Google doodle cooks up Thanksgiving recipes

In something of a curiously original giving spirit, Google's new Thanksgiving doodle links to Google-curated content from TV chef Google Ina Garten.

Google has always given thanks. It gives thanks for the content creators around the world who make its own job selling ads so much more satisfying.

But it seems a curiously original step into the future for Google to suddenly attempt to become a thanks taker. For, in celebration of America's most deeply felt feast, the company is offering free Google-sponsored original content.

To reach this new culinary nirvana, you have to click on the new Google doodle, which features carrots, cranberries, and other entirely healthy ingredients, no doubt from the Google canteen.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Once you click, you are taken to Thanksgiving recipes created by Ina Garten, who is better known as the TV chef, the Barefoot Contessa. These recipes are clearly marked as being "from Google."

There's "Perfect Roast Turkey with Herb and Apple Stuffing." There are Popovers, "Smashed Sweet Potatoes," and "Cranberry Fruit Conserve." There's even "Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart."

Many will be wondering at this apparently novel way in which Google is suddenly favoring specific content by adorning it with the company's own logo. Many will be fascinated that the company chose Thanksgiving to enjoy what seems like an interesting commercial experiment. We haven't yet heard back from Google about whether this is, in fact, a first such content partnership. (See update note at end of post.)

For myself, I am struggling with the choice of the Barefoot Contessa.

As one who has been arraigned into watching her cooking shows, she seems to represent a rather conservative, nay, retrograde form of culinary presentation. Set in an idyllic little place that might remind some of Toytown, it has a somewhat soporific nature.

And the occasional set piece at the end of the show, when the Contessa and her husband get together for a meal, features a level of performance that some might not wish to see even in the most optimistic of 1950s B movies.

Google, one of the world's most progressive companies, might surely have considered choosing a chef with a little more modern and dynamic verve. David Chang from Momofuku in New York, for example, would have been perfect. Jose Andres from the wondrous Jaleo in Washington, D.C., would have surely offered a more revolutionary and international spin on the Thanksgiving feast.

Mourad Lahlou, from San Francisco's finest restaurant, Aziza, would have also brought something entirely original, yet simple, to your Thursday table.

Once you attach your logo to a certain type of content, it says something about your company. Google, perhaps, has suddenly decided to become a little staid.

Update at 1:57 p.m. PT: A Google spokesperson offered the following background on the doodle feature: "From time to time our Google doodles link to a landing page which has fun and useful information for our users--similar to a recent doodle celebrating Giovanni Schiarpaelli's birthday. We're celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday a little early this year and collaborated with Ina Garten, who brings a sense of warmth and style to her cooking. We hope our users enjoy her culinary advice and that it helps them get a head start on their dinner preparations."

 

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