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GroupRecipes: An online foodie confab

The traditional recipe site gets Web 2.0 makeover with Beyond tagging and recommending recipes, the site's algorithm analyzes individual users' taste compatibility with each other and with specific recipes.

A lot of chefs will say that you're not a real cook if you have to have to work from a recipe, which I'm going to go ahead and dispute right now. Some of us with sophisticated palates just require a little more structure than others.

Since discovering new recipes online is my favorite pastime, I'm usually an Epicuriouskind of gal--great content, easy to use--but has taken recipe sites to a cool social/interactive level. It's got a lot of the standard Web 2.0 features: users can create a foodie profile, add friends, tag recipes and restaurants to their heart's content, join discussion groups and upload videos of themselves doing their best Emeril or Rachael Ray impression.
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However, the algorithm used to recommend recipes that "Roger the Recipe Robot" thinks you would like is the most delicious part. Once you sign up it asks you to rate a series of food types (onions, dairy, mustard) and cuisines (Indian, French, Thai). As you browse recipes and your fellow foodies, a taste compatibility rating is rendered, telling you how much you have in common with the tastes of each user, as well as how much your preferences overlap with individual recipes.

Under the "Explore" menu you can input any food you'd like to "stumble" through--a la StumbleUpon. I typed in goat cheese, which brought up Cheese Soup and Cheese Fondue (boring), Old-Fashioned Mac and Cheese (if I'm in the right mood) and Ricotta Cheese Pancakes (now you have my attention). The more time you spend clicking around on the site, GroupRecipes CEO Kristopher Lederer assured me, the more accurate the suggestions will be. (In true Web 2.0 fashion, Lederer has nicknamed himself Chief GroupRecipes Nerd.)

In his previous life, Lederer studied under some of the foremost regression analysis experts in the nation. So naturally, he took his knowledge and applied it to his own recipe-swapping food site. "I started getting into cooking a little bit, and realized that these (recipe) sites haven't changed since '99. They're not harnessing any type of social or collective wisdom," he said.

FYI, don't spend too much time on this site at work. It will just make you really, really hungry.

See also: BakeSpace