Recipe Sourcing

Have you ever thought about how the way we source recipes has changed over time? Today, there seems to be an endless supply of new and exciting recipes from around the world to try online. But in the past, recipes were not always as accessible.

In the past, the primary source of meal ideas came from family recipes. These were passed down to children and evolved little over time. Many of the comfort foods we know and love fall into this category. Often, these recipes aren’t written down and don’t follow exact proportions, making them tricky to replicate.

With the evolution of the printing press and increasing literacy, cookbooks became a popular way to share and standardize recipes. Two writers, in particular, Eliza Acton and Isabella Beeton, helped to pave the way for cookbooks targeted to middle-class families in the mid-nineteenth century. In the early 20th century, we saw the evolution of Betty Crocker, a household name, who is a fictional personality created by General Mills. Her radio show, The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air, became one of the longest running radio shows in all of history. Betty Crocker’s brand is still a major presence, and her cookbooks are international bestsellers. 

A much newer trend is the incorporation of digital media. These take many forms, including the New York Times Cooking website, which contains recipes and cooking guides. Another popular online source is Tasty, which specializes in producing short, shareable videos that show the process from start to finish. This builds on the older tradition of cooking shows but focus less on the chef and more on the recipe. Often, the chef doesn’t even appear in the videos! One of the major advantages of this method is that the platforms on which these recipes are shared allow for consumer feedback and comments. Many users will offer recipe reviews and suggest modifications and substitutions.  A number of social media sites and blogs also include ways to share and critique recipes, meaning that anyone can contribute to the development and dissemination of new meal ideas!

One of the newest developments in the world of sharing recipes comes in the form of pre-portioned meal delivery subscription services. These companies, like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, deliver ingredients and recipe cards directly to the consumer. 

As our relationship with recipe sourcing progresses, so will our way of evaluating their quality. How do you talk to your clients about recipe sourcing? What tips do you provide to help them distinguish between healthier and unhealthy recipes? Have you noticed a shift in the way your clients find recipes? Comment below!