All questions

So...what's been up with Food52 for the last few months?

I used to be religious about my use of the website - from commenting, reading, super OCD organizing the saved recipes. First, Mayukh disappeared after having written some of the most thought provoking articles I'd seen on food anywhere. And then the articles left have been pedestrian at best, or yknow sort of like a wannabe of the food parts of GOOP (and I do have a guilty pleasure in reading GOOP). The articles that delved into history of food or politics of food vanished, right when they are at their most important. The recipes still seem good, but admittedly... I haven't bothered using Food52 like I did before, and honestly this pains me to say but I get my recipes elsewhere now since there's not much else to do on this site anymore. And then that really god piglet 2018 review that I won't give any more press about given that the writer of that review is living for this - totally a follower of "bad press is still good press."

Anyway, SO uh what happened?? Am I the only one who feels this way? Did I miss something between last Fall and now? Sorry if this sounds ranty to y'all, but having used the website since its inception when I was still a wee college student, I'm finding I feel out of place here now. And I can tell I am probably one of the target audiences for Food52 - young adult/millennial ish to 40s, good amount of disposable income, loves food and/or cooking. I honestly almost bought some of the Mosser cake stands and bowls from Food52 over Xmas to pretty up my apartment, and instead opted to buy them from elsewhere because I wasn't feeling like supporting this site anymore. So unless I'm the only one, I'd love to know what's goin' on!!? I've got one foot out the door, saving all my recipes offline, but I'd love to stick around and not abandon this ship that I've loved for so long.

asked by E 4 months ago

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104 answers 4409 views
Smaug
added 4 months ago

No, you're not alone- I had wandered away from the site for several months, and it seems like most of the writers, along with most of the users who regularly answered hot line questions, are gone. There are less recipes, and almost none that have even piqued my interest, and the articles, always a bit chatty for my taste, seem uninformative and often poorly researched. I understand the difficulty of coming up with essays in quantity on a regular basis, but that is kind of the job. I'm not sure what happened, but they do seem to be shifting the emphasis more to the retail side, and maybe the publication of books. So, no answers, but no, you're not alone.

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cv
cv
added 4 months ago

(shrugs)

"The only thing constant is change."

That applies to the Internet just as to anything else in this universe although it happens at a recognizable pace.

Sure, the site has changed in the past couple of years. Many of the old writers, contributors, and community members don't post here anymore. Perhaps they are just lurking, waiting for a tidal change.

This topic is brought up every six months or so and the staff always replies with the bland party line that they are pleased with the direction the site is taking. Not surprised that this is the repeated refrain.

Whether or not the evolution of this particular website is your cup of tea is a personal matter.

I can't say that I'm sad to have seen some people go elsewhere, but then again I'm not 100% happy with all of their replacements. And I'm not just talking about Food52.

We are all free to vote with our dollars and page views. If something else turns out to be better than what exists, I'm one to move on.

I'm sure that will please some people here and disappoint others. I didn't marry this site, nor am I an employee or monetarily compensated individual. Do I feel I get enough in the way of useful information or a sense of community involvement. I would say that ebbs and flows.

It's not like we're stuck using MySpace, GeoCities, Flickr and AOL Messenger forever.

Anyhow, best of luck to you in finding what you seek on the Internet.

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Smaug
added 4 months ago

If nothing else you've made me feel like an optimist, no small feat.

Smaug
added 4 months ago

Okie dokie- Food 52 has answered, thus nipping my brief career as an optimist in the bud.

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

Smaug - alas!

Smaug
added 4 months ago

Nancy It's a cold cruel world, is it not? Still, I suspect that being an irascible grump is more fun anyway. As cv has pointed out, everything changes- Martha Stewart is throowing down with the round headed guy from Jack In The Box, Rachel Ray is making dog food, the Gerber Baby is selling insurance- we are all but wisps in the wind.

Lost_in_NYC
added 4 months ago

Amen E, Smaug, and CV!

Totally agree with many of the points that you guys honestly pointed out. I also think there is a huge slide (downhill) in the quality of article content from years/months past. For instance, there was recent article on the different styles of washing dishes and the author thought it was "absolutely ground-breaking" to pre-rinse dishes, shut off the faucet, wash the dishes with soapy sponge and then rinse clean. I mean c'mon! I do miss the historical food articles/techniques where one can learn something new to appreciate this hobby we all love so much.

I'm sure many of us work/worked in some kind of corporate environment so we know the deal with run of the mill language (we recognize your frustrations/things will change/blah blah blah) but I feel the Food52 management's vibe has changed to completely ignore their consumers and keep pushing out mediocre content.

Another example, how many times on the hotline have we asked that older queries be closed out so we don't have a topic from 6 years ago be at the top. Again, Food52's response has been we don't have the technology to do so. Its 2018 - everyone else already does it successfully why is it different here? It makes me wonder where their priorities are with regards to running an online business.

Anyways, I feel like we can vent all we want but it will fall on deaf ears. If anyone can share some other better food sites they visit that would be great! I'm always looking out for new blogs/sites to expand my culinary knowledge/skills/horizons from other like-minded equally food loving people!

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

No one site.
Two consistently interesting- serious eats and the kitchen.
For basic American recipes (especially when I want to include or exclude an ingredient) allrecipes.
For particular foreign cuisines, overseas or expat websites, newspapers, blogs.
And Google translate expands my search beyond the languages I know.

Smaug
added 4 months ago

Two sites that I signed up for a long time ago- Relish and Epicurious publish a lot of recipes; I'm far from recommending either unreservedly- Relish specializes in after work cook types of recipes, such as you used to find in Betty Crocker cook books, and Epicurious is a very mixed bag, and has recently switched their emphasis to promoting products available on Amazon, but they both have a lot of content, if you feel like looking at a lot of recipes without picking up a book- I find something there occasionally, and I'm pretty picky.

Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 4 months ago

Hi all,

Thanks for sharing your feedback. I'm Suzanne, the Editor In Chief and a longtime Food52 fan (in addition to being an only-okay cook, a dreadful baker, a really good eater, and a proud cat lady...but I'm getting off-topic.)

One of the things I'm most interested in here is making Food52 as welcoming a place as possible for anyone who’s interested in cooking. That means storytelling that comes from a wide variety of perspectives, along with budget-friendly posts, some ideas that are accessible to less-experienced cooks, and community-centric initiatives (such as bringing back our much-missed recipe contests six times a year). Recipes remain a huge part of what we do, and publishing delicious, original recipes continues to be a focus.

That said, we are working on our overall content mix and in particular, on bringing long-form/reported pieces on food culture, history and politics to the site in a more consistent way. It's something I think we can do a better job on, so please know that it's a priority. For now, I thought I'd share a few of our more recent pieces on these topics—hope you enjoy reading them.

https://food52.com/blog...
https://food52.com/blog...
https://food52.com/blog...
https://food52.com/blog...
https://food52.com/blog...
https://food52.com/blog...
https://food52.com/blog...

