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Alex Schroeder 🐝 @kensanata
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Does anybody know of a recipe sharing site (federated or not) without any ads and a permissive license for all the content (not just the recipes but pictures and all) – the kind you'd feel comfortable contributing to?

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@kensanata If you asked me 25 years ago I'd say Usenet rec.cooking or alt.recipes

@cosullivan Hah, the good old days. Except for the flame wars in some of those groups. πŸ”₯ πŸ”₯ πŸ”₯

@cosullivan @kensanata

Thanks to you I found a website dedicated to using coffee and vegetable sauces to develop film
caffenol.org/

And a really old recipe for tomato sauce.
groups.google.com/forum/#!topi

Once upon a time I was a regular at rec.food.historic and it turns out google groups retain the archives.

So Thank You πŸ‘

@kensanata Dang, I'd like a dedicated website for that too. You might find some good recipes on Instructables, although unfortunately I don't think you can filter by license.

instructables.com/food/

@switchingsocial This looks very interesting! Thanks for the link.

Sometimes I'm so baffled by recipes from a different culture. Example: en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook
"Self-raising flour, sifted"? I ask my self: what kind of wheat? Is sifting still required these days? How much baking soda to add? Or are they thinking about yeast? "cup" what the hell? "skim milk powder"? How about using skimmed milk? Is skim milk poweder + water the same as skimmed milk? So many questions! Sure, there are answers available, but a simple translation of units will not do.

@kensanata

You've kind of lumped a lot of different topics into one gripe there. Not all of that has to do with units. But it does get to some of the content considerations/provisions I'd expect a better/worthwhile recipe site to provide. ;)

@wion That's because culture is more than units! πŸ˜€ πŸ”₯
That's why I don't think the recipes are easy to convert and that automatic unit conversion is a waste of time. Almost always, the thing needs to be rewritten anyway.

@wion Not really. I hadn't thought about this until I looked at the wikibooks link @switchingsocial had posted. For my own searches of recipes online I always end up on swissmilk.ch, bettybossi.ch or chefkoch.de (ugh). So I hadn't seen an American recipe in a long time... Also, my ideas on multilingual sites are informed by my experience on Emacs Wiki and Community Wiki itself (years ago), and trying to add Google Translate to my site (also years ago)... Multilingual is complex.

@kensanata

Well, multilingual is a tricky thing in this case anyway, no? Is that the goal of the recipe wiki, make it multilingual? If you wanted to avoid complexity, that's not how to do it. ;)

But if you stick to say, oh, English? Then the units thing is moot. The tricky bit is defining equivalents of substitute ingredients when a given local ingredient isn't on hand. That may require unique dialogue, but not always.

@switchingsocial

@wion @switchingsocial I wonder. For example the self-raising flour, the skimmed milk powder and water, the ingredient replacement will be tricky to automate.

@kensanata

I’m sure there are equivalents, or even workable variations in some cases, for these things but they just need researched. I can’t say about the β€˜skimmed’ milk powder off hand, maybe with more recipe context and what you want to make.

@switchingsocial

@kensanata

But self-raising flour (also called β€˜cake flour’, I think) is just flour with the baking powder already added, or maybe it’s baking soda, I forget which. You could use regular flour and add the powder/soda. I also saw a trick to sub some of the regular flour with corn starch. I used that trick on my last cake. The texture is firmer, but still good.

@switchingsocial

@wion Definitely! The kind of recipe I’m used to would say: 300g of white flour and half a pack of baking soda (these are sold in 7g portions). I’d be surprised to see 2.3g of baking soda, so that kind of translation and rounding would also have to happen.

@kensanata

Well, how someone deals with measuring the amounts β€” whether by spoons, lab scales, or guessing, is kind of up to the baker to figure out. But that could be another interesting content type: feature discussions of different and interesting kitchen tools and how to use them to β€˜process’ different things. That would be a content feature that stands out from the competition, as one example. A blog to handle stuff like that would work.

@wion sounds good to me: an occasional featured article on the practice of a particular thing.

@kensanata

Yeah, and that format allows interesting dives into cultural methods, traditions, tool designs, etc. So lots of storytelling appeal.

The key thing, though, is to ensure any such blog post is linked to from one or more published recipes having some level of relevance, or the site risks becoming a blog, primarily, and not a recipe site.

