Epicurious, the online recipe vault and clearinghouse for most things culinary, debuts a new look this week.
As a longtime user, I have the following grand pronouncement to make: My frickin’ recipe box (and its 33 painstakingly battle-tested favorites) appears to be intact and largely unchanged.
First, let’s talk about the (relatively) new in-house blog. It looks pretty good. If it continues to be updated at the same furious pace—highly unlikely, since there’s a finite amount of stuff to talk about and people always get distracted after a while—it will be a veritable geyser of information. With time, the number of autobiographical posts will hopefully dwindle, but with any luck the eclectic mix of product news, cultural notes, and recipes that makes it interesting reading thus far will continue. There are also guest contributors such as Neal Pollack and Rick Bayless.
As for the rest of the site, the new look is introduced by a mind-numbingly boring Flash movie, which I watched for you. This saved you six or seven minutes of your life, and produced the following pieces of information:
1. There are fewer categories of content on Epicurious.
2. To find content, you can either use a search tool or just click on stuff.
3. There are articles on the site. You can read them.
4. I swear to God, about halfway through the Flash movie, I had a vivid, horrible acid flashback to the year 2000. At that point, I was working as an online producer for the Christian Science Monitor, and was hip deep in a seemingly never-ending website redesign process. All the three-hour-long usability meetings just flooded back.
5. The Epicurious community is “extremely talented, intelligent, and passionate.” Hey, that’s me! I’m all those things! Yay!
6. Epi Chat is a quick and easy way to get down and dirty with your fellow cooking enthusiasts. If you can sling a phallic vegetable metaphor—and I’m sure you can—get thee to the chat room and let the loose remarks fly. Also, you can exchange cooking tips and whatnot.
An excerpt from the actual sample chat:
Tom: Did somebody say chocolate?
Joanne: Oh Tom, you never change.
Tom: I love chocolate!
Emily: So do I Tom!
Cue the Amy Winehouse. Emily, you have a long, hot night of Epi Chatting ahead of you!
7. Some stuff about newsletters or whatever.
At any rate, the new site does look cleaner, and the blog seems promising. And who can’t use a few more online “chat buddies”?