Rethinking Cookbooks In The iTunes Model

Is there a need for a standardized format when it comes to food and cooking that would see digital recipes bought, sold and shared like digital music?...

Yi Chen
Yi Chen on January 5, 2012. @yiiee

Kevin Fitchard from GigaOM is a food connoisseur and a tech fan. In his recent article, he asserts that recipes need to be a ‘standardized digital good’ that can be bought, sold, shared, edited and annotated like digital music. Using the Apple iTunes format, cookbooks can be seen as entire albums but users can purchase individual recipes like song tracks. The user can also organize recipes just like collections and playlists that allows for more flexibility when it comes to managing them.

A digitally standardized recipe means it can be easily identified and shared between applications and the web. Phil Michaelson, Co-founder of KeepRecipes, explained that it’s difficult for online cooking websites to aggregate recipes as there’s no “standard format for recipe markup on the web. KeepRecipes can’t grab a recipe if it can’t identify it as one or distinguish between the ingredients, measurements and directions sections on the page.”

Fitchard goes on to state that a digital cookbook is “still a book… it remains isolated in the digital ether.” To digitize a cookbook means more than just breaking down “the art and science of a cuisine into hundreds of thousands of non-contextualized recipes.” Fitchard is suggesting a new way to organize the vast amount of information in a digital format so users can easily source and sort what they’re looking for.

GigaOM: A Better Recipe For Digital Cuisine