Announcing the Food52 + Rap Genius Partnership

May 31, 2013

Somehow geeky, raw, and cool all at once, the text-annotation site Rap Genius has established itself as the best place on the Web to add in-line commentary to everything from pop song lyrics to poem stanzas. Interpreting Kanye's latest verse isn't our forte, but when the Rap Genius team decided to venture into text annotation for recipes and cooking articles, we saw that as our cue to partner.

Combine Food52 with Rap Genius and what do you get? Food Genius, a new tool that gives cooks an easy way to mark up recipes and cooking articles online. Every week, Food52 editors will be posting and annotating recipes and how-to articles on Rap Genius, and the RG community will be encouraged to add their notes to Food52's content in the same way they already do for song lyrics, poems, and news articles. 

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This mix of verified and community-sourced annotations may include pictures demonstrating what the dish should look like at each step of the process, specific suggestions for a generic ingredient like "fresh herbs," or substitutions for special diets, among many other possibilities. The Food Genius partnership adds a crowd-sourced layer to the cooking process by allowing cooks to make small variations on and enhancements to recipes -- recipes that are themselves crowd-sourced by the Food52 community. 

Check out the annotated version of How to Make Any Meatballs in 5 Steps on Rap Genius -- and be sure to add a few notes of your own!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • CatrionaS
  • Susige
  • SusanGiff
  • Andreas Düss
    Andreas Düss
  • AntoniaJames

Written by: CookLikeMad

I've been a baker, math tutor, webmaster, camp counselor, social media manager, research analyst, editor, and recipe tester -- not necessarily in that order. But if you find me without a book on food or cooking, then you've got the wrong gal.


CatrionaS June 2, 2013
Sorry to disagree with the majority here, but I think it's fun and exciting! Antonia James seems to have her knickers in knot.
Susige June 2, 2013
I just checked it out and I think it's rather cool! I love the addition of the photos and alternate ingredients. I look forward to seeing more recipes posted and learning something new!
SusanGiff June 2, 2013
Based on literally just a quick glance, I have to say I really appreciate the visual component--I like seeing what someone means by "the size of two golfballs put together."
Andreas D. May 31, 2013
@AntoniaJames I think it's important to remember that this will not change the Food 52 experience at all - this is just content shared on an external site.
AntoniaJames May 31, 2013
Well, I just looked at the first one, and have to conclude that this is for a demographic with a lot less skill and lot more time for light amusement than I have. Oh well. It's consistent with the general direction of FOOD52 lately, so I suppose this shouldn't surprise us. It motivates me, however, to address that problem in a clever, more productive way. ;o)
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 31, 2013
ouch. Not crazy about the feel and look of their site at all - or the term lyrics. But I'm sure its a work in progress.
AntoniaJames May 31, 2013
Yes, I agree, the GUI leaves a lot to be desired -- sort of an anti-FOOD52 look, if you ask me. Also somewhat surprising, from a brand association perspective. ;o)
Amanda H. June 1, 2013
Rap Genius began as a site for annotating lyrics and has grown wildly, and they're starting to explore annotation in all sorts of text. For instance, Sheryl Sandberg annotated the first chapter of her book, "Lean In," on Rap Genius. When RG turned its attention to recipes and cooking articles, we thought it would be a good moment to work with them.
We've long felt that comment threads at the bottom of recipes are imperfect, because comments often refer to a specific point in a recipe, and you have to scroll up and down to see what the commenter is referring to; because of this design, comment threads also, in some ways, discourage commenters from referencing the nitty gritty in a recipe. Not to mention, as a recipe writer, wouldn't it be great to be able to leave extra notes without cluttering up the recipe itself? People have hand-annotated recipes in cookbooks forever, and it's time for this to happen online.
RG's annotation technology is an exciting way to address this. They have an enthusiastic and active community and we're happy to be working with them, and learning from them.
garlic&lemon June 2, 2013
I just read this whole thread and realized that it is 2 days old.I have to agree with Antonia James about the general direction I see in Food52 of going for a demographic with a lot less skill and more time for light amusement than what originally drew me to participate actively. I have noticed that I check Food52 less often and have not participated in quite a while. AT THE SAME TIME, the proposed Food Genius is quite intriguing. I like most of the pictures on the meatball recipe, although illustrating putting the meatballs in slowly by a video of feeding a turtle is the type of light entertainment I just don't have time or interest for while cooking. There seems to be fewer reasons for me to check in frequently.
Andreas D. May 31, 2013
I am trying to figure out the benefit of this and failing miserably. What does this do?
CookLikeMad May 31, 2013
The tool allows users on Rap Genius to add in-line notes to selected recipes and cooking articles from Food52. It's a great way to provide further explanation of a term or ingredient. Food52 editors will also be adding their own notes.
Andreas D. May 31, 2013
Call me an old fogey, (get off my lawn) but isn't that what we've got comments for? This seems to be like an additional overlay duplicating existing functionality, no?
CookLikeMad May 31, 2013
It's just a fun and often helpful way to actually put those comments in-line with the text they relate to, which we currently don't have the ability to do on Food52.
Andreas D. May 31, 2013
Cool. I'll stop complaining about it until I've actually seen it then. ;)
CookLikeMad May 31, 2013
;) No worries!
AntoniaJames May 31, 2013
This seems to be similar to the Google Doc concept of sharing comments, insights, etc. within documents made available to invited viewers or the public. My nephew set up such a system for all of our extended family's recipes (particularly valuable for recipes given to us or otherwise used and recommended by my mother). I hope this ramps up quickly, as the value is exponentially limited (or expanded) by the number of recipes in the pool. When time permits, I plan fully to investigate the functionality of this. I worry that the many hidden treasures on the site will not be accounted for or included, because they have not been deemed worthy of the limited FOOD52 testing/photographing resources. Perhaps FOOD52 can set up an email alias where members could recommend such "under the radar" gems. Stay tuned . . . . ;o)
Kristen M. May 31, 2013
We always welcome Wildcard recipe tips at [email protected]! And we love "under the radar".
mrslarkin May 31, 2013
Whoa, that is way too confusing for me. Is there going to be a tutorial? How will our recipes be linked to rg?
CookLikeMad May 31, 2013
There aren't any plans for a tutorial, but I'm sure if you go to the link above to the meatballs post, you'll see how easy it is to write notes within an article. There are no plans to link Food52 recipes to RG, unless it makes sense to do so on a one-off basis in an annotation. For example, if we post an article on prepping mangoes, it might make sense to make an annotation that links to a mango recipe on Food52 to further demonstrate a technique. Right now, we are simply sharing one Food52 article per week with the RG community. Hope that helps to clear things up!
AntoniaJames May 31, 2013
The embedded nature of the comments, which does not allow one to skim for relevance or interest but rather requires a link-through to every one of them, reduces the usefulness of the tool, at least for people who must manage their time efficiently. Bubbles similar to the Google docs format, even if the comment text were truncated after a good-sized snippet, would make this something I'd use. The Rap Genius model seems to have been built for the sharing of entertainment. While I find recipes and information related to them to be entertaining, in a certain sense, I find this tool to be of little utility. ;o)