Does anyone miss the contests!?!? ...and find this site rather dull as of late!?!

Let's speak up! I miss you guys! I cannot see how the fact that the British prince having a school menu that has lentils has anything to do with inspiring me.

zoemetro uk


mainecook61 October 31, 2017
I seldom come to the site any more. I am more likely to look at things on New York Times Cooking or Smitten Kitchen. I used to really enjoy the Genius Recipes column when it appeared more regularly, but that page is now so busy that I don't bother to wade through all of the content for something that might be a new post.
QueenSashy October 27, 2017
I have not been on the site for a while for all the reasons stated above. Miss the contests. Miss the old site.
Starmade October 27, 2017
I see everyone else misses contests too. I agree that something is missing that is more than the sum of its parts here. Let me say what, for me, is missing, because there ought to be more than one way to supply it. So this is a site with over a million people, that features recipes by a fraction of these million, mostly older contributors or staff writers. But when there was a contest it formed a small focal point and *everyone* could contribute; often it focused on seasonal produce, or some problem we all have, or stretching limited ingredients. I always looked at *every single recipe* that was submitted, I'd go every few days to see what was newly posted, and I always found things and think "hey that sounds easy" or "kim chi and pickled okra, why the hell not?" or "interesting, I never thought of that"; I'd collect them and try them. I was interested in the community picks. I did not always or even usually try the winners, or vote on the winning choices (too often there would be an ingredient I couldn't get or a technique I couldn't replicate, though it was interesting to see what was chose). However for me the important part was to see the hundred or so creative ideas for a two or three ingredient biscuit, and to have someone say "Yeah, I tried this and it actually works" I know other people were doing the same as me, reading *all* the recipes and collecting a few. For me too, it was a stimulus to post recipes that I would not rush to put up otherwise, super easy weeknight dinners and made the most of a simple set of ingredients or used more bell peppers than usual in an effective way. I don't do that any more either. I know people saw these when I posted them on contests much sooner they probably would have otherwise, because they started to appear in collections much sooner. I respect the selection of winners, and the huge amount of work that has to have gone into testing and choosing (and editing! and rephotographing!) them, but that's not what I miss most. I just like having people who are not staff writers post new things on a theme. So why can't we just have a monthly theme, where everyone votes on recipes that should be tested by the community, and then a set of community picks coming out of it? Without the staff testing, or editing, or photographing, without even necessarily choosing a winner. That would give me the array of new stuff and the stimulus to post recipes again.
Maedl October 27, 2017
Another idea: what about a monthly (or, even better, a bi-weekly) theme for a conversation and discussion. The site needs to involve the enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience of readers and to encourage conversation, rather than to answer simple, repetitive questions.
LeBec F. February 28, 2024
i completely support your intelligent 'monthly theme' idea.
best, mindy
Maedl October 27, 2017
I like the idea for a different forum for meatier questions--there is so much going on with food--history, politics, environmental issues, economic questions. A chance to exchange ideas would be so welcome.
BerryBaby October 26, 2017
People ask for advice here versus Internet search to feel more connected and confident with responses from a trusted community. JMO
I enjoy sharing ideas and from reading idea posts from Food52 staff, on the Hotline, surmised it was welcome to do so.
Lindsay-Jean H. October 25, 2017
Hi all, I’m reviving this thread with an update! In the coming days, you may notice we’ll be temporarily taking down contests from the site’s main navigation bar. This is happening to make space for all of our Thanksgiving and holiday goings-on—but don’t worry, the contests will be back! They’re an important part of Food52’s history, and they’ll continue to be an important part of our future—so they’ll be returning in a smarter, easier-to-understand format in 2018. Stay tuned for more on that: We’ll be back with the details in January, and we thank you for your patience.
pierino October 25, 2017
Of course we can all continue to contribute recipes. But another thing that might help in lieu of contests would be a Food52 Forum where regulars can share ideas. Some of that spells over into Hotline now which really isn't the best place for it. Perhaps editors as well as users could toss around a timely topic other than turkey. There's always Butterball for that.
Niknud October 25, 2017
And...speaking of contributing recipes. Figure since it's almost the holiday season, I would like to add to my list of gimme-wannums. Can we please bring back the link to the newest recipes? I know there's a work around share by mrslarkin way back when and I do have it bookmarked, but it's not as easily accessible and I miss a lot of great recipes added by the regulars here. I would imagine it wouldn't take too much work (unlike the contests) and I know a lot of us would like that feature returned.
Lindsay-Jean H. October 25, 2017
I have been a squeaky wheel on the newest recipe link request, Rachael, and will continue to do so!
BerryBaby October 25, 2017
I enjoy a departure from questions. There have been many topics that were fun like naming cats, ideas in the kitchen and random stuff. I'm guilty of posting many of them. Sorry. BB
sexyLAMBCHOPx October 25, 2017
Don't forget Hanukkah!
ChefJune October 26, 2017
Well, you know, Lindsay-Jean: I don't think the contests were ever difficult to understand! What I (we?) find/found difficult to understand is why they stopped. Seems to me that was the glue that held the community together - that was the big incentive to contribute recipes - and that most of the folks here feel excluded by the lack of any contests. Let's face it, 4 a year is just kinda piddlin'... I don't think I'm alone in thinking the folks who run things around here decided they have a nice large database of recipes now, no need for the contests. Or whatever it is. There has always been plenty of room for the holiday features along with the contests before. Seems like just another excuse to get rid of them. I'm sad.
Stephanie B. October 26, 2017
I really like pierino's idea of a forum for more regular types - it would get away from some of the hotline questions that others mentioned are a bit, uhm, basic, for lack of a nicer term. Not that every question has to be a hugely technical ordeal - I enjoy seasonal favorites (tip o' the hat to BB), and fancy dinner party planning threads, too.