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Voted the Best Answer!

E
E
added 4 months ago

I know the lines your writing, because I am a start-up founder as well, albeit not in food technology. I WAS COO at a food start up though, and know about the food community (esp in NYC) intimately. I really do appreciate your message. Some start-up queries - it seems like you are in the middle of a pivot then, message/concept wise because Food52 went from being admittedly a bit niche and now you all are looking to broaden into literally "anyone who has an interest in cooking." While I understand that, it makes Food52 a bit indistinguishable in food media. I obviously don't have access to your metrics, and maybe your site figures are sky rocketing! In that case, you all are clearly doing the right thing and those who got used to a different type of Food52 can choose to stay or leave. But if you're in the midst of a pivot, it seems like you want to bolster user engagement and retain users while also getting more unique hits/users. I know that I religiously visit Serious Eats even after they did a whole bunch of changes in the last decade because the feel of it wasn't lost. I didn't miss the forum part of Serious Eats, and although I miss the NY centric page, I've moved past it. With Food52's growing pains, I just am confused as to what your message is anymore. Are you trying to be like the more design friendly AllRecipes.com? Because the brutal truth is... y'all remind me of a nicer looking AllRecipes.com now, and I never used AllRecipes.com because I'm not its target audience of what I assume are beginners to intermediate cooks who don't want or have access too a large swath of ingredients.

As for the posts you listed, they all seem awesome ... but I personally didn't really notice them highlighted on your homepage in that area where the top 5 articles are located / the color scheme of all the photos bleeds into each other so its hard to distinguish what each image is even depicting to then click the link to read. Like everything is an overhead shot of some indistinguishable food that you only know what it is if you click the link, and the images just aren't bright anymore to entice one to actually want to click the link (this is just from a design perspective).

Again, if your metrics are saying that Food52 is on the rise data wise, it is what it is! Awesome for you all :) But from experience, one doesn't pivot the way Food52 has in recent months if there wasn't an underlying issue y'all are trying to resolve (or are possibly trying to make yourselves attractive for a sale - tough articles that cause users to be passionate in the comments probably doesn't make for a good look for a potential buyer).

cv
cv
added 4 months ago

One lamentable development here at Food52 is the disappearance of most of the international Hotline commenters, people who live outside of the USA or those who have spent significant time abroad. Their valuable and usually insightful non-American voices are now silent.

In recent months I find myself more often consulting my own bookshelf and I've added a few more books (all used, nothing less than twenty years old).

Sure, there are newer topics like sous vide carnitas that I can't find a Diana Kennedy cookbook so the Internet is still a valuable tool when judiciously used.

Serious Eats, Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Science are solid. Those two also provide heavily researched, documented and tested recipes, something that is lacking at many other food sites.

I sorely miss Lucky Peach. That site more than any other exposed me to a constellation of places I haven't visited, things I haven't eaten. I'm glad I clipped a few of their articles and recipes before they pulled the plug.

Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 4 months ago

I gotta say, E., I wish everything I did at work had the level of premeditation you're suggesting! The truth is, we're just a bunch of editors and writers trying to put out the very best stories we can. Some days are more successful than others, no doubt. My comment about making this a welcoming spot for anyone who's interested in cooking doesn't strike me as a deviation from the core brand mission—it's something F52 has always cared about. I'm just trying to shine a light on it in some new and hopefully fresh ways. (If my POV on this is inspired by anything, it's by my mom, who told me when I took the job that she wasn't sure she was a good-enough cook for Food52...to which I say, everyone's welcome here.) For now, I would like to note that we'd love to have more food culture/history pieces on the site...we're working on it. It seems that this thread is making a fair number of assumptions about what we're doing and why, but if you have any questions for me on the topic, I'd be more than happy to answer them.

E
E
added 4 months ago

First off, please don't think I'm attacking you or Food52, as that is not what I'm doing here. I, too, am a huge fan of the site or else I would not have made this post.

So businesses are supposed to have a degree of premeditation for them to work out, as to predict potential pitfalls and issues that come ones way. Premeditation has a negative connotation when it shouldn't - if one is going to be upper magagement of a company, there must be premeditation as to why X is being done and what A, B, C outcomes we are looking for from X. And with A, B, C potential outcomes, there would then be plans in place for how to deal with problems. I mean, I don't know. If F52 decided to make changes and DIDN'T take take to premeditate on potential outcomes including negative ones, than that is a business issue y'all need to look into - friendly advice.

Without sugarcoating - F52 used to be a site for smart, engaged cooks of all levels. People who wanted to learn where to start or wanted to refine some skills or learn a new culture's cuisine. F52 is still a site for cooks of all levels - but it feels distinctly... dumbed down. SE, for example, still expects its users to be critical thinkers even after all the changes they've gone through. F52 now COMES OFF AS but possibly isn't intending to come off as - our users just want pretty pics and pretty food and pretty shop items and unoffensive content. Again - growing pains, I get it. And had the growing pains just been said straightforwardly, I wouldn't have made this post. I get start-up growing pains completely, so as a fellow business owner, I understand the business and back-end side of how trying to do something that will ultimately be good for the consumer will still create a time period of discomfort.

Finally.. if this thread is making assumptions about F52's practices, please understand its because no one who uses this website knows what's going on. Of course, much of that must be private - you can't just share everything just because your customer is pissed - but when your customer has no idea what you're doing or why and you're just...DOING them, the customer will make assumptions to fill in the gaps. That's the inferencing skill we all learned in grade school.

As for an actual question - so what happened to the fabulous writers who were writing for F52 Summer 2017 and earlier, like Mayukh who I referenced in the initial post? He was nominated for a James Beard award for one of the articles he wrote for F52 and it wasn't even highlighted on your site. He was such a boost to your site, especially in history/politics of food long forms.

Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 4 months ago

I agree that Mayukh is an extremely talented writer whose contributions to Food52 were much appreciated. We're all rooting for him to win the James Beard Award for his piece on Princess Pamela (https://food52.com/blog...). He is still doing excellent work over at Munchies.

All this additional feedback is appreciated, and I hope you'll stay tuned to see some of the longer food culture/history/politics stories we're working on. In terms of other writers, we regularly work with a variety of freelancers who cover these topics and will continue to do so.

SKK
SKK
added 4 months ago

Suzanne, these are the points you may want to respond to taking into account that all the feedback is meant in the best possible way.
From E: But if you're in the midst of a pivot, it seems like you want to bolster user engagement and retain users while also getting more unique hits/users.
From Antonia James: Sadly, due to the sketchy quality of the content, the company's failure to prioritize the development of a comment system for user evaluation of products, and the company's difficulty in communicating with the "community", they have lost the trust of so many. May I respectfully suggest that the business team carefully read "The Membership Economy," by Robbie Baxter. ;o)
Ask Merrill and Amanda what the first couple of years at Food52 was like - the generosity of the community in supporting the site and each other as cooks - the excitement as each area of the country had gatherings of Food52 cooks - launching of the cookbooks - the learning. That is why this line of questioning always has so many reads. If there was a listening and respect for these comments, and they were taken into account in the strategies the company is coming up with, this site could be unlike any other.

Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added 4 months ago

Hi all -- I'm at the airport on my way to New Orleans with my family for our kids' spring break (Merrill is also on spring break with her kids, as is Lindsey-Jean). Since we're about to board, there's not enough time to answer thoughtfully right now, but I will if I can get in-flight wifi, otherwise later tonight or tomorrow AM. - A

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 4 months ago

Thank you, Amanda! Safe journey, and enjoy New Orleans . . . . oh my, I can taste the muffaletta just thinking about it. Lucky you. ;o)

cv
cv
added 4 months ago

@E:

I think part of the answer can be found in today's lead article at the top of the homepage:

https://food52.com/blog...

Food52 is making a major move to develop a house label. They have dabbled before with co-branding like the "Bloomingdale's x Food52 Collection" and other such projects.

This appears to be a major part of the current direction of this business.

My prediction in the upcoming months is that more of the editorial content will refer to Food52-branded merchandise: "Want to cook osso buco? Use our pan! Serve it on our platter!"

Likewise, on the product page, there will be links to recipes: "Buy this pan and make these fabulous scrumptious dishes!"

I foresee a general overlap with future cookbooks as well. More of the food photography here will actually focus on the merchandise depicted.

Food52 has already been doing spoinsored content for years, this is one way to redirect some of the attention back to themselves.

In a way, it's like Apple issuing iTunes or Apple Store gift cards for a major purchase instead of providing cash discounts. The attention and revenue is redirected back to the first party.

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E
E
added 4 months ago

Interesting! That story didn't pop up for me at all on the Food52 homepage so I wouldn't have seen it if you didn't share it - Thank you!

Honestly, there is obviously NO problem with what the team at Food52 is choosing to do with their site, given that ultimately they want a bottom line that looks good to them, But the difference between them and say Serious Eats is that Serious Eats was completely transparent about the changes they were making and why. Closing down the forum? Because there was insignificant traffic and it was taking time to moderate a lot of weird fights that would blow up there. Closing down/consolidating SENY or Hamburger or Pizza? Because it was a lot of work but not enough revenue. Etc. The upper management there openly said that they wanted to keep Serious Eats alive, and as such needed to make changes that would allow for them to make money. Cool! I get that!

Food52 is acting like its users are rich AND dumb. You want us to buy your home label stuff? Cool! If its awesome quality, I would have loved to! But this lack of transparency and giving "reasons" that are definitely make me feel like I'm being talked to like I'm an idiot are not making me keen on staying.

Glossier, for example, came from the Into the Gloss' blog and is a stellar independent makeup and skincare brand now. I get some vibes that Food52 wants to be like that - make their own stuff that is high quality at lower cost without the middleman. But Into the Gloss has ALWAYS wanted customer and blog reader impact, and they definitely make it clear that without their users and customers, they would be kaput. I keep supporting Glossier/Into the Gloss even though I am meh on their products because I'm now pretty loyal to them, and have no qualms buying a random lip balm or highlighter or whatever from them since they truly listen to their demographic and do their best to be transparent about changes they are making.

Again, ultimately Food52 was always a business first so I totally understand wanting to monetize their name and create their own in-house merch. Awesome! But they could've very easily resolved all the complaints they've been getting but saying "Hey! We've found through our data that you all really want an in-house line of merch, and to do that, we need to pivot resources from lower used parts of the site to this new venture. Please bare with us while we figure out our growing pains!" People still would've left, but this information allows for users to then make their own educated decision instead of leaving due to a site turning meh.

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

E - a beautiful and unfortunately accurate description of food52 behavior and oblique communications to its users for about the past year.

Exbruxelles
added 4 months ago

It seems pretty clear that this is the strategy. I don't want an iron pedestal, whatever that is. I have enough oven mitts. I don't care if a casserole has a piglet for a handle, nor do I need the casserole.

I understand why this is happening--someone has to pay the bills-- but since the focus of the site seems to have shifted from semi-serious/serious cooking to to trying sell me stuff I'm never going to buy, this won't be my go-to food site any longer.

Things change. Life goes on.

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 4 months ago

Exbruxelles, your point is well taken. And thank you, to everyone else who has contributed so many thoughtful insights to this thread.
Amanda said in an interview recently that (paraphrased) "If people trust you, they will buy anything want to sell them." Sadly, due to the sketchy quality of the content, the company's failure to prioritize the development of a comment system for user evaluation of products, and the company's difficulty in communicating with the "community", they have lost the trust of so many. May I respectfully suggest that the business team carefully read "The Membership Economy," by Robbie Baxter. ;o)

Smaug
added 4 months ago

I wouldn't despair yet- after all, these guys had enough on the ball to survive financially as a food blog, I doubt if they're goofy enough to abandon their core market- people who visit their website regularly. There's no dearth of competition in the high end housewares market, and venturing into the fray cold and trying to work to the top of a page on Amazon can't be an appealing prospect; I suspect that readers' concerns will in fact be a major consideration, but you have to let them know what you want.

LaMar
added 4 months ago

Sorta been feeling the same way, I am not a super serious user (more a lurker who checks the site maybe a half-dozen times monthly) and I do think you do a good job. But the whole tone of the reply, "gosh, we're all just a big ol buncha editors/writers trying to give you good stories, nothing 'premeditated' here, don't I wish, planning's not my thing" kind of made me cringe. At least I just got a great new recommendation from this thread. I'm heading on over to check out Serious Eats! Whoever E. is, you're getting some great and valuable insight from his/her thoughtful, and I suspect, spot-on remarks. Even if E. is off-base...the fact that probably many others think s/he is not is as much of a problem for the F52 brand. If I were you I'd be reaching out offline and tap, tap, tapping E. and the handful of others who obviously care about and have smart advice to share, because they're offering it right now and FOR FREE.

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E
E
added 4 months ago

Awww :) Thank you so much for the kind words! And I hope you are loving Serious Eats! My favorite food site, but it's definitely very different from F52 (in my opinion).

cv
cv
added 4 months ago

Well, here we are again, at the end of another semi-annual gripefest about Food52's editorial direction (or lack thereof) where we read the same platitudes from Food52 staffers about their new focus in improving the site's content, engaging the readership, et cetera.

That's what I expected, that's what has happened in recent years. Personally, I'd prefer if Food52 management silence the corpspeak and let their actions do the talk. If you want to talk the talk, just walk the walk. We know you are eager to see your words on the screen, but that seemingly hasn't mattered in the past couple of years judging by these ongoing discussions.

What do today's readers of this discussion expect to see in six months time? Real changes? Another discussion such as this one?

