How do you use Food52?

I have been using Food52 for more than 7 years (?!?) and it really transformed my life in the kitchen. I feel a very special loyalty to and appreciation for this site. In the "old days" I used to check the site daily and found I was quickly amassing a collection of recipes to try. For some reason, in the last year or maybe more, I don't feel quite the same inspiration that I used to feel. I'm saving fewer recipes and cooking fewer recipes from the site. I'm wondering why this is or if others feel the same.

The way I use the site is to click on Features, then View All, then I scroll through everything that's been posted. I like to at least scan through everything. Then I read the hotline to see if there are any hidden gems that people are talking about. Although the specific steps have changed as the site has evolved, this is what I've been doing since the beginning.

What do you do? Do you go to the recipes page first? I tried that, but it's not clear to me why some are highlighted and it looks like it doesn't change that often. I don't want to search for anything in particular.. I'm just looking for inspiration.

The biggest change on the site for me has been the sheer amount of content to sift through... and most of the content is not recipes, it seems to me. (Don't get me wrong, I enjoy many of the articles!). Of course, perhaps my life has just changed and my approach to cooking is going through a lull which is why I feel a lack of inspiration. Just wondering how others approach using the site-- especially long-time members who have been with the site through many changes.

  • Posted by: Megan
  • May 1, 2017


AntoniaJames May 5, 2017
Seems like a survey on user views and preferences re the contests might be a good idea right about now, given all the feedback we've seen since they went quarterly . . . . . . ;o)
Bevi May 4, 2017
I use the site to find recipes if I have a special ingredient, or to check the hotline. I miss the weekly contests, the feature that allows us to view new recipes without going through filters and links, and I also miss the ability to see how many views a recipe has. I am happy that more community recipes will be featured, but I also miss the WC feature. I think, as new membership numbers vastly overtake the number of old food52 alums, these treasured features will be remnants of our nostalgia for the earlier days. My kids and their friends like that my and other members' recipes are archived. I appreciate the effort to include and feature world cuisines.
Mrs B. May 3, 2017
I'm engaged much less frequently now than I ever was, for reasons I've explained to Food52 in the recent customer survey. Speaking of engagement, you might find interesting this article about Food52's Chief Revenue Officer:
One suspects that the CRO's objectives discussed in the article might be driving the regrettable recent trend here on Food52 of teaser headlines akin to those seen in the cheapest and most unattractive web ads - about "tiny changes", a "funny little secret," an "odd little secret," a "little trick" and a "trick you haven't heard of yet," to cite just a few titles or subtitles that have actually been on Food52. One hesitates now more than ever to recommend Food52 to other potential users.
BerryBaby May 3, 2017
I enjoy the articles and Hotline, except for when a post states out with "I have a question...."
I understand many use this for assistance, however, I wish there were more helpful hints, tips, new products to share, ideas, recipes.
SMSF May 3, 2017
Hi BB, the "I have a question about the recipe..." preface is automatically generated when the question originates from that recipe's page elsewhere on the site (the hotline post then includes a built-in link to the recipe in question, which is handy).
BerryBaby May 3, 2017
Thanks SMSF I didn't know that.
SMSF May 3, 2017
Long-time Food 52er here. Three things:
- I'm using the site mostly for my stash of Saved/Liked recipes, which I do reference and cook from.
- Also the recipe search, if I have a specific ingredient in mind and want to get recipes or just ideas on what to make with it.
- I usually check the hotline daily during the week just to see what's going on and I'll weigh in from time to time.
mstv May 2, 2017
I agree with much of your post. I miss the more frequent contests. It seems like perhaps there are fewer new recipes posted by the community since there are fewer contests? I don't find myself using the site as often as I did before (and I don' recommend it to others as frequently).
Megan May 2, 2017
Thanks all for your responses! I do not make use of the option to follow people and have an individualized feed. I will definitely start making use of that feature! I also enjoy reading some of the more thoughtful articles, but I just don't actually cook from the site much anymore-- which is what I miss the most. Also, I never actually participated in the contests (except once..) but I think I do miss the more frequent contests as that was a way that community recipes were featured.
Stephanie G. May 2, 2017
I read the hotline questions faithfully. They have taught me for years about cooking through my own questions as well as other's questions. It's my favorite part of the site.