But when questions come up as often as they do lately on food spoilage and really basic cooking, I can't help but think to myself "just google it!" I realize there's no way to say that without sounding like a snob, and I'm sorry because I think people learning to cook is a great thing. I'm a home cook, not a Michelin starred professional, and I feel really bad about sounding snooty.

Maybe a forum would provide a better platform for for BB's types of questions, more experienced cooks, etc.
Dani R. September 28, 2017
I disagree with most comments in this thread! I do miss the contests but I definitely do not find this site dull! I love the articles, but especially enjoy features geared towards cooking/baking how-to's. Many are commenting that basics can be found on any other site, but I think that even an experienced cook can always learn something new, even in terms of basics. I check this site every day and I rarely use any other site for recipes/inspiration. Keep up the good work, Food52!!
CondimentQueen September 28, 2017
Hi Danielle,
I think it is really great that you are enjoying the Food52 experience you are having but I see that you are also a more recent member. Would it help if I explained that what we are mourning (and having a wake for?) is a version of this site that pre-dates your membership. As I have said before, the site is okay as is but it was fantastic before. There was a sense of community that has been lost and we miss it.
Saffron3 September 26, 2017
How about some folks set up a contest committee, make suggestions about your interests, catalogue all the past contests, link winners etc. That would be a great contribution. Thoughts?
Leith D. September 26, 2017
I think a user contest committee is a great idea! I'll even volunteer to be on it :)
zoemetro U. September 26, 2017
Hi Saffron3. I love that idea. I am in! We could even suggest contests and then get volunteers to test them. Just let me know what I can do.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 26, 2017
Hey Saffron3, just a note that if you're interested, you can check out all of the past contests via the sitemap, here: And we definitely welcome suggestions for the return of contests, keep the feedback coming!
Saffron3 September 26, 2017
Hey Lindsey-Jean.
Simple question here. 😎
Is there an easy way to know the number of contests, even per year, even broken into topics, OR is an inventory of all that not yet available. Thanks.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 27, 2017
Saffron3, there have been a total of 302 contests. As for topics, the sitemap link ( lists all of the contests on 2 pages, I pasted all of them into a spreadsheet so I could look at them at one time.
hchambers86 September 26, 2017
Yes! I am a young (but seasoned) user of Food52, who's been around since the early days. antoniajames, kukla, queensashy, mrslarkin, fiveandspice - these are names (handles) of people i've absolutely never met and who have no idea exist, but taught me a world about cooking and flavor and online community. I miss the contest, I miss not having to wade through articles about linens and seedlip(?) and pink milk to get to the actual recipes and community I had come to expect from the site.