Even this thread is an indication of where things have gone. There are really only 3-4 active reader commenters here plus Suzanne despite the fact that this is the most "popular question" right now with nearly 1000 views.

Perhaps people who have previously chimed in no longer think getting involved in the discussion is worth the effort.

That's something for Suzanne, Joanna, and the ruling Food52 triumvirate (Amanda, Merrill, Kristen) to consider at the next business meeting although I'm sure it has been discussed before...

Anyhow, have a wonderful evening.

:o)

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SKK
SKK
added 4 months ago

I have read all the remarks and find them accurate and on point. Then I see the comments from the editor, which do not begin to address the concerns of the community - and I comment once again not expecting any serious action to be taken. In 6 months I hope for and do not expect real change because there is no one listening to the comments and the focus is merchandise.

There is so much that the community could contribute to keep Food 52 alive - E laid out an amazing strategy, Antonia James pointed out concrete actions that the company can take to rebuild the lost trust and so far it is lost. I find it remarkable that people keep coming back to support the spirit of Food52 not being lost, even while not being listened to.

ChezHenry
added 4 months ago

Food52 is first and foremost a business, one that has raised capital, with numerous employee stakeholders, participants, writers and members. All of the constituencies need to be taken into account with the direction, content, approach and vision. My mother, when discussing another couple, would always say “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.”
As a 30 year CEO and entrepreneur, no one knows what goes on behind the scenes of any business. I still appreciate the content and approach, and wish Food52 the best going forward in their evolution and growth-just as we aren’t the same people as we were as teenagers, no business continues with any longevity that doesn’t mature into an adult.

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cv
cv
added 4 months ago

Heck, based on divorce proceedings and other dirty laundry, I think a lot of couples don't even know what's going in within their own closed doors!

As for the analogy about teens developing into adults, I will point out that some lovely kids ended up being rotten adults. Reaching the age of maturity does not guarantee superiority.

'Twas a nice social commentary albeit one that has little impact on the typical reader here.

Smaug
added 4 months ago

There is apparently a lot of willingness to assume that human affairs, human lives, human institutions and the human race itself are engaged in some sort of coherent progress toward a tangible end; I doubt there are more than a handful of examples where that is true.

ChezHenry
added 4 months ago

Always tough to answer any question on any site that’s not specific to some technical question without getting flamed, albeit here, framed in some nicer language “little impact on the typical reader” and “willingness to assume.” It’s a freaking website and business. If you don’t like it’s direction move on to another without attacking the staff, or in this case an observer.

cv
cv
added 4 months ago

One thing to note about this discussion topic is that ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

Every six months we read platitudes from Food52 staffers about how important the community is, how this or that is important, how they want to improve the content.

What actually *happens* is more important and far more telling. Words are now meaningless concerning this situation.

I would like Food52 staffers to think about what I just wrote before responding.

No one can please everyone all the time, whether it's Food52, your mom, an elected official, your favorite sports team, whoever. We get that.

There's nothing wrong with earning an honest buck.

"Eat like us! Buy our cookbook! Use our pans and platters! Live like us! Buy our napkins!" That's all fine. Retailers should be proud about what they sell; it's perfectly normal, even preferred.

I realize there's a certain amount of inscrutability in running a business. It's not always to your benefit to show your hand, especially from a competitive perspective.

Heck, even publicly traded companies don't divulge their entire strategy to shareholders.

Some folks like to subscribe to the philosophy: "under promise, over deliver." This works quite well, as people are often delighted with getting some more than they expected.

An example of when someone over promised and under delivered? Try the Fyre Festival.

Sometimes, the best action is to apologize. "Sorry we let you down" can be an incredibly powerful thing to say because a lot of people don't have the guts to utter those words. But it's not just the apology, actions must follow.

Now if you're happy with what you said and satisfied with what you did, there's no apology necessary. "We made an effort, we are proud of the result."

Whatever words are next uttered by Food52 staffer(s) really won't matter to some of us.

What happens in the next six months will be the real answer.

With that, I will bow out of this discussion.

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Simplyaok
added 4 months ago

Egullet.org

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E
E
added 4 months ago

If this thread is showing anything, its that there are a lot of passionate users who are articulating really excellent points that tend to have to be paid for by most companies but are being offered up willingly by past and current users of F52 for free. Ultimately, as I've said a few times now, if this is the direction F52 is going - of course, they're choice, and every choice is calculated in that you win some, you lose some. F52's management/editors/people in charge in general should reconsider their ... way of communicating with users and customers though. It comes off as faux nice with a back taste of corp speak + "we think you all, the users we need for our business to survive, are dumb." I might still be dumb with my three Ivy league degrees (hoo boy I love my alma maters, but full of ... interesting... faux smart people!) but having flipped two start-ups for considerable profits and in the middle of a third start-up, I do think I know something about running companies and how important retaining trust and loyalty in your demo base. The second I feel talked down to and like I'm dumb... the second I feel like I'm just a vehicle for a company to get money from me is the second I'm out, and it seems like a LOT of your users/customers are not so inclined right now to shell out $$$ going forward without seeing changes instead of hearing of things you say you are hoping to do.

I know I personally won't be writing another thread like this come 3-6 months if I don't see anything on this site that appeals to my by then, because I know that I tried to speak up about my concerns about a company that means a lot to me. Ultimately, F52 is a business and businesses must change and adapt with the times, so I wish y'all success and I personally hope things are different in a few months. If not, hey! That's the business of business for you. If any of you at F52 actually do want to hit me up

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E
E
added 4 months ago

Whoops! Incomplete reply - If any of you at F52 actually do want to hit me up, as I've been a lurking user from the very start and then sort of active starting in 2013 when I decided to create an account, I feel like I've seen this company change and grow so hey maybe I can offer some insight from a professional capacity.

sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

It's fun to speculate Food52 initial business plan. My guess that this was done since its inception, starting with the "community" recipes which lead into the cookbooks by the community for sale. The contests were a way to develop their universe or their registered users. Prizes, recipes done by the community - brilliant! In the beginning, they slowly started integrating an item of the month (can't really remember the frequency) and I used to buy them to support the site. What pisses me off the most is the lack of transparency and favorites such as contributors, viewing recipes by the community, the frequency of contests AND prizes and lack of functionality of the site. I've been here forever and look to others to find hacks they know to find out where to find this and that. Even the Piglet was a hot mess this year. No brackets? Those fucking animations? I'm not 10 years old and the content is so empty. Now when I see the word "community" written by them I cringe with anger, lol. I feel like I had been bamboozled. It's so insulting to be asked for feedback about future products - something for nothing and not even free shipping for the items the community will buy, lol.

Again - Brilliant business plan for a start-up in a crowded marketplace of food loving people.

Rant over...for now : )

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

Was anyone blown away by Food52's Salads cookbook? I checked it out of the library and couldn't believe that user Emily C recipes were 90% of the book. Holy shit. Man, I wonder what bone they threw her...No shame, lol.

