While many people still cherish the recipe boxes of their grandmothers and mothers, filled with scribbled notes, stained recipes, or collections of magazine cutouts, the new generation is turning to a new, interactive recipe box: the web.
NPR recently summarized a new study, Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food and Culture, put out by the Hartman Group, which analyzes the impact of social media on food culture. Essentially, they found that the web and social media, via outlets like Twitter and Facebook, enable consumers to find, save, and share recipes.
Instead of recipes boxes, people turn to the opinions of trusted bloggers or web sites who’ve created a much larger recipe collection for them (ahem, The Daily Meal). Filtering through these curated recipes allows users a much larger pool to choose from, where they can create their own virtual recipe box that can then be promoted via social media sites. These food experiences can be "Tweeted," "Liked," or "Pinned" and shared with friends, families, and followers. Many even find favorite food photos or recipes through via these social media outlets.
In the same vein, photos of food seem to be almost as common as photos of companions while traveling. Why? So the delicious meals that were experienced can be shared (or showed off). Instead of just trusting a magazine or cookbook author as the expert, the web has made experts out of consumers through the creation of user-generated web sites like Food52, the vast network of bloggers, and the power of user ratings on popular sites.
Whether this shift in resources and exchanges is good or bad was not touched on in this study, but if people are becoming more involved with food and the cooking of good food, that can't be such a bad thing. The power to influence eating habits seems to be in the hands of the very people who would benefit the most from better eating, and tips, cooking advice, and success stories are now more easily shared than ever.