There are ways to grow, and to grow responsibly, but I don't think Food52 is doing the best job of that right now. I hope that we are a gracious enough community to give them a chance to try again (you certainly deserve it, Food52!). It's a thankless and near-impossible task and I appreciate the continued responsiveness of some of the long-time staffers but, please - do something different! Shake up your community engagement! We miss the old Food52.
Girlfromipanema September 26, 2017
Could not agree more - this site has become a vapid shell of what it once was. I get that it's expanding and needs to support the entire staff, but there is a way to do this that keeps the community aspect, and isn't just click bait. Such a bummer, such a loss, such a shame.
Bevi September 23, 2017
It would be great to see new contests soon. Fall and winter are times many people get back into the kitchen. Who cares if people recycle recipes for contests? With so many recipes on this site, a review and reminder of what's in the recipe archive is nice. Many folks create recipes just for the contests as well.

SKK September 22, 2017
I have been a member since January 2011, and agree that the focus of food52 has shifted from home cooks to a more shotgun approach captured in many of your comments. From what I have read, 60% of revenue comes from on-line sales and 2016 projected earnings are $16 million. Kudos to Amanda and Merrill who have created an amazing business model!

I very much miss the contests, community picks and the healthy interchange that was on Hotline before Hotline turned into a kind of questioning that has me want to respond "just google it". Just checked the last approx. 20 hotline questions and 7 people who asked questions joined the day they asked the question; 3 were admin. questions having to do with orders and technical glitches; 2 were questions 6 years and older and 7 questions from members who have participated for at least a year.

Have given up on the idea of Food52 as a community built around questions and recipe sharing. We were such a strong community that here in Seattle we had gatherings of Food52 members from Portland to Victoria BC just for the fun of it. And two amazing book signing parties that Merrill and Amanda came to. Those were the days, as they say.

CondimentQueen September 22, 2017
I agree. It's true there are still some good things about the site but I think people who are newer here don't realize how fantastic it was before. That's what we are talking about. Not the new version that just keeps getting further and further away from the spirit of the original.
ChefJune September 22, 2017
Amanda and Merrill used to write regular columns/articles, but they have also gone missing. I used to be on the site daily. I miss the interaction.
ChefJune September 22, 2017
I think we've been down that road a time or two since the format changed, and my response is still the same.... YES!
Saffron3 September 22, 2017
I like this site, find it of quality. I enjoy the recipes, most of the articles. I cook on a professional level, albeit modest not famous mind, and cook at least 50 variations of recipes over the year. It is concise here, easy to search, well organized, not so personal as to be dripping honey and gossip. So, while I understand some folks don't have enough 'new' to be curious etc, I bet some other folks are ok with the pace. Thanks.
meganvt01 September 21, 2017
And as I speculated in my earlier post - the promotions for a new cookbook dropped today...
Leith D. September 19, 2017
I too miss the contests. They were motivation to create new recipes and I loved seeing what everyone else came up with.
CondimentQueen September 19, 2017
All the monetizing issues aside (and there are many), what really bugs me is that the editors seem to think it has to be all things to all people. This site originally leaned towards people who already know how to boil potatoes (and do some pretty fancy things with them after that!). There are a million sites for people to figure out the basics. I loved this site because it gave me ideas and inspiration to elevate the food I was already making. Now it's just another average site. Hardly worthy of the genius of thirschfield and chefjune and antoniajames and, and...
Imogen September 19, 2017
Yes. If editors or out there somewhere listening, I'm irritated by columns that are trying to sell me something and by anything about celebrity chefs. I come here for unique, high quality recipes and food writing with a community atmosphere. Too much of the aforementioned drivel drives longtime readers and community members away.
caninechef September 19, 2017
Old questions on the hot line being recycled may be annoying but surely are not a cause for the disenchantment of so many long term members. Personally I find the “areas of expertise” for some of the current writers a total waste. Many of them are degenerating into the realm of click bait and I swear I will never again look at any of the articles starting with topics such as “taking the internet by storm” or “Instagram goes wild”. I was never personally caught up with the contests but I still find them a source for wonderful recipes, that usually come with direct access to the creator and/or many other cooks who had tried the recipe. In the last 5 years or so I have picked up so many little pieces of advice, mostly from other members, that not only have made be a better cook but have made me more interested in cooking. The current crop of celebrity recipes seem to often come with more issues and less feedback than recipes developed by dedicated community members. I have no problem with the concept that the site is a business and needs to be run like one. It just seems incredibly sad that some middle ground between the historical site and what “sells” cannot be found.
creamtea September 20, 2017
True the old hotline questions are a small quibble; the larger issue your last comment: the original concept, which was so refreshing, about respecting home cooks and their contributions, as opposed to the "big names" (although I do love & save contributions by Alice Medrich and others). Agree with you about the breathless Instagram and Internet clickbait--also the "why you shoulds" "you're welcome" "would've-could've" clichés.
The contests really enlivened and gave energy to the site, and challenged me to come up with new ideas or contribute family treasures while we still have them. I will look forward to their return.
meganvt01 September 19, 2017
I sense that the contests don't make any money for the site and they were a lot of work for the staff and that is why they have dropped in priority. I get that - this is a business not just a hobby. Seems like many online food sites are struggling to find ways to make these ventures viable - when the NYT food site starts charging - you know it is a serious situation. Seems like perhaps the cookbooks (salad, ice cream) have become the moneymakers and the focus. I am fine with that - but as an old member of the community I would just like to hear a straight answer to why the contests went from once a week to once a year. It was so inspiring and I still recommend this site to others but I don't frequent it like I used to. That makes me sad - this was one of the most formative in my development as a home cook. And the community was fabulous - just thinking about someone like Kukla who we got to know through her recipes in the contests. Inspired cooking that i never would have searched for on my own but were brought to the forefront through the contests.
BerryBaby September 19, 2017
Other than the contests, what suggestions or ideas would people like to see?