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

Funny, Chops, I was thinking along similar lines today as I went about my Passover prep. Thinking a lot about the disconnect in some of the comments: shrugs (literal and metaphorical), repeated assertions that, after all, "it's a business." Why would people need to assert or remember that, unless they thought it was something else.
Like a community.
Then, I finally got it.
Facebook are us.
[There is no free lunch.]
The site built its brand, and its bunch of users, frequent visitors, base of recipes with the hotline, contests, community picks, et al.
Then, once critical mass had been reached (or was in sight), there were reductions in all those building blocks and shifts to products that build more revenue (e.g., alliances with stores, cookware manufacturers, sources of artisanal food and drink, book publishers, etc.)
Hence, the expressions of involvement and community by many users, and their (our) confusion as the features that most support that are given ever shorter shrift.
Then I saw your post in this thread.
And agreed.

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

In light of Amanda's response (approx Apr 2), especially two of her points (that selling things has been part of the site from its start in 2009; that some or many people frequent only parts of the site and don't see or need other parts).
Speculation (by me, by others) that increase in emphasis on the shop has led to decrease in emphasis on the community aspects is just that (speculation).
And I was likely guilty of a statistical or reasoning error (correlation or coincidence is not equal to causality).
Hoping for and looking for interesting editorial features & good recipes, better and clearer interaction with community members.

BerryBaby
BerryBaby

BerryBaby is trusted source on General Cooking

added 4 months ago

I’ve been following all the responses and agree with many of them. Food52 is a great site. And, it has changed but I understand change doesn’t always work for everyone. If businesses stay stagnant, they won’t grow. This is a business as well as a forum site. With that in mind,
I read what interests me and ignore those things that don’t.
I am sure I am a lot older than most who contribute with comments and articles. So, of course, an article on washing dishes isn’t something I need to read but I can offer my experience which could possibly help the younger community. With such a wide range of community it’s difficult to reach everyone, every time. I enjoy when cv, smaug, Nancy and AntoniaJames offer their expertise. We all have something to contribute to help each other out, and I thank all of you.
BB

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Girlfromipanema
added 4 months ago

To me it really comes down to lack of transparency. Someone else brought up Serious Eats- they made a major shift in their content after they were acquired, but at every point were up front about why they made the changes. If it's too much overhead to have a weekly competition, or if there is no financial benefit to Food52, I would prefer they would just say so.

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TheFritschKitchen
added 4 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly. It's like the recent, very controversial, Piglet judging. The judge didn't even really judge, it was all a build up just for her to be able to hawk her book. Which, of course, was linked to Amazon with an affiliated link.
Or how this year, there's basically click bait to get to a Piglet judging on the home page. Instead of just linking right to the actual judgement there is an in between page that was absolutely zero worth, but it's another click. And it's all about the clicks.

amysarah
amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

I've seen a couple of mentions of 'controversy' regarding the current Piglet judging - could someone pls point me to what this refers to? I don't have time to read through it all at the moment, but my curiosity is piqued. Thanks!

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TheFritschKitchen
added 4 months ago

It's this review here: https://food52.com/the...

amysarah
amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 4 months ago

Thanks for the link, TheFritschKitchen!

Summer of Eggplant
added 4 months ago

To me it seems to be lacking in the sense of community that was so attractive in the earlier days. I made some actual IRL friends on this website. Also it felt like you could have a direct dialogue with Amanda and Merrill. Which was just so cool, in a world filled with the big bad internet, here was this website with what was essentially clique of new friends talking about what they loved. I can only assume to grow perhaps the site had become more faceless at least that's how it feels. I don't know. And someone just left some mean comments to the comments on a question I asked 7 years ago on the hotline, so the trolls have arrived here, which really made me sad. But I still use this site more than most, I love seeing everyone's creativity, but I do venture over Chef Steps more and more. I always enjoy the Piglet (controversy aside and there seems to be one ever year, remember David Chang's verdict or Gwyneth Paltrow's ridiculously short review?) and I'm glad the contests are back. So, I guess what I am missing lately is that intimate food community not sure if it can be regained or not and be financially viable. My nickel's worth.

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E
E
added 4 months ago

To be honest, the community aspect of F52 is really rare even in this current form which is definitely lacking from years prior. As consumers, we all love this community because we get to learn directly from engaged people who are passionate about the same thing - food. And there is a high level of civility here compared to most other forums or communities on the interwebs.

But then you look into how many of those same... ~50-100 people use the message boards consistently or comment, versus the hundreds of thousands of clicks and unique users who end up on this site every month, who buy things or click those ad posts or give F52 what they need to make more money but "take" less. Ex. The ideal user of any website like F52 (or like a serious eats) is someone who clicks the page to give a view, clicks the ads on the pages/clicks the sponsored post, and purchases items being sold directly by said site. Websites don't monetize forums or hotlines, so for users to linger in the hotline doesn't necessarily make money - it does aid in ascertaining levels of engagement though. A vibrant active community of lovers of the site can be a selling point to advertisers and to the site should the site try to sell stuff.

So to ME, the lacking in the sense of community that was so attractive earlier may not be calculated (as it seems F52 editors claim to not ... think things out??? Still baffles my mind that the EiC would really say she doesn't plan out for different outcomes or try to do what we call in basic statistics - future's planning) but it definitely goes in line with their plan of growth. Why spend time on the community anymore, when the community has done its job of being vibrant and happy and giving... brought in more and more users who also like the community aspect but may not use it...they in turn brought in more and more users who like smart cooking, and etc down the line. The foundation was set and whether or not those in charge of F52 want to admit it, they are ACTING like they are done with the usefulness of the F52 community, and if all of us left, not much would change on their bottom line because the users the community helped bring in (like the people who love GOOP or my fellow young professionals who love to cook and shop but don't care for message boards) would still be around! Yknow, just shut down the hotline then is sometimes what I think. Why bother pretending to have a community you don't want to foster anymore? Again, this is how management at F52 comes off.

And if I'm wrong... well still waiting for Amanda, Merrill, etc to say something. Proof is in the pudding, as they say.

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 4 months ago

E, it's spring break, meaning vacations in warm places with kids for many people, and if they're lucky, a bit of time off the grid . . . and from past experience, the founders and other C-types do like to confer with one another in crafting statements to the community about Food52, the company - which may also involve weighing in with external advisors, etc. This may explain the delay (again, seeking to understand before being understood). That said, all of your points are well taken! ;o)

E
E
added 4 months ago

@AntoniaJames - I'm more commenting on the fact that Amanda said she would respond and gave a concrete time, and then didn't do it. She should have probably not said she'd respond...and just responded when she had time. But I hear you, re: being on vacation and being busy! It's more... don't write "Since we're about to board, there's not enough time to answer thoughtfully right now, but I will if I can get in-flight wifi, **otherwise later tonight or tomorrow AM**. - A" and not follow through. It's yet another example of someone at F52 saying they'll do something and not doing it.