Voted the Best Reply!

inpatskitchen May 2, 2017
Megan I agree with you about not feeling as inspired. I'll come to the site now and see VERY FEW recipes from the general community. It seems that almost all featured recipes are from staff or "celebrity" types. Food52 doesn't appear to be the close knit community it once was. I'm sticking and staying but I wish some of the past features of the site had been retained.
creamtea May 2, 2017
I agree with you, Pat. I enjoyed the expertise end of it and the interesting recipes the community posted. I also liked the former Wildcard feature. I'm happy reading columns from Alice Medrich, I do like the individual feed. But I used to love the more frequent contests. It was a challenge (in a good way) to get a recipe in by the deadline and the contest themes were inspiring. The content seems a little simplistic now. I guess a lot of people don't cook and need very basic advice. I miss some of the gifted amateurs (and professionals who were part of the community) from the early days.
AntoniaJames May 3, 2017
IPK, thank you for these observations, with which I agree. If you want to see all new recipes by all Food52 users, and not just the featured ones on the landing page for "Recipes", open this link and then bookmark it in your browser.

There was a Hotline discussion about this last year, during which MrsLarkin shared this workaround - essentially a search selecting all categories and filtering to "newest". Hope this helps. ;o)
AntoniaJames May 3, 2017
creamtea, my sentiments exactly, on every single point. Thank you for speaking up. ;o)
Niknud May 5, 2017
I agree with everything said here. I miss the recipes from people like me. Not that I don't love some of the upgrades the folks at F52 have done. But I've been sad ever since they stopped using the feature that let you see all the new recipes that have been posted. I didn't know about the workaround and now I've saved it to my bookmarks (Thanks AJ and MrsLarkin!). And I miss the more frequent contests. And, since we're bring up old stuff, I miss the long-retired Eat Your Words column. (Yah, I went there).
luvcookbooks May 2, 2017
I used to look at every recipe as it was put up. The site was smaller and I "knew" many of the cooks. I also scrolled through the features and browsed the hotline. Then I looked at the contest page.
Now I look at the features or search for a particular recipe based on what I'm cooking. Don't find the Hotline as interesting and new recipes aren't easy to access.
Still love reading the features, finding and saving new recipes. Love reflective articles, like the one about re learning cooking after the author's mom died. Love being able to interact with other community members. Love the shop for pantry items I can't find easily. The individualized feed at the upper right hand corner helps me to find highlights that appeal to the people I follow. It's my new favorite feature and is a treasure trove of articles and recipes. I also love the ability to organize saved recipes and sometimes browse through saved recipes for inspiration. Changes, but still a gold mine for me!
Smaug May 1, 2017
I used to use newspaper food sections in a similar way- though I had innumerable cook books that were far more dependable sources of recipes, I liked the scale of the food sections- once a week, there'd be maybe a dozen recipes to consider, and occasionally one worth doing- sometimes something I wouldn't have thought to search for. Those sections have died- they have practically nothing but puff pieces on restaurants and wineries; the once proud SF Chronicle section lost all it's writers and started reprinting occasional articles and recipes from Food52, which is where I first heard of it. To tell you the truth, I use it mostly to fill small holes that appear in my day (well, it's better than playing video games or making obscene phone calls). Occasionally there are interesting questions in this section and articles that aren't about how to get more salt in your diet; very occasionally a recipe I feel like trying.
creamtea May 2, 2017
I'm sorry to hear this about the Chronicle. I read it when I was a Berkeley student. I have their cookbook and love it.
Smaug May 2, 2017
Same thing happened to the BANG papers, the other major Bay Area news outlet- though tending a bit toward the onion soup mix school of cooking, it used to have a good and active cooking section. The recent departure of the produce guy, who offered actual useful information, left them in the "why bother" category too- I assumed it was a nationwide phenomenon. Are there any decent newspaper food sections left?
creamtea May 2, 2017
New York Times Sunday section is still good. I like when the column is written by Sam Sifton and some others. I don't subscribe during the week so I don't know about the mid-week food section.
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