Maedl September 19, 2017
The Hotline used to have good discussions--that's what I miss the most. I wonder if the site's effort to appeal to new, inexperienced cooks may have resulted in questions that are rather repetive and uninteresting to people who have more kitchen experience. I would like to see a more diversified use of the Hotline than we get now.
zoemetro U. September 19, 2017
I would love to see a section that features the new recipes that are posted. As well, it would be helpful to have a sort option to find a member's newest recipes. Another idea as a follow up to "The Piglet," would be to have an area where members can post photos/reviews/changes to recipes that they tried from the books.
AntoniaJames September 19, 2017
Zoemetro, Food52 for many years actually had a "new recipes" field in the navigation bar; many people have asked for it back over the years. Food52 must have some reason for not re-instituting it. It can't possibly be the difficulty of coding. Of that I am certain. (I wrote my first software code at age 17, back in the 1970's. I'd volunteer to fix this for Food52, if they'd let me.) This simple feature just is not a priority for them.

But don't despair. When this came up on a Hotline thread a few years ago, MrsLarkin generously shared her workaround - this linked search, which you can save to your bookmarks,booze-free-drinks,bread-rolls-muffins,breakfast-brunch,cake,candy,cocktails,condiments,cookies,desserts,entrees,hors-doeuvres,ice-cream-frozen-desserts,pies-tarts,pizza,salads,sandwiches,side-dishes,snacks,soup,stews&o=newest

If you are interested in looking at the most recent recipes of a particular cook, you can go to his or her profile page (search the user by name in the general search box, and select "users" from the drop-down menu). Then click on the link to the user's recipes. Those are organized chronologically, so the most recent should appear on the first page.

Hope this helps. ;o)
ktr September 19, 2017
I would like to see the content of the articles changed. It used to be that the articles taught you something about either food history or how to cook something better. Now the majority of them seem to be based on what's trending in social media with a link somehow to food. I used to save articles to reference later and i have not done that in a long time. The social media based articles can be amusing, but I'd like to see more articles again that taught me something and helped me become a better cook.
Maedl September 19, 2017
Lindsey-Jean, would it be possible to disable the answer function for questions over a certain age? That would be a welcome improvement.
702551 September 19, 2017
It's entirely possible. Reddit typically sunsets discussions that are beyond a certain age (six months?).

Whether or not Food52's forum system has that functionality built in currently is a separate issue.