The ** was my own emphasis.

AntoniaJames
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 4 months ago

I agree, E. ;o)

Summer of Eggplant
added 3 months ago

If you all are responding to my comments about trolls, it was not directed at any criticisms, constructive of food related it was related to some of the very mean comments on this thread. Which are not community oriented and downright mean. https://food52.com/hotline...

Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added 4 months ago

Hi there, I’m back. As always, we love hearing from you, and we want to respond to concerns shared in the spirit -- and the interest -- of the community we started.

I’m going to use bullets in order to be concise:

- We’re always evolving and innovating – it’s part of our DNA. We started Food52 because we wanted to create a place where you could find community, great reads, inspiration, trustworthy recipes, and fantastic products – a place that felt like home.

- Quick fact check for those of you who’ve commented about products/commerce being a new direction: we’ve actually had a Shop since December 2009. Back then, our friend Martine Trelaun would feature products that we loved in daily blog posts.

- We started selling products directly because we want to be a comprehensive resource for our community -- and because we like nice things for our homes, too! Some of you have expressed a lack of interest in the Shop, both in this thread and elsewhere. We understand it’s not for everyone, just as there are plenty of community members who come for recipes and/or products and never visit the Hotline.

- Our community-driven approach to creating our own product line is the happy culmination of years of planning and forging relationships with great makers, manufacturers, and craftspeople. We’ve always wanted the Shop to have more community involvement, and now we’ve found the way.

- E. asked if we are pivoting. What we are doing is going deeper on everything we’ve already been doing. Our goal has always been to be the best kitchen and home company on the planet, period. Building a business isn’t a linear process. Whenever there is change (large or small), some Food52ers get restless and/or angry. We accept this, but at the same time we ask that you be respectful and exercise charitable assumptions.

- SKK mentioned community gatherings. We’d love more community gatherings. While we do have one coming up next month – a potluck at our office for our Facebook Cookbook Club and Baking Club -- we’d love your thoughts on how we might better organize regular gatherings around the country. We did some of this in the early years, but it was ad hoc and we never figured out how best to make it a regular part of what we do. One thought is to have regional organizers, but then we need someone to head this up. Volunteers, anyone?

- As a business with a lot going on, we cannot respond to every feature request. We listen carefully, document everything we hear about, and then prioritize our work against a matrix of goals -- all designed to make the experience better for the largest swath of our community members.

- Suzanne has done extraordinary work to help our content broaden, deepen, and mature. She’s brought back recipe contests, helped develop more videos, relaunched our podcast, conceived of and developed new cookbooks, expanded the use of our Menu Maker, and is adding dozens of new editorial features. Some of these projects are already up and running, while you'll see the results of many others in the weeks and months to come.

A few final thoughts:

No one can build a great community alone. We need your help to make Food52 even better for the years to come.

Some of you have chimed in here from a place of generosity and collaboration; others have been less generous. It seems like a good time to reiterate that we don’t tolerate or engage with troll-like behavior on Food52. We’re a community for people who want to eat thoughtfully and live joyfully. If this sounds like you, we welcome you with open arms. If this isn’t your bag, no problem. There’s a whole wide internet out there!

- Amanda

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E
E
added 4 months ago

Thanks for the response. It was definitely interesting. That's all I can say about that. The last point I will be making here is not a single person on this thread exhibited troll-like behavior whatsoever. In fact, it's the first time in month it seems like the community has come together in an effort to understand what is going on and to offer suggestions. Every single response, and I read through each and everyone multiple times as I started this post, has been informative and engaging. I think it's highly offensive to call a critique "troll-like" just because the comment is being critical. No one makes it far without constructive criticism - that is not troll behavior. I think everyone who's commented has been completely awesome and well thought out. I can see that anyone disagreeing with F52 is now considered a troll though. So thanks.

I know a lot of people in the VC world (esp having worked at the country's best VC where one task was to vet founders and cofounders, and being personal friends with a bunch of the Midas list of best Venture Capitalists) so all I know is this behavior being exhibited by the management of F52 is why women co-founders get an an insanely unfair rap and their genuinely amazing start-ups don't get funded. I'm going to ask the the people in tech and VC for their opinion on this, seems so odd to me.

emercer
added 3 months ago

it's like you didn't read any of the posts. And not one person here "trolled" you.

Rachelwrites
added 3 months ago

We're in the midst of moving but once we get settled I'd love to be a volunteer organizer. I ran a cookbook club out of the library for a year and it was fun!

Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added 3 months ago

Thank you, Rachelwrites -- good luck with your move and we'll be in touch soon to discuss!

spiffypaws
added 4 months ago

the recent post about knitting really shocked me. knitting, on a food site, really?! i'm a pastry chef, been in the business for 20 + years, and have been a knitter since I was 8 years old. Food 52 wasted space on the joys of knitting by a dude who knit a garter stitch scarf, the first thing I knit when I was 8 years old. What does that have to do with food?!

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Smaug
added 3 months ago

Tea cozies don't grow on trees. This site does have a history of articles on pretty peripheral subjects, such as home improvements and gardening, which were felt to have interest for their readers; while I've often found those articles to be rather seriously lacking in expertise, I do think that these things have a reasonable connection to the kitchen and could be an asset to the site.

E
E
added 3 months ago

My final final post before I turn into an occasional lurker (anyone who wants to contact me, feel free to direct message me from my profile!) - F52 or someone(s) related or unrelated to F52 almost DEFINITELY has been deploying decoy users for the last few days to try to bury this post! There have been a lot of posts by users who only made their accounts in the last 1-4 days if you open to their profile links. I mean, c'mon. That's the oldest troll tactic in the internet book.

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Kim
Kim
added 3 months ago

I stopped reading Food 52 after last year's Piglet final round - Lena Dunham was part of it in name only, and it was a total joke. I had felt the content was getting away from what I originally loved anyway, but that review pushed me away completely. I'd occasionally dip my toes back in and check to see if anything great was going on, and I hadn't been impressed. I've been following this year's Piglet again, only to be disappointed - again. It's not just you. The overall culture seems to have changed. And I'm part of that target demographic too (I think).

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

I have been following this thread and thinking about it for some time.
Before Food52, I read all of Amanda Hesser’s articles in the New York Times (used to read every work of the Wednesday food section) and was wild with excitement to find that she was going to have a web presence.
I signed up for the beta version in 2009 and was thrilled when my friend Purnima’s Tomato and Eggplany Curry was selected as a finalist in the Eggplant Contest. I had never published a recipe before and hadn’t thought much about creating recipes or writing headnotes.
Every day before or after work I read every article and recipe. I tried so many new things that I wouldn’t have had confidence to try from cookbooks.
Other highlights: testing recipes and writing cookbook reviews(need more work on writing reviews).
Joined in the Hotline(remember when it was “pickle”?
Have found some great products, like the apricots from Frog Hollow Farm and “met” people through the site. Even met Amanda, Merrill, Liz Larkin and Christina Sciarra in person.
In sum, I miss some things that are no longer happening and the site is huge and less cozy.
On the other hand, I just created a menu for a party I am planning with a friend to taste single malt Whiskeys.
New sites I love: NYT Cooks (pay wall for some features), Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, Kitchen, 600 Acres.
Food52 has been a life changer for me. I was more or less alone in my cookbook addiction and now I have company.
Looking forward to seeing the site continue to evolve!
P.s. also love 66 Square Feet.

