Recipe-scraping site shuts down after uproar

Originally published at: Recipe-scraping site shuts down after uproar | Boing Boing


Why create a whole website when a Chrome or Firefox extension would probably do the job?


It’s definitely curious that the people that set up the site never once thought that what they were doing was content theft. Maybe they did but it would’ve never lasted long anyway. I do think that these recipes with the long pages of nonsense before the actual instructions and ingredients is real obnoxious, there’s gotta be a better way to do monetization though since i don’t make a living off digital content i have no idea what the solution is.


A great idea (recipes without the attached life story) but horrible execution (scraping content without permission).

The most important issue here, though reminds me of when I was a child, out for a walk with my parents. I was thinking to myself “wow, what a sunny day.” And yet, I also knew that the sun would eventually set and it would be nighttime. Then, of course, many stars would be visible, and I might even get to see a shooting star. Of course, those “shooting stars” weren’t stars at all, but were small specs of space dust, or even meteorites, drawn into earth’s gravity well. Sometimes they look like something out of a painting.

Renaissance painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s story is an interesting one, and she was a famous artist in the 1600s. Her career began when she was apprenticed to a local art teacher at the age of 16. The art teacher immediately began to pressure the young girl to have sex with him. One of Gentileschi’s earliest paintings is “Susanna and the Elders,” which depicts the biblical story of Susanna, a virtuous young wife sexually harassed by the elders of her community.

Traditionally in art, Susanna had always been shown as coy or flirtatious, as the one who brought on the advances of the village men. Rather than showing Susanna as coyly or flirtatious Artemisia takes the female perspective and portrays Susanna as vulnerable, frightened, and repulsed by their demands, while the men loom large, leering, menacing, and conspiratorial in her direction. It’s no surprise that Gentileschi was raped, and that her work could be understood through that lens.

Similarly, the study of “Judith Slaying Holofernes,” which was a common subject for Renaissance artists. In the story, Holofernes was part of an invading army sent to destroy the Jews. Judith is sent to befriend him. She does so, and then after he gets drunk and passes out she cuts his head off and castrates him. She carries his head back to the Jews, who end up defeating Holofernes’ army. Many Renaissance artists treated the subject, and Mozart wrote an opera based on the story. Gentileschi’s painting of the story is more graphic, and shows Judith in a more dominant, assertive pose than most men painted her.

Content-scraping of the sort by that website is very bad.


A recursive recipe. Cool.


Provided that the recipes are marked up with the appropriate metadata, the next Recipeasleak is called “Google.” Good results with markup are inlined right on search result pages.


Recipe websites are so bad, everything starts with 4 paragraphs of someone life story, with 5 ads mixed in and 3 movies. If you’re lucky there will be a print function that will open a separate window with instructions that are actually readable.


My wife constantly complains about the twenty pages of fluff about the writer’s grandma, or trip to Naples, or whatever, and I worry about the fact that I know that the author is some 20-something writing out of a matchbox in NYC that only has a microwave for hot pockets.

Meanwhile, the bookshelves next to the kitchen groan under the weight of hundreds of cookbooks full of clear and concise time-tested recipes, written by actual great chefs.


Too many were written by editorial assistants under instruction to fix the times. That’s why onions take five minutes to become translucent or to caramelise.


The times in online recipes are a special kind of bullshit.


You win the internet today sir.


Such a slippery word, “probably”.

1 Like

Recipes aren’t copyrightable, and most of those sites are taking recipes from other sources as well. This just needs better execution.


I use a combination of and the following four books (with a few dozen cuisine-specific cookbooks which also sag my kitchen shelf):

-Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle (this book is specifically about french dishes, but the techniques and descriptions within it mean that if you follow the directions and learn from them, you’ll be able to do much more complex recipes from just about anywhere)
-Great American Brand Name Recipes Cookbook, by Publications International (a collection of all the recipes found on the labels of the various foods you get in the store)
-Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, by Better Homes and Gardens (40 million copies can’t be wrong)
-Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker (covers everything, and I mean everything, in an easy-to-find and use format)


That’s interesting to learn. It is somewhat surprising then that you can’t just look up Joy of Cooking recipes on line.

Even the written instructions for the most part could be automatically parsed and regenerated along the lines of google maps directions, so it is largely just a matter of digitization.

I have noticed that there are lots of recipes with only the smallest variation. The Tollhouse cookie recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar while the Giordelli recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar and 3/4 cups brown sugar etc. I had always assumed this was to avoid copyright.


Hmmm. What if recipe sites already mine each other, but are better at hiding it?

Are there recipe equivalents of those maps with made-up streets, or lyrics sites with bogon songs?

:star: I made the Flambe Supriso and it exploded, causing expensive damage to the kitchen. Would not make again.


I’m sure there’s a similar “shutupaboutyergrandmaandgimmethef*ckinrecipe” extension for Firefox.


This is basically’s gig. They post the ingredients (and ads) but the recipe is always another site. They also seem to win search engine optimization (at least in duck duck go) so you have to pay your tithe to yumly to find the recipes from their competitors.


Wouldn’t the internet be soooo much nicer if everyone wasn’t trying to earn a living from it?


So like map makers including non-existing features to catch copyists, recipe sites need to salt their collections with Banana slug stew ala Antoine to watch the flow of thievery (“yeah, …or the French”)?