@kensanata

So what I’m getting at, which maybe I’m not explaining well, is we have these base-line side ingredient equivalencies written once somewhere (e.g. the self-raising flour alternatives), explained once. Then in any other recipe that needs to say something about it, it just refers to the baseline equivalency already written. No redundancy. The equivalencies can all be measured, etc. All tidy and convertible.

@switchingsocial

@wion I see. Yes, if we’re not converting automatically but linking ingredients like β€œself-raising flour” to a page explaining that this usually means white flour and baking soda in a ratio of 500g to 7g and maybe some cultural context, that would work well for me. And it isn’t over-engineered but a text written by humans for humans. That I like. πŸ˜€

@kensanata
It's not possible to make pumpkin scones outside the United States. In fact, I'm not sure they can be made outside a Starbucks.
@switchingsocial @wion

@freakazoid

I didn’t think it would be possible to make pumpkin pie in France, where the idea is considered gross (along with carrot cake and zucchini bread), but it’s indeed possible with fresh pumpkin, and delicious. I bet I could do scones.

@switchingsocial @kensanata

@freakazoid

Can’t find an actual pie pan here though. Everything is tart pan oriented. Still works. You just don’t have the slanted edges. The American sense of presentation is off. ;)

@switchingsocial @kensanata

@wion
How do you get the pie out without destroying it if the edges aren't slanted? Also I'm pretty sure the slanted edges pre-date the US.
@kensanata @switchingsocial

@freakazoid

Yeah, it’s a pain for sure. The first slice usually gets mangled, after that you use the space and come at it from the center, it lifts out easier. I’m the first slice eater. ;)

I don’t know about history of pie pans. I just know they’re hard to find here.

I’m always bringing stuff over from my trips. Haven’t hit the pans yet though. But I’m getting used to the β€˜French touch’, as they say.

@switchingsocial @kensanata

@wion @freakazoid I don’t even understand what the two of you are talking about without pictures, haha.

@kensanata

I don't agree with that "almost always" line. Maybe in baking, where measurements and ingredients are somewhat critical. But rarely if ever in other kinds of cooking. I never uses amounts or units outside of baking.

@kensanata I bought a Zen temple cookbook in Japan and it does not have any indications of quantities at all ^_^
@wion

@wim_v12e

Yeah, that’s what I was suggesting too. Baking is a different deal, a bit like chemistry; you need to be more precise. But soups, stir fries, sauces, main dishes, side dishes, etc β€” just tell me what the ingredients are I’ll do the rest. Units and amounts are just guidelines to work from at most.

That said, not everyone works/cooks that way, so providing them should be standard routine for the project.

@kensanata

@kensanata πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I’ve got American cup sizes as find it easier to use them for free online recipes which are usually in cups!

U.K metric is a pain in having to get the scales out to weigh them!

@applecandy Let's not get into this discussion! πŸ‘Ή

@kensanata πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ can talk to me about anything

@kensanata sometimes there is some chemistry involved, e.g. I think acid baking powder would activate the alkali raising agent in the self raising flour (earlier?). Similarly I've never really bothered sifting, but recently learnt it's often suggested for a really good way to mix powders; eg sifting all the dry powders in one go might make sense.

@penguin42 Interesting. As for the sifting, I heard that flour these days has an anti-caking agent and thus sifting used to be necessary but no longer is.

@kensanata Hmm, not noticed anti-caking agent in flour - only in salt. Anyway, I can't imagine making a cake 🍰 with flour that has anti-caking agent in!

@penguin42 You are right! This (German) newspaper article says it improves stickiness due to oxygen. zeit.de/2010/47/Stimmts-Mehl

@kensanata
Self-raising flour you buy ready mixed over here, but sifting adds air to the mixture and makes the scones lighter. Skim milk powder can be made up into skimmed milk, but using powder changes the composition of the scones. Self-raising has both bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar in.

I’m still wondering whether I should just post recipes to en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook or whether I should focus on a smaller site and host it myself (and make it easy to copy). I have a prototype up and running. Sometimes code is easier than words, for me? It currently only has two recipes but it illustrates what it could be. A minimal viable solution, if you like: communitywiki.org/food/Recipes
Brainstorming happens here: tinyurl.com/reciperequirements – what would users actually need? What are we missing?