Technology is increasingly infiltrating the kitchen. While we may not have robots making our meals like on The Jetsons (yet), all sorts of apps, websites and kitchen gadgets are providing new resources for expanding our cooking repertoire and making our time cooking meals more interesting.
A problem that seems as old as the kitchen itself is how to manage all the different cookbooks, note cards and wayward sheets of paper containing our favorite recipes. No doubt many of you have sheets of paper wedged between cookbooks much the way my girlfriend does and, when it is time to come up with dinner plans, there is a wild shuffling of paper trying to find the recipe you want.
As if that weren't complicated enough, websites like Epicurious.com and AllRecipes.com, while great sources of information, add to the massive recipe clutter that can overwhelm anyone. But new website is out to change all that.
Yumm.com is a social bookmarking site much like Digg.com that allows users to save links to recipes for storage in one central online repository. You can give these links tags to make them more easily searchable and share them with the general public, who may choose to save them to their own profile, hence the "social" part.
Yumm doesn't have quite the sophistication of Digg, but it comes close.
I created a profile very quickly and used a simple link to add a Yumm "bookmarklet" to my Google Chrome toolbar. Their instructions were really easy to follow and bookmarklets are available for every major browser.
I then navigated to a three-cup chicken recipe my girlfriend made Sunday night (inspired by the version Matthew Dresden had at China Gourmet) and clicked the bookmarklet link in my toolbar. A window opened and I was presented with the option to change the title (it automatically filled in the title from the recipe for me), add some tags (I added Asian, Chinese, Thai and chicken), choose whether I wanted to use the photos on the page or add my own and add a simple description. It even has checkboxes for sharing the link on Facebook and Twitter.
Once it was saved, I went back to my profile and there was the link to the recipe, along with the photo, tags and description in the My Recipes section. It even grabbed the nutritional information, serving size and prep time.
While Yumm is still growing (their most-shared recipe has only 65 shares currently), there appears to be a loyal community of users who share lots of recipes and links. I found one for naan that looked particularly good ,and all I had to do was click the save button and it was automatically added to my profile.
Like at Digg, you can post comments on shared recipes and see how many others have saved them. You can also enter recipes directly into the site and organize them into custom groups like dessert or breakfast.
I had a couple glitches when using the bookmarklet interface, but they were insignificant and didn't slow me down. Yumm also lacks much in the way of mobile support, though the site is generally mobile-friendly. I'd love to see a companion app for smart phones or the iPad.
Those are minor quibbles and do nothing to detract from the ease of use and convenience of the website. It may not replace your cookbooks, notecards or even the stacks of printed recipes, but it sure streamlines recipes online and, if nothing else, it makes a heck of a back-up for your favorite dishes.
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