Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Wish Someone Would Invent: An ingredients-based recipe website

Have you ever thought about an invention that maybe YOU can't make, but it sure would be nice if someone else did?

Right now I'm going through an "Eat Everything in My Cupboards and Freezer" phase to save a little money and use up some perfectly good food before it goes bad. The problem is when I get down to the homestretch and I'm left with a can of cream of mushroom soup, ketchup, maple syrup, and these crispy dried onion things (I think they're some kind of casserole topping). I know that all of these things are edible, but I'm not smart enough in the kitchen to make a good meal out of 'em.

I wish someone would invent an online database where you can enter the ingredients in your kitchen and it will spit out a bunch of recipes. Over time, I could see it turning into a YouTube-like site, where users can submit their own recipes. Also, like YouTube, users can give each meal a rating and you can read strings of comments. Photos of the final product could accompany the recipe, as well as videos of preparation.

But all that community and human interaction stuff is extra in my opinion. I'd really just like a site that tells me: "You've got tuna, hot peppers, half an onion and some soy sauce? Mix them up this way and heat them this way for this many minutes."

And hey, I've done no internet research on this idea, so if it exists already and you've used it, please let me know! (Before dinner tonight, preferably.)

So, you want to invent it? Already know about something just like it? Got a reason why it would never work? Got some suggestions? Got your own "I Wish Someone Would Invent..."? See you in the comments!


Anonymous said...

you can type in ingredients you want to use, and see what recipes include them.

Matt Schuster said...

Try too. Although you might be out of luck with the fried onion things.

Kevin Cannon said...

Well good, that solves that.

And I think I'll just put those onion things on everything I make until they're gone.

Unknown said...

If you've got some rice or can get some, cream of mushroom soup is pretty good poured over the top of rice (cook seperately) and it makes decent fast meal when reheated as leftovers. Those onion things could probably go okay with that, if I'm thinking of the right onion thing, the texture and flavor should compliment the soup-rice well... just keep them seperate until you're ready to eat.

The ketchup and maple syrup should be saved for the next time you go shopping for french fries and pancakes.

Donn Ha said...

Good god kevin! You're a can of green beans away from green bean casserole - mix the green beans with the cream of mushroom soup, top with french fried onions. Delicious.

Donn Ha said...

green bean casserole

Kevin Cannon said...

well look at that. a can of green beans in my cupboard.

maris wicks said...

O.K. So, I check this blog (semi-obsessively) everyday. And just but 2 days ago, I had this very same idea (or wish). I cook a lot, and I've gotten pretty good at making stuff from the only-things-
left-in-the-cupboard-that-haven't-expired ingredients. But this fictitious wonder-site would be sweet. I allready frequent Allrecipe and Epicurious, but I want the equivalent of "iron chef" results (like when they made a dessert out of fish sticks, not that I want to do that, but hopefully you get the picture). In addition, I think a site like that would be further enhanced by actual recipe-gurus (humans whose food wisdom will supplement the recipe database). There are cookbooks out there that focus on the bare minimum ingredients, with horrific titles (like "The Lazy, Messy College Student's Guide to Cooking") but they seem to utililize process foods way too much (the philosophy of salt being able to make anything taste better just does not fly with me). So maybe we need a cookbook that addresses this situation...On a further note, a blog/forum would be neat: you submit what ingedients you have and multiple people can suggest recipes. I'm not anti-computer database or anything, I just find all the mass-market recipes a bit boring. Woah, so I've given this a bit of thought, and this comment has become a ramble...Anyhow, thanks for having an awesome blog that I can't pull myself away from. Next time, I promise I'll leave a shorter, less-crazy comment.


Opus said...

Here ya go:

I had this very idea about 7 years ago, and at that time I actually DID have a freeware piece of software for my Pocket PC that would do that very thing. But that got stolen and I can't remember the name of it.

Not used this yet, but it seems to be what you're wanting.


Unknown said... has a sifter feature that allows you to enter what you have and pull a recipe based on 300K entries that match. Nutritional info too. THE BEST!

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