Today, we’ve released BigOven Cooking Groups, an easy way for people with common interests to chat about food. Its mission is to be the easiest way for people to congregate to talk about any food-related subject.
Food is social.
Several years ago, in the lead-up to kicking off the BigOven project, I was reflecting on how social and viral discussion about food really is. It was that trigger — that food really is one of the most "viral" subjects (in the information sense) — that caused me to begin a site to let people share their cooking.
Recipes have a great information-flow — it’s almost as though the recipes themselves want to be shared. People get passionate about food. There’s a togetherness around the preparation and consumption of food. People share food as expressions of love, joy, celebration, honor and ritual. We’ll certainly see this during Thanksgiving week.
People also gather together to learn the latest diet craze, whether it’s Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Zone, or more. Right now, in my neighborhood, I’m noticing dinner and cocktail chatter often revolving around people wanting to cook more organically; more locally. But information is scarce on how to do this best.
We may be moving from the era of the celebrity chef to the celebrity farmer; who knows. But I have to say that information on how to do this best is quite scarce. Who makes the best cheese in the northwest? If I want to minimize my carbon impact this Thanksgiving, but still want a terrific, traditional yet elegant Thanksgiving, how do I do it?
(I’ve created a Pacific Northwest Organic cooking group on BigOven.com as one of the first groups — hopefully, this time next year, we’ll have many experts you can call upon for answers to those questions.)
After a bit of development work to get this going, I’m pleased to report that tonight, the beta of BigOven Cooking Groups is live. It allows any (free or paid) user to create or join a cooking club around any topic, contribute recipes to the club’s pool, and chat.
(Notice I’m intermingling the terms club and group here? We haven’t quite decided whether this should be called Cooking Clubs or Cooking Groups. Feedback welcome.)
Perhaps you’re a fan of Italian food, or need some ideas for a special occasion. Maybe you’ve got a finicky 3 year old and need some great suggestions from other parents of children of a similar age. Maybe you’re in the Northwest and looking to cook more locally and organically.
BigOven Cooking Groups makes all this possible, by providing a framework for the grouping of recipes and people. (Videos will be added to this framework shortly.) It’s better than newsgroups, because photos and even videos can be contributed. Recipes can be tagged and linked together. Hyperlinks and rich text can be added in your comments. And more.
Since it’s a social network, we had to think through some important modeling aspects of this — e.g., if anyone can add recipes, can the group owner delete them? Can Person X delete contributions by Person Y? What if Person X is the one who started the group? What happens if the one who started the group wants to leave the group? Can you transfer ownership? How? Etc.)
Food is social… My goal is to make BigOven the easiest, friendliest social network about food, and groups were a vital part of the framework. We at Lakefront Software are happy to get this major pillar of the platform out the door, even if it’s still in v1.0 beta stage.
(More about BigOven Cooking Groups is discussed on the BigOven Message Board.)