Wednesday, February 24, 2021

SearchResearch Challenge (2/24/21): When did which colors signal gender?


As endless gender recent reveal parties have shown us... 

... these days, in the US at least, the colors of pink and blue have commonly-agreed upon gender meanings.  Pink means female, blue means male.  But as a friend asked recently, why?  

Or, as a way to figure out the why perhaps we can think about it this way: when did pink come to mean female and blue come to mean male?  This leads to today's SearchResearch Challenges:  

1. Can you figure out the history of pink/blue meaning female/male?  Has blue always signified male?  Has pink always signified female? 

2. And, if I remember correctly, young boys used to wear dresses (or some kind of gown) in their early photos.  When did that practice stop?  (Or has it?)   

As usual, we'd really like to learn HOW you found the history of these gender signals.  What was the search process you followed?  Let us know.  

Search on! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Answer: Two difficult to find objects?

 That was fun!  

Last week I posed two Challenges, both of which I thought were fairly tough--but the SRS Regular Readers found it fairly straightforward.  Kudos to you!  (At the end I'll come back to why I found this difficult, and why I think you found them straightforward.)  

Here are the Challenges from last week: 
1.  In my reading I keep seeing references to a compilation of short stories that was put together by the English playwright, novelist, and short story writer Somerset Maugham.  The collection is called Tellers of Tales: One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany. (1939)  It's easy to find references to it, but I'd really like to read it.  Can you find a full-view copy of this book that I can read online (without having to spend a zillion dollars)?  

I'm going to quote Regular Reader Arthur Weiss on this (lightly edited):  

First I tried Google Books and Project Gutenberg - as the anthology should be out of print. Then I just did a Google search:  

["teller of tales" "One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany" Maugham ]

And up came: One Hundred Short Stories... 

Hard copy versions are available to purchase from a few places for around $50 or less at like and other sites.

Maugham's own works are easier to find online - but this was an anthology. You can see his collected stories at

LESSON: The Internet Archive now includes much much more than archived websites.

That's a good lesson there at the end:  The Internet Archive DOES have much more than you might expect.  I promise to queue up a post about the Archive in the near future.  Stay tuned.  


Regular Readers found this pretty straightforward; there are multiple variations on this search that will work.  Interestingly, this also leads to Amazon and eBay (you could buy a used copy there), and to Hathi Trust (but it's not in full-view).  Like you, the only full-view copy I could find is at the Internet Archive. 

2.  Also in my reading, I came across a word that seems to describe some kind of very old fastener.  The word is "latchet," but it does not have anything to do with shoes (e.g., a string used to fasten a shoe) or any kind of fish.  It took me a while to find a good image of what a latchet fastener is--can you find one and tell us what it is?  And for extra credit, where and when were latchets primarily used?  

The Readers also found this fairly easy to discover.  There were two strategies:  

A.  [ latchet fastener ] 
B.  [ latchet -shoe -sandal -fish ] 

They both work perfectly.  The A strategy just includes a description of what a latchet is ("fastener"), while the B strategy removes terms that would lead to false positives (I told you it wasn't a shoe, so -shoe makes a lot of sense).  

And what's a latchet?  When I did this search [ latchet fastener ] , I ended up looking to Google Books and finding a number of books that talk about latchets.  I learned quickly that it was a Celtic fastener that holds two parts of a large cloak or coat together.  That led me to The Archaeology of Celtic Britain and Ireland, where I found this illustration on page 151: 

Interestingly, this book points out that latchets usually had spirals of wire ("which experiments have found to be highly effective"), but that few of the spirals have survived.  

Thus, images of latchets such as the one on the Irish stamp: 

or the one from the British Museum (and found on the Google Cultural site; see also this different latchet at the British Museum web site, which has a great zoom function)...  

are both missing the spiral wires that "latch" the pieces of clothing together.  Still, they're beautiful, and capture the desire of people in pre-history to create lovely things.  

Why was this hard for Dan? 

I was impressed by everyone's skill at finding these "difficult to find" objects.  So... why this tough for me? 

Not excuses, but background!  

When I started searching for the Somerset Maugham book, I also assumed it was out of copyright and would be in free view on Google Books, so I started there, and spent a fair bit of time looking in there trying to find the free view version... which, I discovered, doesn't exist in that collection.  

Next I went directly to Hathi Trust... and found the same thing.  

Eventually, like you, I looked in the site and found it there. I know they have a more liberal interpretation of copyright than the other sites, but I figured everyone else would recap my search... but NO!  You went straight to the Archive and found it.  

