Several years ago Amanda and Merrill, two friends, chefs, and the co-founders of a food website called food52.com, decided to put together the first online community cookbook made up of ‘real’ recipes from ‘real’ cooks all over the country. This was a revolutionary approach. Cookbook authors usually publish the hardcover book first and then make it available on the internet. Food52 did a U-turn and collected the recipes online first, and the hardcover cookbook came later.
The recipes come out of private kitchens and are entered in a contest that Food52 holds online every other week. The recipes that are selected from each contest are posted on their website for the community at large to vote upon. The community has five days to try the recipes and vote on them. Home cooks can enter as many contests as they’d like with as many recipes as they want. This is a recipe exchange and crowd sourcing on steroids!
Photo by James Ransom
The recipes are grassroots and eclectic. They come from many regions and have inspired me to try food combinations I would never have considered. There is comfort food at its best (lemony cream cheese pancakes) as well as the unusual (roasted bagna cauda broccoli). At the end of each recipe there is a short blurb about the cook who submitted it as well as some of the community comments made during the voting. Now, in addition to being available online, the books are available in hardcover. The first volume, The Food52 Cookbook, was named one of the best cookbooks of 2011.
The first cookbook has 140 recipes and was published in 2011.
Volume 2 was published in 2012 and has 140 new recipes.