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Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Nice story & tribute.

Bevi
added 3 months ago

I applaud the return of the contests, although it would be nice to run more than 6 a year. This may seem petty, but I feel it would be a nice gesture to the community to award a prize to the winner of each contest. Maybe a gift certificate to the food52 Shop?

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Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 3 months ago

Thanks, Bevi, for all of this. I do feel like 6 contests per year is the maximum we have bandwidth for right now, and the right number for the amount of reader interest we've seen so far—but if the number of entries grows, I'd be happy to consider doing more. And I'd heard from a few people that our community wasn't interested in prizes, so we went with that (it's a bit more streamlined legally, which meant we could bring back the contests that much sooner). That said, I appreciate knowing your thoughts on this and will discuss with some folks here.

sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Of course prizes - big prizes, especially since its now only 6x year. I think the feedback from a few from the hotline was completely taken out of context by Food52. I think the new set-up is not going to drive recipe submissions to increase at all.

louisez
added 3 months ago

As far as contests go, some will be more popular than others.
That doesn't mean contests per se are not popular.
Though I have entered some, I haven't entered the latest one. It's not because I am contest-averse, but banana-averse. Just don't like bananas.
As for the current state of the site, though I still enjoy it, it isn't what it was. Amanda and Merrill set a tone that's now largely missing. Like many others, I miss the community feeling....

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creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

I agree with louisez; I like an occasional banana, but not enough to create recipes. The timing wasn't ideal personally, (recovering from serious surgery followed by Passover and Seder prep). I wouldn't purchase ingredients that would soon be Passover-banned nor develop and test recipes just before the holiday. I recognize that these were not issues for most users, though. I have really, really enjoyed the whole contest cycle in the past and look forward to doing that again.

Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 3 months ago

Actually, the Best Banana Recipe contest has gotten more entries than Your Best Hands-Off Recipe. We were really happy to see that! That said, totally understand that no one ingredient is right for everyone. Our next recipe contest kicks off on May 15th, so I hope you'll consider submitting.

luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

I agree with others that prizes are a nice part of the contest package. The OXO tongs that I received for being an Eggplant finalist are used all the time in my kitchen. I have autographed copies of the first two Food52 cookbooks, one because I was a finalist and one because I hostesses a party when the book was published. Not expensive but meaningful.

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Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 3 months ago

Thanks, Meg. As I mentioned, it's a bit more complicated legally for us to offer contest prizes, but I appreciate knowing this has value for you and will discuss further with people here.

Bevi
added 3 months ago

The other aspect of the contests I miss is the chance to test recipes. If there are only 6 contests, testing gives even more community members another way to participate.

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Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 3 months ago

Thanks, Bevi—coordinating this testing was something we had to cut back on to make this feasible from a team bandwidth standpoint. We do invite everyone to test the final five recipes and share feedback in those recipes' comments. (We then take that feedback into consideration when narrowing down to the top two.) I know it's not exactly the same, but hope you'll consider participating if one of the final five recipes intrigues you (and we have to say, the submissions are looking pretty great so far!).

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

@Suzanne
"Bandwidth" & "team bandwidth" terms you used today.
Too much inside baseball for me.
First time, I thought you were referring to a tech issue on the website. E.g, how many bits you could allot to a project.
But "team bandwidth" has no meaning for me.
What is it, in regular English?

Suzanne D'Amato
Suzanne D'Amato

Suzanne is the Editor-in-Chief of Food52.

added 3 months ago

Oh, sorry! By bandwidth, I just mean the amount of time/energy our team has to devote to any particular project, given the other things we're also trying to get done.

MMH
MMH
added 3 months ago

I keep looking at this thread. Most of the posts are too long. The staff is too defensive. I guess I've decided I've mourned my loss and moved on. This isn't the site I loved but neither is MSNBC, The Food Network, American MovieClassics, etc. I look at it sometimes. But I guess I'm just going direct my energy at trying to find what makes me happy in some other site. It might be nice if people would list the sites they use other than this one. Some have. Thanks. And good bye.

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Bevi
added 3 months ago

I am not sure I understand why it would be a legal nightmare to offer a gift certificate to the food52 shop site, or an item that you are advertising. You regularly promote Shop items.

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BerryBaby
BerryBaby

BerryBaby is trusted source on General Cooking

added 3 months ago

I agree that a prize recognition would be wonderful. On the other hand, state laws make it a complicated. Coordinated a raffle years ago and the red tape involved was massive.

louisez
added 3 months ago

Best wishes to creamtea for a full recovery, and a belated chag sameach

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creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Thanks very much, louisez, for your good wishes! Hope you had a wonderful Passover!

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Lisanne - same from me. Hope the hag was sameah; wishing you a full recovery :)

creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

thanks, Nancy! Our holiday was beautiful. I hope yours was too!

mrslarkin
added 3 months ago

Hello! I enjoyed reading through all of your comments on this thread, and I agree with all of you.

I’m one of the old-timers here. I remember when food52 was born. Amanda and Merrill had recently finished writing and editing The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Through that process, they found that non-professional home cooks were creating many of the best recipes. As Amanda says in this article from back in the day (https://food52.com/blog...), “we felt that one thing that’s missing online is a place where enthusiastic home cooks can have a voice, a place where their talents and ideas are recognized.” So, that first year was dedicated to creating the very first food52 cookbook. It was so much fun! I made tons of friends. Some I’ve been fortunate to meet IRL and others I greatly admire, communicate regularly, and have not met yet.

I’m pretty sure the old food52 is gone forever. If you are looking for a little bit of that same fun, fellowship, and community we used to have here, check out the food52 cookbook club and baking club on Facebook. Lindsay-Jean is doing a phenomenal job with that. I’ll be attending the club’s first NYC potluck next Saturday. Looking forward to meeting likeminded people there!

I’m thankful Genius Recipes is still a feature on the site. I love Kristen’s writing. Her stories are always fun, playful, and interesting. Kristen, please don’t ever leave us!

Whenever I’m looking for recipes now, I often still do a food52 search, a NY Times Food search (they have a great app), and then go to the Internet for a broader search. ChefSteps has great ideas. They are ending their app, which I’m sad about, and their content is heavily sous vide. I just read that the food52 (Not)Recipes app has been retired. I never used it a lot, but it did have some great, quick recipes ideas. I use Instagram a lot, and follow lots of food-centric people there.