Lesson:  Start your search broadly and then narrow; rather than what I did, which was to start narrow and only after a couple of failures, search broadly.  In particular, do NOT assume those important properties that undermine your search (such as "it's out of copyright").  

Second, when I started looking for the latchet I had two problems.  First, I ran across the word while reading a book.. which unfortunately spelled it as "lachet," which is an alternative spelling of the shoe binding.  It took me a while to figure out that that's the not the correct spelling for the thing I was searching for.  Second, I wasn't 100% sure what a latchet (or lachet) even was.  It was mentioned in a text that didn't provide a lot of context--all I knew is that it was Celtic and used to connect a piece of clothing, but not a part of a shoe.  Once I figured out that it was spelled LATCHET, I then got sidetracked by all of the meanings of latchet that are about shoe fasteners.  This was a bit of a false lead because there's plenty of content around historic latchet shoes (e.g., this page about 17th century Scottish shoes!).  

It was only after reading further in the text that I realized that the latchet under discussion significantly pre-dated the 17th century. As I read, I finally learned that the story was about the 6th Century.  Big oops on my part.  

Lesson:  Check your spelling (especially when you're searching for a term that has alternative spellings), and be sure that what you're searching for is... well... exactly what you're searching for!  

What does this mean for my estimate of the difficulty level?  

I think I gave you a bit too much help!  I told you that it was spelled "latchet" and that it didn't have anything to do with shoes.  Big tip.  You were able to take advantage of the little clues, just as you should.  

And I bet you started your book searches broadly (as I always tell you to do), and didn't make my foolish mistake of assuming that I knew more about the book than was true.  

Ah well... Live and learn.  

I hope you learned as much about searching for "difficult to find" objects as I did!  I'm reminded also that what's difficult for me, might not be difficult for you--and vice-versa.  

Congrats to all who successfully found the objects.  Excellent job!  

Search on! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

SearchResearch Challenge (2/10/21): Two difficult to find objects?

Every so often... 

... in my work I'll search for something that takes a while to find.  I save these for you!  Here are two objects that I had to work a bit to find.  In the process, I learned something about searching that I thought you'd enjoy.  Can you find these as well? 

1.  In my reading I keep seeing references to a compilation of short stories that was put together by the English playwright, novelist, and short story writer Somerset Maugham.  The collection is called Tellers of Tales: One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany. (1939)  It's easy to find references to it, but I'd really like to read it.  Can you find a full-view copy of this book that I can read online (without having to spend a zillion dollars)?  

2.  Also in my reading, I came across a word that seems to describe some kind of very old fastener.  The word is "latchet," but it does not have anything to do with shoes (e.g., a string used to fasten a shoe) or any kind of fish.  It took me a while to find a good image of what a latchet fastener is--can you find one and tell us what it is?  And for extra credit, where and when were latchets primarily used?  

I'm curious how hard you find these two Challenges. Both gave me some trouble, maybe because I didn't have much context for either search.  

If you locate these two things, let us know HOW you did it.  (I'll reveal a couple of my missteps next week in the answer.)  

Search on! 


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Answer: A war on pests?

 When too many animals group together, it can be a problem.     

[ Comment: Sorry this was a delayed by a week.  It's been a busy time. ] 

This week's Challenge highlights a couple of wrong-place & too-many times when people went to work to fix the problem, but it completely and utterly failed.  These aren't hard, but are pretty amazing in their details.  Can you figure out what's going on in each of these Challenges? 

1. Too many birds really can be a problem.  In one famous incident, an entire "War" was declared on a particular kind of bird.  Big guns were brought out, the campaign planned, thousands of shots were fired, and it all ended in a dismal failure.  Where was this war?  What kind of birds were being fought? And in the end, what happened?  

This wasn't too hard, but fascinating to learn about.  I'd heard about a kind of "war against big birds that ended badly," and so was naturally curious to learn more.  

    [ war against birds ] 

leads quickly to the Wikipedia and Scientific American articles about the Great Emu War. 

The short version of this: Shortly after World War I, large numbers of discharged veterans were given land by the Australian government to take up farming within Western Australia. Unfortunately, the emus (large flightless birds) were enjoying the farmer's fields as well.  


By late 1932, there were 20,000 of them wreaking havoc on the wheat farms of the beleaguered veterans, and even these trained riflemen could not put a dent in their numbers.  

