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Recipe for success

Hot on the Web

This column originally ran in ComputorEdge on January 18, 2002
(Issue 2003, Web Animation)

So I'm looking for a French onion soup recipe – used to have a good one, can't find it. But, hey, we live in the age of the Internet, right?


What I liked about this site is the idea that you can build your own online recipe book, choosing from more than 280,000 recipes.

What I didn't like is that the log-in procedure is completely screwed up that you can't actually retrieve any of your "saved" recipes.

I created an account and logged in, found a French onion soup recipe that looked promising, and clicked on the "Add this Page to MyRecipes." The next page said the recipe was added; I then clicked on "Show Favorites," and I was taken back to the login prompt! This time I clicked on "Remember Me." And yet, when I got to my list of recipes (which you have to name yourself), and clicked on the first recipe, I was again taken to ... you guessed it: the login prompt. In fact, there was nothing I could do without having to log in every other page.

Which is too bad, because there is an incredible variety of recipes here – and the idea of filing them online is a good one.

Soup of the Evening

After the debacle of Chef2Chef, I decided to find another French onion recipe – one I could actually bookmark and keep track of.

While not holding out the high-tech promise of Chef2Chef, the modest little Soup of the Evening site does have a nice collection of soup recipes and is well-organized – you can use the search engine to immediately find the recipe you're looking for, or browse through categories like Hot Soups, Cold Soups, Soup as a Meal, Soup as a Course, Meat Soups, Occasional Soups, etc.

Top Secret Recipes

Forget soup – go to Top Secret Recipes and you can make your own Big Mac right at home! Or a Burger King BK Broiler or an In-N-Out Double Double.

And it isn't just restaurant recipes found here – you can also find re-creations of items like Lawry's Taco Spices and Seasoning or, more impressively, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

The most valuable recipe, though, may be the one for the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. (Although, okay, they did have the recipe for Applebee's Baked French Onion Soup ...)


For a general-purpose online collection of recipes, RecipeSource is hard to beat. With thousands of recipes clearly organized and fully searchable, RecipeSource doesn't promise the kind of personalized service Chef2Chef does – but then, since it doesn't promise that, it doesn't disappoint the way Chef2Chef does, either.

If you want to save a recipe here, you'll have to print it out or bookmark the individual page. (Of course, Netscape, Opera and IE all allow you to create folders for organizing your bookmarks, so you can create your own online cookbook that way as well.)


What makes AllRecipes different is that the recipes are rated by users. So the French onion soup recipe (I can be a determined SOB) was rated by 28 people – and still maintained a perfect five stars. (And, yes, we'll be going with this recipe for our next batch.) Now, not every recipe has that kind of feedback – the springerle recipes I found all had either 0 or 1 reviews – not much help there. (Oh – springerle is a traditional hard anise cookie from my family's German side – not that I need a new recipe; just curious.)

And unlike the lame Chef2Chef (which only led off the column because I wrote this thing chronologically), AllRecipes has an actual, working online recipe box – and you can get there directly at Not only that, when you add recipes to your account, you can really retrieve them later. Amazing technology ...

As just pointed out, this column began with a search for a recipe for French onion soup, quickly turning into a search for a one-stop online recipe central.

And with the nearly perfect AllRecipes, the search – and column – end.