Find Recipes on the Web with Feastie

September 25, 2011

10:30 am

Earlier this month, we asked, “Is 2011 the Year of Recipe Sites?” It must be so because, just a few weeks later, we have yet another recipe site to tell our readers about. Feastie is a new recipe search engine that scours food blogs and websites to help you find healthy, tasty and budget-friendly recipes. What sets Feastie apart are its search tools that help you find recipes to fit your dietary and nutritional needs in a clear, easy-to-use format.

“The biggest killers in America are diet-related diseases,” said Feastie founder Valerie Coffman. “So, I decided to start a recipe search engine with a built-in grocery list in order to make it easier for people to cook healthy, tasty food at home as opposed eating fast food and processed food. At Feastie, you get more than a link to a recipe, you get a step closer to actually cooking.”

Coffman, who graduated from the Founder Institute in June, left her job at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in late July, and launched Feastie just one month ago, understands that any search site is only as good as its algorithm. She has a PhD from Cornell in computational physics and spent the last five years writing software for materials science research at NIST.

Did you know that the first computer offered as a consumer product was actually a kitchen computer. I sure didn’t. In an email, Coffman explained to me that the Honeywell h316 was featured in the 1969 Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog for $10,000. This expensive Christmas gift required two weeks of training so home cooks could enter recipes using a binary switch. This culinary computer didn’t sell a single unit, probably because most cooks would rather spend ten grand redesigning their dream kitchen than on a device requiring binary code.

Coffman went on to explain that these days, recipe publishing isn’t much better. Now you have to add special markup like Google hRecipe or microformats to webpages to have your recipe indexed by Google Recipe View. So over forty years later, organizing recipes on a computer still requires a bunch of tedious work.

Coffman used her extensive programming background to develop natural language processing methods that can extract recipe information from webpages without requiring any special formatting. Her belief is that computers are supposed to work for us–not the other way around.

Feastie even makes grocery shopping easier by allowing you to import the ingredient list from whatever recipe you’re viewing into your Feastie grocery list. This list offers relevant matching coupons and even sorts your groceries by aisle for quicker shopping. You can either print your list or access it on your mobile phone.

The next time you’re looking for a great new recipe to try out, why not see if Feastie can help?

 

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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