed annually by our worldwide community of 80 million cooks.
Nicholas finished his article by mentioning some of the fastest-moving search trends on our site. He’s right. Kale, cauliflower, and coconut oil are all going crazy. For everyone seeking a change of pace from “tried-and-true” favorites, here are a few recipes to investigate:
Vegan Cupcakes (260 reviews, 4.5 stars)
Paleo Cauliflower Rice (46 reviews, 4.5 stars)
Spicy Tahini Sauce with Kale, Sea Vegetables and Soba Noodles (5 reviews, 4 stars)
It’s also worth noting that a significant part of Allrecipes’ September 2015 site relaunch was the introduction of a new site experience personalized to match each cook’s tastes and food preferences. The recipes a cook sees in his or her homepage feed are based on their past searches, plus the recipes they’ve saved and made, along with recipes saved by cooks they follow. For this reason, each cook has a unique set of recipes flowing through their feed each time they visit the site.
Happy Cooking, America!