Pinterest Inspired Cooking
April 19, 2017 | View PDF
Anyone who has cooked a healthy and complete dinner in the last 5 years has likely looked to the internet for inspiration. The Internet is far superior to cookbooks for helping readers suss out recipe quality. Before the Internet, if you wanted to find out how good a recipe was, you had to make it yourself. Now, you can Google the type of recipe you’re looking for, browse several versions, and choose the one with the highest user rating. Reader reviews can even help you make a recipe better by suggesting modifications, or tailor it to your dietary restrictions (low sodium, vegetarian, gluten free). For people who are interested primarily in cooking recipes that taste good, the Internet is a better resource than any cookbook ever was.
The top of the list for internet recipe searching is Pinterest.com. Pinterest, self-described as the “world’s catalog of ideas”, is a social media platform where you can find and save recipes, parenting hacks, style inspiration and other ideas. One of the most user friendly of the social media platforms, it can become a never-ending black hole of information if you aren’t specific in your search terms.
Below you will find a few quick and easy tips to make your healthy recipe searching painless:
1. Search using the name of a cookbook author whose work you like. You’ll find equally excellent results by querying by the title of a newspaper, magazine or blog that publishes food you love.
2. Take care that recipes come from a reliable source’s original pin. Adding “tested recipe” to your query can help with that. Just because a blogger or pinner promises that it’s “the best ever!” and “to die for!” doesn’t mean the recipe will work. Baking is chemistry, and just throwing a bunch of ingredients together because “it’s so easy!” can lead to a “Pinterest Fail” result (the hilarious Pinterest pins that reveal images of failed recipes next to what they should have looked like).
3. Look for recipes that are appliance-specific — slow cooker recipes, for example, or pressure cooker recipes. However, a lot of such recipes rely on packaged ingredients, such as a ranch dressing mix, brown gravy or au jus mix, or canned cream-of soups (and sometimes all four!). They’re easy, for sure, but they’ll taste salty and artificial, which may or may not be your goal.
4. Think about the style of dish you’d like to eat and search that way. Want a noodle bowl with lots of garnishes? Search by “noodle bowl.” Need the comfort of a cozy casserole? Search by “casserole,” and add the protein you plan to add — beef, chicken, pork, tofu, whatever. Looking for an intriguing side dish to go with your simply roasted chicken? You can find hundreds of interesting results with that exact phrase — “intriguing side dishes.”
5. If you’re searching for special-diet recipes, such as gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, paleo or low-carb, be vigilant. Many bloggers who pin their recipes know what they’re doing; many more do not, and their recipes don’t meet the need you have. Be especially wary of claims that a recipe is “healthier” or “heart-healthy,” as such recipes may or may not merit that label.
To help you find the best recipes and avoid a “Pinterest Fail”, the Richland County Nutrition Coalition will offer a Pinterest Cooking with Friends Class on Thursday, April 27th, from 6:30pm-8:30pm at Sidney High School. Richard St. Germain, Director of Food Services at Sidney Health Center, will lead us through a top trending Pinterest recipe. Richard, a 20 year veteran chef, will show us the best ways to cook in a healthy and easy way. $20 tickets will be available at Reynolds Market, and include all ingredients needed for you to cook & enjoy dinner with us that night!