It's really up to Food52's staffers to decide whether or not they will put in the effort to program this into their system, but the fact that others have done this completely possible.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 19, 2017
I will absolutely pass on the suggestion Margie, thank you.
Maedl September 18, 2017
Yes, I find the ancient questions annoying, too--couldn't something be done to prevent questions of a certain age from being answered again and again?
BerryBaby September 19, 2017
Maybe they should delete threads over a year or two old. Information changes so rapidly that many of them are out dated.
Plus, after so many years, the original poster has surely received their answer and moved on.
Maedl September 18, 2017
Thanks, Lisanne. I think that's the article that prompted me to send a pitch.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 18, 2017
Hi all, as BerryBaby noted, we are working on a plan for the contests, I know it's taking awhile, and I'm sorry for that. For some of you who are very active on the Hotline, I probably sound like a broken record, but I promise that the community truly is a priority and we are listening to you!
Maedl September 18, 2017
Pierino, you are definitely one of the people I miss. What's the process for getting an article published on the site? I've tried, but have never had a response.
Lindsay-Jean H. September 18, 2017
Hi Margie, I'm so sorry to hear that you haven't received a response. We've had some staff changes and perhaps emails were lost in the shuffle (not an excuse! It shouldn't happen regardless, just a possible reason). Feel free to resubmit to [email protected] or email me directly.
creamtea September 18, 2017
Margie, here was an article for 2016 about how to pitch a story to editorial staff:

Voted the Best Reply!

Maedl September 17, 2017
Yes, I agree. The community has disintegrated and the Hotline has become a place for people to question whether they can still eat their ground meat after it sat on the counter all night or if they can substitute peas for carrots in a recipe for stew. Even the standard of writing has gone downhill, in search of the lowest common denominator, I suppose. I look in once per week, and that's enough.
pierino September 18, 2017
The seven year old garlic press question goes beyond tiresome.

I still post recipes even without the contest deadline. But also trying to come up with interesting ideas for articles.
creamtea September 18, 2017
I so agree about the garlic press question (it annoyed the heck out of me 7 years ago) and many of the other recycled questions. People don't realize that they are years old and post answers bc the hotline is programmed to recycle old questions when it gets too quiet (I suspect). Sometimes they may be somewhat relevant, as they can be general questions, but one often hopes the OP has cooked the item in question by now........
Lindsay-Jean H. September 18, 2017
Just a note that the Hotline isn't programmed to recycle questions at all, I think it's mainly due to, as you said, people searching for something, and answering without realizing that the question is an old one.
Nancy September 19, 2017
I've only been here for about half the life of the site and even I see the differences.
Although I didn't compete in the contests, I followed them and tested some recipes. They brought freshness and a sense of other contributors.
And, as others have noted, lots of contributors no longer appear on the hotline, and the discussions are more limited than they used to be. I miss many people, like Dr Babs, Susan W, aargersi.
I wonder if the management & editors can make some adjustments that to balance both their goals with presumably entry to moderate level cooks with the needs of moderate to expert home cooks.
creamtea September 17, 2017
Totally agree with these comments. Especially about the content being dumbed down. I suspect they want to appeal to 20-somethings in their first apartments? The recipe compilations usually feature recipes by the editors or "celebrity" chefs. So it's not really about home cooks anymore. I feel like they have lost their way. Or discovered that e-commerce is a better moneymaker.
zoemetro U. September 17, 2017
Indeed, these are all great points! Now, it just feels like a "William and Sonoma" site that uses recipes to sell their stuff. I so miss the anticipation of the contest deadline--checking in each evening to see who added recipes, cooking a few and earmarking others. My friends were always excited to come to dinner to try the winners.
luvcookbooks September 16, 2017
Miss the contests.
CondimentQueen September 16, 2017
I totally agree. In fact, I recently wrote a letter to the editors telling them this very thing. I also feel like the site has been kind of 'dumbed down'. It used to be a fantastic site with really accomplished amateur cooks who inspired the heck out of me. I hardly ever come here anymore.
BerryBaby September 16, 2017
They were something to look forward to. There is a response on another thread from Food52 that the contests will return in a different format. Takes time.
For me, I enjoy the articles. I pick and choose which ones peak my interest. There's something for everyone.
inpatskitchen September 16, 2017
I miss the contests also. Here is the thread that BB mentioned:
I agree! I'm sure the contests were an awful lot of work, but it kept me engaged much more.
zoemetro U. September 15, 2017
Wow! Thank you for your opinion! Let's see if there are some other answers in the next 24 hours.....but I do not see any of my favorite cooks logging in any more :-((
Alexandra V. September 15, 2017
Yeah, totally a bummer.....was a fun distraction and way to share. You totally read my mind. It was never about a prize it was more about respect from other cooks. Makes me sad.
Alexandra V. September 15, 2017
The "interaction" is gone.
Alexandra V. September 15, 2017
Yeah, totally a bummer.....was a fun distracted and way to share. You totally read my mind. It was never about a prize it was more about respect from other cooks. Makes me sad.
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