The veterans asked for help from the Australian military, which was more than happy to send soldiers, machine guns, and ammunition. The "war" was conducted under the command of Major G. P. W. Meredith of the Seventh Heavy Battery of the Royal Australian Artillery. 

Unfortunately, when the soldiers went to shoot the birds, they scattered effectively and evaded much damage.  After the first attempt, the total number of emus killed was roughly 50--after several thousands of rounds fired.  A couple of weeks later they tried again, with not much better results.  Tens of thousands of rounds fired, and only about 1,000 emus killed.  In the end, it took around 10 shots per each emu removed.  The technology solution did not work well.  

However, Meredith's official report noted that his men had suffered no casualties.  

After 1929, exclusion barrier fencing became a popular means of keeping emus out of agricultural areas (in addition to other vermin, such as dingoes and rabbits).  It proved to be cheaper and much more effective than shooting them.  

This war was won by the emus.  

A wonderful contemporary film showing the Army's Lewis guns in action.  

There were, of course, other battles against birds.  As reader anon0750032j pointed out, Mao launched a massive extermination campaign against "The Four Pests,"  ( 除四害). The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. The extermination of sparrows is also known as Smash Sparrows Campaign ( 打麻雀运动) or Eliminate Sparrows Campaign ( 消灭麻雀运动).  This was another kind of disaster--the lack of birds resulted in severe ecological imbalance and became one of the causes of the Great Chinese Famine. In 1960, Mao ended the campaign against sparrows and redirected the fourth focus to bed bugs.  (That sounds like a futile campaign.)  

Luckily, they didn't bring out the heavy artillery, or I'm sure even more damage would have happened. 

2. Too many insects can be a problem as well, especially when then fly around en masse.  Can you find the largest grouping of insects that caused enormous problems with the local agriculture?  Why do those insects group together?  And why do those groupings finally end?  

I did searches very much like Regular Readers: 

     [ large insect swarms ] 

And, like many of you, I found that locusts form the largest aggregation of insects.  With a couple of clicks I found the U. Florida Entomology Department's Book of Insect Records, which tells us that: 

The Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria, forms the largest swarms. In early 1954, a swarm that invaded Kenya covered an area of 200km2. The estimated density was 50 million individuals per km2 giving a total number of 10 billion locusts... 

On the other hand... I also found a New York Times article documenting the 1875 locust swarm that was the largest recorded in North America.  It was estimated to be 1,800 miles long and 110 miles wide (512,817 km2).  That's equal to the combined size of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont!

Of course, it's difficult to compare these estimates without good communications technology (to get a single measure of the swarm size at one point in time), but if the estimates are close to correct, the 1875 swarm in North America was about twice the size of the Kenya swarm.  

In both cases, these swarms were immensely devastating, eating all of the crops--seeds, fruits, and even the fence posts.  

And yet, in North America, a mere 28 years later, this seemingly indestructible enemy vanished. There hasn't been a sizable locust swarm in for over 100 years (see: Wikipedia article on Rocky Mountain Locusts).  In fact, these locusts are now extinct, apparently due to changes in land-use patterns over the past 150 years in central North America which removed their breeding grounds.  

My query about "why do these swarms happen" was: 

     [ locust swarm causes ] 

Leads to a plethora of articles about relatively recent discoveries about locust swarming behavior.  One source (LiveScience) points out that "[locusts] undergo a dramatic transformation when there are many other locusts of the same species nearby. The locusts shift from what scientists call the solitary phase when the locust is alone, to the gregarious phase when they swarm together. 

As it happens, the specific signal that begins the shift from solitary to gregarious varies from species to species.  The desert locust  (Schistocerca gregaria) can shift into the gregarious phase with a touch on the hind legs, while the sensitive area on the Australian plague locust (Chortoicetes terminifera) is its antennae. These triggers seem to boost levels of serotonin, the same chemical associated with mood in humans.  That serotonin boost, in turn, causes locusts to start to move together, ultimately snowballing into ever larger accumulation that become damaging swarms.  

NOTE:  There's a 17-year cicada brood emerging this spring.  It will be tremendous, and look like and sound like a swarm, but they don't typically cause problems. Luckily, aside from making a tremendous din, cicadas typically are harmless and represent a huge windfall food supply for other animals. They don’t eat crops (although they occasionally feed upon tree sap); they just want emerge into the sunshine, find a mate, create the next generation and die (incidentally, delivering a huge amount of food to animals that feast on cicada bodies).  

I was in the Washington DC area during the last cicada brood emergence, and it's true--they can be VERY loud and eerie-sounding.  But they do not bite.  However, they do fly, and love to crawl around... which was surprising when I found a couple crawling up my leg just above my socks!  

