RecipeChimp: Ingredient-based search engine

It happens all the time.  You come home after a hard day at the office, loosen your tie, and open the fridge.  It’s a scene out of “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome:” a gnarly, arid, dystopian wasteland.  A quart of curdled milk hovers menacingly in the door-drawer.  A rotting head of lettuce sprouts new life forms in the vortex of the crisper.  Half-eaten salami sticks and a tipped-over peanut butter jar skulk like some machete-wielding red-eyed renegade banshees.   A tupperware container of a mysterious fluid lurks and simmers like radioactive sludge.

So what do you do?  You order Chinese.  But this can’t go on.  It’s killing your bank account.  And in the absence of, say, going grocery shopping, you have to do something with what little ingredients you have left.  Man, you need RecipeChimp.

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RecipeChimp, in their own words, “is an ingredient-based search engine. All you have to do is enter in some ingredients (comma separated) and we’ll show you a ton of tasty recipe options. You can further refine your results by adding or removing ingredients to find the right recipe for your next meal.”  Very cool.

The site itself is wonderfully simple and clean.  It reminds me of Google’s search page, minus the chimp.  But that’s fine by me: whereas Google’s searching is done by some nameless algorithm, I am comforted to know the Recipe Chimp himself does the work on the back-end.  He wipes the sweat off his brow, cleans his hands on his apron, reads the ingredients, takes a bit of a banana, and gets to work.  (He’s a little sauced on gin.)

Now, in retrospect, my aforementioned analogy is a bit disingenuous: if there were a recipe out there that included curdled milk, rotting lettuce, and salami sticks, the EPA would have to get involved.  It’d be a certified Superfund site.  Permits would have to be granted; nearby children would grow six, seven thumbs.  The red tape would be endless.  So a more real-world-oriented example is in order.

I typed in stuff that normally resides in my fridge and cupboard: beef, onions, potatoes (note: I did not enter “chilled Goldschlager,” which also normally resides in my fridge.)  And up popped some totally delicious looking recipes: Beef and Potato Empanadas, Beef and Potato Curry, etc. And just like any good search engine, the resulting recipes themselves reside on other sites, in this case, Big Oven, All Recipes, and Cdkitchen.  The Recipe Chimp is industrious!  Give him a raise!  So when you click on the recipe, you are taken to this external page.

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There’s also a nice little touch with the search engine: you can stipulate what ingredients the recipe must have, or exclude certain recipes.  You can even enter stuff like, “carrots and eggs but without pepper.” Navigationally speaking, it’s hard to complain.  Again, it feels like Google Search, so it’s intuitive.  That said, I’d axe the “Site Map” tab at the bottom: slightly redundant.  The only other thing I’d suggest is that on the search result page, it’d be nice to minimize the white space; maybe make the Google ads at the top flow horizontally, rather than vertically.

So, with RecipeChimp at your side, you now have added incentive to, say, go to your local Farmers Market, pick up some vegetables, and get creative with your meals.  Maybe some bok choy, some tofu.  Y’know, get your act together.   And while you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt get a haircut – you look a hobo, for God sakes.  And would it kill you to change your undershirt every now and then?

RecipeChimp pulled some monkey business on us. What once was a cool recipe finding service has now become a not oft updated blog.

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