Every once in a while, someone gets ideas about crossing recipes and computers. Of course, I love the idea. Two common ideas we hear a lot are 1) to put recipes in XML format and do all sorts of wonderful things and 2) that kitchen appliances should be smart and you should be able to feed them recipes and have your food made for you. They’re both great ideas, but invariably, people underestimate the work involved (“But it’s just a recipe!”) and overestimate the usefulness (“It would be so cool!”). The amazing thing to me about the 2nd idea is that few people would deny that humans are more intelligent and capable than computers. Yet, people who find cooking to be a difficult task (technologists, for example) assume that computers will find it easy. The day that computers are able to cook as well as humans will come long after the day that computers get so annoyed with us that they simply wipe the inferior human race out. They certainly aren’t going to want to waste their time cooking for us! So it’s a moot concept.
But the 1st idea is actually possible today. We contributed to RecipeML and even named the format, so we clearly believe in the concept. (As an aside, it’s unfortunate that the owner of RecipeML seems to have vanished so we have little choice but to create a new format).
Today we found a post talking about the first idea, so I posted the following as a comment on Building The Recipe Web and am re-posting it here:
As one of the contributors to RecipeML (and the person who named it , I like the concept. However, it isn’t useful in practice. Imagine the same thing for auctions. There could be an XML format for auctions, everyone can post their items for sale on their weblog and auction aggregators would replace eBay. This would not be as good as eBay, obviously, as there is significant value to a centralized database of auctions. The same is true for recipes, in my opinion.