A 17-year cicada, coming out in North America later this the millions! 

SearchResearch Lessons 

This wasn't a difficult task, but there's a good tip here.. 

1.  Use the most specific term you can to describe the phenomenon you seek.  In this case, the term swarm was the perfect descriptor.  Take note of speciality terms like this as you do your initial reading, and then use those terms for your second, third, and fourth queries.  

Search on! 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

How to Find... anything. #2: How to find recipes and nutrition information

 How to find Recipes & Nutrition Information 


Haven’t we all searched for recipes?    Whenever we’re trying to get dinner just right, or when exploring a new culinary idea. Sometimes we’ll do comparisons (how do other people make dinner rolls?), or sometimes we are looking for the best source of a recipe we have heard about (what was the original “no-knead” bread recipe?).  Then again, sometimes we are  just on the hunt for dishes that include our new ingredient obsession--this week it’s porcini mushrooms (got a great deal at the Farmer’s Market!), but next week it could be broccolini, kohlrabi, or maybe we’re just looking for new ideas for strawberry desserts. 

Image by Monicore from Pixabay

You can keep that trusty soup-stained cookbook on the shelf, it might have family heirloom recipes that you can’t find online, but this chapter is about how to find (and sometimes filter) recipes beyond the scope of even the largest cookbook you might have on your shelf. You can even please those picky eaters by improving your web search results to show recipes based on ingredients, cooking time, or calorie preferences. 

Practical tip: While we’re going to talk about searching for recipes and nutritional information, if truth be told, when we find a recipe we like, we make a copy of the online recipe (with attribution and any production notes we learn along the way).  Why?  Recipes have an unfortunate tendency to disappear on the web.  Besides, if we really like something, we’ll probably make it again.  Back up your recipes by having local copies, if only so you can re-find it easily. Or import them in a recipe app so you can edit, organize them, share them across devices and have a backup in the cloud.  


What are recipes?  

For the purposes of this chapter, a “recipe” is any written down list of instructions and ingredients that you use to put together a particular dish.  It might be extensive and careful, or it might be minimalist with just a few clues about how to put together a dish.  For our purposes, recipes are easy to find--just use the term “recipe” along with whatever you want to look up specifically.  

Notice that some recipes (such as Mark Bitman’s excellent collection) are more guidelines to entire categories of food, rather than just a simple step-by-step recipe.  Each recipe tells how to make the dish, but also ways to vary it and make many different variations on a theme. They’re on the borderland between a cooking encyclopedia and a recipe box. 

On the other hand, some recipes have tons of information about how to make that particular kind dish--they’re a little like mini-tutorials in the Spend With Pennies or Epicurious web sites. These recipes often have videos to show techniques, or background information on the cultural aspects of the recipes.  Fascinating stuff.   

And sometimes you want to look up a particular technique that’s linked to a food.  What really is “pressed duck” after all?  Can I make it at home?  How about phyllo dough?  In these cases, you also want a recipe, but you REALLY need to know the technique as well.  For such technique-heavy recipes, you want one of these “enhanced” recipes.  


What is nutrition information?  

As you’re cooking, or planning on cooking, there are times when you’d like to know what exactly it is that you’re putting into your dish.  It’s fairly easy to find the nutritional information for your ingredients with a query like this (suppose you’re making a passion fruit mousse): 

[ nutrition passion fruit

The result will have a panel on the right hand side of the search results page--it it look like this: 

Note that this will work for many fruits, vegetables, meat, fish (etc.), not ALL possible foods have detailed nutritional information that can be found on the Google knowledge panel.  As of this writing dragon fruit (a popular fruit native to Mexico and Central America, it goes by many names, including pitaya, pitahaya, and strawberry pear) doesn’t have detailed USDA information, although this will probably change over time.

But the USDA site does have an incredible range of nutrition information about foods that you might not expect.  Check out: for full details.  (For instance, did you know that goat meat has 143 calories / 100 grams?) 

By the way, using the USDA site you can also find that dragon fruit has 260 calories in each 100 grams of fruit, and is high in calcium to boot!  


Recipe Search Methods

Broadly speaking, these methods are all ways to translate what you know about an educational need into search-engine specific strategies.  

