Just the recipe: services hide life stories and popups from food blogs

The world of independent food blogs frequently asks us to wade through thousand-word preambles. When scanning for recipes that work with our preferences and food sensitivities, we don't need to know about your unique delight in Asian greens or the trip to Tuscany that forever changed your culinary philosophy. Sometimes, artsy in-progress photos scattered through the recipe make the instructions even harder to follow. Home chefs may struggle to scroll on their laptops when their hands are covered in batter.

The reason for the wordiness probably boils down to ad revenue and SEO optimization: unique words boost a sites' position in search results. Ultimately, we get what we pay for when we're using free food blogs. While we feed our families, maybe we should acknowledge that food bloggers need to feed theirs. Blogger Deb Perelman responded to headnote-haters in a Twitter thread that defended the practice. "Congratulations, you've found a new, not particularly original, way to say 'shut up and cook,'" she wrote.

Still, several services have emerged to skip right to the recipe, some better than others. Short-lived Recipeasy shut down after complaints that it breached copyright and ripped off writers (previously). Here are two that are still in existence.

  1. Chrome extension "Recipe Filter"
  2. Website justtherecipe.com takes a URL and formats a recipe to fit on one screen (no scrolling necesary)

For anyone interested in the Maple Shortbread Bars recipe that opens with "Shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001", it's here (and it looks really good!).