People want to know what everyone else in the country is up to these days. It’s why we watch the news, set up Google Alerts, and follow social media outlets such as Twitter and Pinterest with vigor. By learning what others around them are interested in, Americans are motivated to venture out and try new things.
This is more the case than ever in the world of food and cooking. When a chef adds a new sous vide recipe to their menu, everyone starts to take notice and before long, people are sous viding and compressing in their own kitchens. Or if a new cookbook author discovers kale and how to cook it so that it actually tastes good, soon thereafter kale chips are on the shelves at every popular grocery store. The culinary industry is constantly evolving, as new cooking techniques are developed and new ingredients are discovered, and as editors at The Daily Meal, we’re constantly wondering what our nation is craving.
So what did America crave over the past year? To come up with the answer, we took a look at the foundation of cooking: recipes, the starting point of every dish we have created and enjoyed for years. Without a record of ingredients, the amounts to use, and instruction for how to use them, popular and common food dishes would not be available to us today, and the world of cooking as we know it could not evolve into new and exciting trends.
To find what the most searched for recipes were this year, we broke it down to the ingredients and set out to discover America's most popular foods. By using data collected from common food searches at The Daily Meal and many of the country’s other leading search engines, we were able to develop a comprehensive list of the most searched food terms of 2012. From there, we dove even deeper into our research to find out not only what foods the country was craving, but what people wanted to do with those foods. By using average monthly searches for highly searched recipes, we crafted a unique algorithm that weighted The Daily Meal searches against other search engines to yield a search score for each recipe that would help us rank the recipes. We even had a little help from our friends over at Pinterest who helped us develop a list of the most searched recipes. By starting with popular ingredients, we were able to come up with a comprehensive list of the most popular recipes searched for over the past year.
The dishes that fell under the top 25 most searched recipes can tell us a lot about who we are as a country and what trends exist in the home kitchen. While chicken ranked as the most searched food term in one of the most popular search engines, baked chicken came out as the top searched chicken recipe, proving that we desire basic foods and a simple method for enjoying them. On the flip side, egg was another popular food searched for, but deviled eggs came out as the most sought-after egg recipe, demonstrating that long-practiced and common recipes such as scrambled eggs or fried eggs require little research and information, and people are sometimes looking to make something a little out of the ordinary with basic ingredients.
In may come as no surprise (considering America's growing obesity epidemic) that fattening foods such as cupcakes, chocolate, and cookies dominate the most popular food searches. And even when healthy ingredients are searched, such as apples, salad, and bananas, they're translated into indulgent dishes such as apple pie, pasta salad, and banana bread, leading us to conclude that our country’s obesity problem could be caused by what we’re cooking (and craving) in our home kitchens in addition to the popular fast-food chains.
No matter what conclusions can be drawn from the list of most popular recipes, it's clear that we as a country are creatures of habit and that there are many themes that remain constant throughout the recipe searches. While some recipes are shocking, and others not that surprising, we hope that this list inspires home cooks across the country to get into the kitchen, start cooking, and continue the never-ending quest for recipes.
To see the full list, continue to the next page.
Anne Dolce is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @anniecdolce