1.  Search by dish: This is often the way people think about cooking: “I want to make lasagna” or “I want to make pad thai.”  Unless you’re searching for a dish that’s incredibly obscure, a good search is something like this: 

[ recipe for lasagna

[ recipe for pad thai

Note that if you’re searching for a particular kind of national dish (e.g., goulash, which in Hungarian is gulyás), try searching for the name in the language of origin: 

  [ recipe for gulyás ]

If you can read the local recipe language, even better search in that language to find possibly a more authentic version. Usually you’ll find sites that are dedicated to transcending national boundaries--in this case, you’ll find recipes that tell you how to make an authentic Hungarian gulyás, along with helpful tips about how to substitute location-specific ingredients. (e.g., do you actually need to use Hungarian paprika?)

To find recipes within a given country, use the site: operator to search ONLY in that country.  Just use the country code.  (List of all country codes.)   Note that you’ll have to use the local language word for “recipe.”  For example, here’s how to search for Bolognese lasagna recipes from Italian web sites. 

        [ ricetta lasagne alla bolognese  site:.IT

2.  Search by ingredient: So you couldn’t pass up the rutabaga at the farmer’s market but you’re not exactly sure what to make with it? Now you can slice and dice your farmer’s market bounty into tasty dishes by searching by ingredient. Simply type rutabaga into your search and get plenty of ideas. 

[ recipes that use rutabaga

This works especially well when you’ve got a few random ingredients in your kitchen and need to find a recipe that uses them.  In this case, just list all your ingredients, and see what you can discover!  For example:  

[ recipes rutabaga spinach cheese

3. Search by holiday or event: Hosting a baby shower or event and need to whip up some mouth-watering dishes to feed 50?  Simply type the event name + recipes and you’ll see plenty of dishes. 

[ baby shower recipes ]

[ kids birthday party recipes ]

[ traditional Swedish holiday recipes ]

4. Search by calories: Are you trying to consume fewer calories or have less fat in your diet?  Search for recipes with descriptive terms.  Examples: 

[ lasagna recipe with fewer calories

[ lasagna recipe healthy

[ lasagna recipe less fat

5. Search by cooking time:  When you’re pressed for time, you might want to find recipes that can be done in a certain amount of time.  Here, the trick is to search for recipes with a time that’s specified.  When you do these searches, try to use times like “30 minutes” or “1  hour” since that’s what people usually write.  Searching for recipes that take 48 minutes to complete probably won’t work well.  Here are some sample timed recipe searches: 

[ recipes under 15 minutes  ] 

[ stew recipe 2 hours

[ vegan chili recipe under 3 hrs ]   — hrs is a common abbreviation 

You can also use descriptions of the amount of time:  

[ soup recipe long slow

[ slow food confit recipe ] 

6. Search by favorite chef or restaurant: A handy search method is to search by celebrity chef name or the name of a restaurant that has a dish you want to emulate.  You can’t always find the exact recipe, but there’s probably a pretty good version of it out on the internet. 

[ recipes by Poilâne ]  (note that [ recipes by Poilane ] also works)  

[ recipes by Jose Andres ]  (or, José Andrés also works)  

[ recipes by Greens Restaurant

7. Search for video:  Learning a cooking technique is usually MUCH easier if you have a model to follow.  Remember to search in videos to learn the techniques or methods you want to learn. 

In Videos: 

[ how to make paneer

[ how to make an omelette

[ how to make strudel dough

8. Search by images:  Looking for a picture of something will often let you hone in on the thing you want to make, but don’t know the name!  For instance, if you’re looking for a kind of cheese appetizer that came in a little cup-like thing with turned-up corners, a search like this will get your an answer quickly: 

Note the second row of suggestions (party, toothpicks, easy, prosciutto, puff pastry, etc.).  Those can also be very handy in finding what you seek.

Searching for images is also a very good way to learn how to plate and present the food in an aesthetically pleasing way. We start eating with our eyes first, think when you go to a great restaurant and their presentation of a dish. 

It’s also a great way to learn what a particular kind of food / fruit / vegetable looks like--it will make your shopping experience much simpler if you can recognize it in the market!  We were looking for a Buddha’s hand fruit, but didn’t quite know what to look for in the grocery.  This is what it looks like: 

9. Search by cooking technique or cooking tool  

Many times you want to expand your knowledge of a cooking technique (e.g. sous-vide) or a tool (cast iron). Other times you are a big fan of a particular cooking technique, (e.g. steaming) or you are cooking at a friend or family’s location or you are travelling and cooking in a rental and you have access to a limited set of tools or, maybe to a set of tool you do not know how to use (pressure cooker) 

[ cast iron peppers]

[ steamed broccoli]

[ pressure cooker rice]

[ slow cooker chili ] 

10. Search within your favorite recipe website

This search is a bit different because it assumes you have a favorite or a set of favorite recipe websites. The more you search for recipes the more you will learn which ones you like--then you can use the site: operator to search within them.  