I’ve been listening to podcasts while I work. I really like Gravy (the Southern Foodways Alliance podcast), The Splendid Table, Rise Up! (The Baker Podcast), Violet Sessions, and the Burnt Toast podcast. Please share if you have any favorites.

Fun story: My mom is at rehab recovering from the flu, and one of the nursing home residents there, Leigh, was Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s neighbor in Brooklyn. Leigh shared many fond memories. She tested recipes for Lynne, and had afternoon coffee together frequently. Isn’t that fun?

Wishing you all well, and happy cooking! Liz

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Bevi
added 3 months ago

Hi Liz, I did lots of cooking from the bonappetit.com site while recently staying in NY with my daughter. We were exploring sheet pan dinners, and bon appetit has many good ones. I also enjoy the NYT cooking site. Alison Roman just did a comprehensive piece on Mac and Cheese - I think you would like her 2 versions. I am pretty resigned to and agree with your feeling that the old ship has sailed, so to speak. It's too bad - the way the contests used to be run were very interactive and drew in lots of positive energy. The community felt appreciated and part of the process. All that appears now to have been a means to an end. It does seem that the cookbook clubs are a good way to interact the way we did in the past on this site. I travel a great deal, but will make the effort to get involved that way.

creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Wishing your mother a complete recovery; it was a terrible flu season. Your observations were on point.

I would like to add a podcast I very much enjoy to the contributions here: A Taste of the Past, for those who enjoy the history of food and cooking. The episodes about ancient Roman cooking and breadmaking, and food preparation in Queen Victoria's palace kitchens, are fascinating.

Nancy
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

@creamtea
Lisanne - if you like historical cooking, look for The Delectable Past by Esther Areste (late food historian & cookbook author whose extended family were friends of my parents). Starts from Greece & Rome, lurches forward at irregular intervals. Combined history & cookbook (I've made many of her adapted recipes; they not only work, they taste delicious). Not sure if still in print. May need to borrow from library.

creamtea
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 3 months ago

Nancy, thank you very much for the heads up! This book sounds fascinating. How interesting that your family were friends with this authors extended family!

louisez
added 3 months ago

Quite right to praise Kristen and Lindsay-Jean. Praise where praise is due. May I add to the list of those especially deserving of praise Sarah Jampel, Posie Harwood and Gena Hamshaw.
Best wishes for you mom's recovery.

mainecook61
added 3 months ago

It was interesting to read through all of these comments, as I too have used the site almost from its beginning, and, like many of you, I have wandered off to other sites, primarily the New York Times Cooking site, which I use all of the time. I really enjoy Sam Sifton's little essays that accompany the summary that comes into my inbox twice a week. SmittenKitchen is also a favorite, and the staid Cooks Illustrated site has gotten livelier and much more user-friendly. I gave Chris Kimball's new Milk Street a spin (print) but found I didn't use it much--something about the layout is uninviting. I am also grateful for Eat Your Books, the site that indexes cookbooks. If you have a lot of them, like I do, it will lead you to a recipe that's sitting right on the shelf in your kitchen. I do regret that way that the Hotline has gotten so predictable and dull; I used to enjoy talking about things like what tomatoes to grow (since I'm an old hippie who's lived in Maine a long time, with great big organic gardens and, alas, increasingly arthritic knees!). Tomatoes, tomatoes: let's see, this year I've got Prudens Purple, Jetstar, Celebrity, Defiant, Jasper, Japanese Black, Opalka, Granadero, New Girl, and Juliet started under the Gro-lights, along with Carmen, Czech Black, and El Jefe Peppers, and 3 kinds of eggplants. I pray that the porcupines had a bad winter and don't come for the melons this summer, and I'm growing Chinese long beans for the first time. Growing stuff, and trying to grow new stuff, is what makes me want to cook.

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BerryBaby
BerryBaby

BerryBaby is trusted source on General Cooking

added 3 months ago

Garden tip....I place pin wheels in the garden. The kind we plsyed with as kids. The animsls don’t like the shiny material and the spinning. The Dollar Tree sells them this time of year.

Smaug
added 3 months ago

Don't know if they've done much to discourage animals, but when my father was alive he derived considerable amusement from watching the pinwheels go (he was getting a bit vague in his final years)- I still keep some out there. They generally last a lot better than you might expect.

luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 15 days ago

This is my final word on why I still visit Food52 every day. My daughter made me this pack of cards a few years ago for Mother’s Day. You can see Food52 has a place in my family’s life.

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 15 days ago

And

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 15 days ago

And

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ktr
ktr
added 15 days ago

That is so creative and sweet!

Amanda Hesser
Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added 15 days ago

This makes me so happy to see!! Thank you for sharing!

Smaug
added 15 days ago

What goes on today? Couldn't say- if they're still doing new articles they aren't appearing on the home page I get, which now consists of compilations of old posts and old articles that some computer that's clearly never met me thinks I'd be interested in.

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luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 15 days ago

Last big thing:
spring menu maker
Helped me make a menu for a single malt scotch tasting party

Onion dip (homemade, from food52)
Smoked salmon toasts with lemon dill butter

Roasted tenderloin with mustard and chili flakes (Melissa Clark NYT), seared mushrooms w shallots, red quinoa and roasted beet salad

Passion Fruit Pavlovas va (subbed rhubarb raspberry compote for passion fruit)

All great recipes I had never made before and felt confident 👩‍🍳 ng them for the first time for s party because reliable!!

Smaug
added 14 days ago

?????

luvcookbooks
luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

added 14 days ago

Smaug, there is a menu creator on the site. I thought you asked what was going on and the menu creator, I think, is pretty new and I recently used it and enjoyed the results.

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Smaug
added 14 days ago

Nope, merely commenting on the recent technical dysfunctionality of the site. If no one tells them, they don't know.

Emily
added 8 days ago

Nope, I agree. I would never touch GOOP, and Food52 is turning into it. I'm a bit the opposite from you, though - I come here for recipes and find the political-tinged articles and not-so-subtle liberal bias unfortunate. The only "thought-provoking" content I want is about whether to refrigerate or freeze cookie dough before baking. Some of the new branding - eating "thoughtfully"? - just makes me roll my eyes. Recipes that list "organic lemons" as an ingredient when clearly the ingredient is lemon and whether you shell out for organic without what some people consider evil corporate pesticides is up to you - are equally exhausting. That the site pretends to be so "woke" (I believe the word they're looking for is enlightened) and then sells $80 marble cutting boards . . . there is an element of "check your privilege" here.

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Bevi
added 7 days ago

Quite frankly, I would never visit this site if I could not rely on at least a sampling of relevant food issues here. Food is politics, and becoming more so each day. Some people care if there are food insecure families in this so-called greatest nation on earth, or if our mass consumption of beef and over-reliance on dairy is using up arable land at an alarming rate. For now, science is down the tubes, but there is actually evidence-based research that points to pesticide use causing cancer.

Smaug
added 7 days ago

Wait a minute- marble cutting boards?