From Recipe Clippings to the Recipe Cloud with Recifoto
ReciFoto was described to me as the secret lovechild of Instagram and handwritten, old recipes. Those are both things I like, so I had to check it out.
Users can add recipes by scanning or photographing recipes from handwritten index cards, magazines, old church cookbooks or other sources. You can also see other people’s recipes. Like every other social startup, this app is only as good as the community involved, and so far, there’s gorgeous food photography, classic magazine clippings and archived family recipes all available for browsing, liking, and commenting. One way to use Recifoto is just to scroll through an endless stream of recipes and food photos for inspiration. It’s nice, especially with all the holiday baking going on, to just enjoy all the treats other people have cooked and see how they’ve styled their plates. (Let’s be honest, haven’t we all fallen for a tasty recipe with simple or everyday in the title, and then discovered the prep calls for an immersion blender, nutmeg grater and a Madeline pan?)
Browsing seems to the main use of Recifoto. The search function is greatly limited by dozens of users all calling different recipes by the same name, and since the recipes are images, not text, it’s difficult to find, say, which fudge contains condensed milk. Recipes can be tagged, but, again, this facilitates browsing more than searching. Searching for a hashtag is only useful if the poster happened to tag a recipe with the term that the searcher is thinking about… instead, it’s easier to stumble upon an interesting hashtag, and browse recipes sharing that tag.
Users of Recifoto can publicly or privately share recipes, so users can also scan and save family recipes, either to share with family members or just to have stored safely where nothing can spill on them.
I’ve collected quite a few women’s guild, temple sisterhood, and community cookbooks from used bookshops (These are amazing historical and regional primary sources, with little notes about how everyone always loves Connie’s Christmas cooks or that Dorothy O never has any leftovers with this recipe. Sometimes there are even handwritten notes! Plus, yummy food.), and it was great to see others sharing my weird love of self-pubbed community cookbooks.
I added a Catherine Newman recipe to my Recifoto, by basically screenshotting her recipe page and adding that image. (She’s blogging now at Ben And Birdy. Hey, remember when she used to blog at Dalai Mama? And it was banned in China? And I had to use a proxy to illegally read stories about Ben getting a haircut or about fall coming to Amherst? That was awesome.) I kind of love her recipes, because they’re all pickles from scratch or roasted chickpeas and so forth, and they all use the kind of equipment that I actually own.
I made it private, though, because Recifoto makes it so easy to share recipes onto social networks or to pin the image, which is good for recipe index cards and so forth, but I think it’s a bit shady to steal things off people’s blogs.
The Recifoto app is free, but monetizes on an in-app purchase that permits users to add publicly shared recipes to a personal collection. The free version still permits users to save and share recipes, as well as to like and comment on other recipes, in this recipe social network.