Some recipe websites are subscription based, so not all recipes and techniques are available for free.  Sample searches that we use inside a site are: 

  [ vegetarian bean chili ] 

[ no knead bread ] 

        [ hot cross buns ]


Conversions:  How many tablespoons in a cup?  Or, going from ounces to grams!   

The quantity of a recipe can be written in different measuring systems. So you might need to convert quantities from one measurement to another.  European recipes often give quantities in metric measurements (grams), while US recipes often give them in quantities (cups, tablespoons).  

Note that when doing weight measures to volume measures you will have to look up the conversion rate.  If a recipe asks for 500 grams of flour, but you have only US measuring cups, you’ll have to figure out what the conversion rate is.  A quick trick is to do this query: 

  [ grams of flour in cups ] 

Google will then show you a handy conversion chart: 

Of course, if you want to just convert from grams to ounces (or the other way around), you can just do the conversion query: 

[ 25 grams in ounces ] 

[ 1 pound in grams ] 

This is also really handy for conversions within the English (or Imperial) measurements: 

[ 16 tablespoons in cups ] 

Or you can ask a question: 

[ how many cups in a pint? ] 

Another kind of common searches while cooking are for ingredient substitutions. For example, you want to make tamales and you do now have or cannot easily find corn husks. What can you do?  This works well for exotic ingredients that  you might not have, such  as corn husks (used in tamales), or asafoetida (an Indian spice):  

[ tamales corn husks substitution ]

[  tamales corn husks alternative ]

[ asafoetida substitute

Cooking Techniques  

A common search is for methods of doing particular skills in the kitchen.  For example, if you’re  not comfortable with your knife chopping technique, consider doing a search on how to handle knives.  A search on: 

[ How to cut an avocado ]

[ How to cut a bagel ] 

[ How to chop onions ]

might avoid a trip to the emergency room.   In the same vein, learning how to sharpen a knife, mince garlic, or make a perfect crepe are all easy searches.  

Recipe apps

Recipe app web, desktop, or mobile apps allow you to write, organize, store, and import recipes from the web. These apps can save you a lot of time and help you to build your own cookbook. You could start by typing your grandma’s favorite recipe on the app and use it on your smartphone when cooking, even when you’re not in your own home.  Apps also allow you to quickly scale a recipe depending on how many people you need to cook for.

These apps generally allow you to export and share your apps with your friends and family including adding pictures.

Dealing with variation between recipes

As you’ve probably noticed, there can be many different versions of a recipe.  Few people agree about the right way to roast a chicken, make cupcakes, or bake bread.  Part of the joy of cooking is learning to understand the variations between recipes.  

For this reason, we typically look at more than one recipe when making a particular dish.  A search for something simple, say… 

[ recipe enchiladas ] 

[ recipe lasagna ] 

Will quickly show you the huge variation in styles, ingredients, and methods (do you want fast, low-fat, for parties, meatless, with red sauce or bechamel).  

Don’t be intimidated by the number of different variations on the theme, but use them to compose and create your own masterpiece.  




In this chapter we’ve shown you how to search for: 

  • Nutrition information

  • Recipe search methods 

1. by name of dish 

2. by ingredients 

3. by holiday or event 

4. by calories 

5. by cooking time – times, durations 

6. by chef or restaurant 

7. search for videos 

8. search for images 

9. by cooking technique or tool 

10. search inside a recipe website 

  • Conversions (metric to English, and back)

  • Cooking techniques (and tools) 

  • Recipe apps (to manage your recipes) 

  • Dealing with variation between recipes


Key lessons:   

A.  There are many ways to search for a recipe--by dish, ingredients, style, time-to-cook, etc.  Just add in the extra search terms to search by those different properties. 

B. Using the conversions methods (e.g., grams to ounces) is incredibly useful when using metric recipes.  This is just as true to convert measurements within the English units as well.  (We can never remember how many tablespoons are in a cup.  Can you?)  

C. Search for images and videos to help deepen your understanding of what the different foods and techniques are.  The number of methods and technique videos are astounding.  They often can teach you a method that was previously available only by a long apprenticeship.  Watch those videos before trying it on your own.  (There are important methods to know, ones that could prevent a cooking injury or make that omelette just perfect.)