- January 2006
January 15th -- After another long period of neglect, I have started updating links and a few new sites have been added. Since I am currently unemployed, perhaps I will get a bit more done when I'm not searching for a new job.
- December 2004
December 28th -- All recipe pages have now been converted to php. The reviews are now stored in a database so it is easier to update the reviews. After a long period of neglect, the links have been updated and a new site or two has been added.
- November 2002
I've also moved my small collection of recipes from an old server to this one because the service provider couldn't get the mime type correct for the style sheets.
- April 2002
Also, on April 24, 2002, this site was the featured site on Food Site of the Day .
The recipes on this site are sorted by rating with 5 checks the highest and 1/2 check the lowest. I have attempted to be consistent in the way I apply my rating criteria although there's an element of subjectivity in all the ratings. Here is an attempt to explain it in more detail.
- Uniqueness of site -- unusual cuisine or recipes or exceptional site design
- Ingredients clearly listed in the order needed in the recipe (where applicable) and amounts are specified
- Ingredients readily available either in supermarket or specialty market (including web)
- Approximate number of servings provided
- Clarity of instructions (for example, "cook until done" (not very clear in some cases) vs. "cook until tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork -- about 15 minutes" (more helpful)
- Difficulty/complexity of recipes -- this varies from recipe to recipe, but if the majority of recipes are very difficult or require specialized equipment it will lower the rating
- Navigation through site and recipes is easy and does not involve excessive use of the "back" button to view additional recipes, also page loading speed
- Majority of links on site are functional -- if you've ever built your own site, you know that it's easy to miss one once in a while
- Minimal advertising -- there's nothing more irritating than multiple popup windows and/or ads all over the page -- also if the recipes call for specific brand-name products that have no substitute the rating goes down
- Commercial sites (which tend to be promoting a product line) generally lose one-half check in the rating since they are full of ads -- however I do make exceptions for those that have minimal promotion
- "Fudge factor" - If I really like a site despite it's weaknesses, I'll give it an extra 1/2 check -- let's call it literary license.
What makes me uniquely qualified to rate recipe websites? NOTHING! I love to cook, eat, and enjoy good food of all types. This probably makes me a lot like you.
I started learning to cook from my mother ... helping decorate Christmas cookies, measuring ingredients, stirring, spilling ... and have, over the years, realized what an influence she has been on my continued delight creating meals for myself and others. Both my grandmothers also had a great influence on my love of a good meal.
My father's mother had a small garden in her backyard in Minneapolis along with a yard full of apple trees; I remember homemade applesauce, jars of canned rhubarb, and other goodies were always available. It's the first place I remember seeing dill weed actually growing and as I recall it went into the pickles.
My mother's mother lived way "Up North", in Roseau, Minnesota (just a few miles south of the Canadian border. I remember the long journeys after my father finished work on a Friday evening (before there was interstate highway part way up). When we would arrive, around midnight if we were lucky, we would be greeted by my grandmother bearing freshly baked sugar cookies. Tired as we were, we didn't sleep late the next morning knowing that there would be freshly baked cinnamon rolls and homemade donuts waiting for us. There was also a large raspberry patch so there was plenty of jam.
Unfortunately I also remember my father's and uncle's love of a "good" plate of lutefisk on Christmas Eve. I've tried it, but it's a dish from my Norwegian heritage that I don't ever plan on preparing voluntarily. Fortunately my mother and aunt took pity on the "kids"and made sure there were plenty of other goodies such as potato sausage, ribs, rice pudding, and pie.
I continued my interest in food, and greatly expanded my dining experience while living in Chicago from 1975-1987 (the Minneapolis area was not exactly a hotbed of ethnic diversity when I was growing up). In Chicago I first experienced "real" barbecue at Leon's on E. 79th St. (thanks Tony D.), Croatian food somewhere way south (The Golden Shell on Avenue N), and Croatian style chickens, lamb, and Cevapcici (thanks to Silvio, "Little Joe", Billy Allen, Dick O'Connell, and Barney (the neighborhood butcher) all cooking out behind the Cove Lounge (1750 E. 55th St.). There were so many other memorable places: Greektown on Halsted, Chinatown, the corner grocery in the Taylor Street neighborhood where I lived for a while, Morry's Deli in Hyde Park (when I was a graduate student), and on and on. Also, my former in-laws introduced me to the joys of Indian food (my former father-in-law's parents were missionaries and he spent the first 16 years of his life in India). My 11+ years in Chicago thoroughly convinced me that there was more to food than meat and potatoes (see I can still spell it correctly).
I guess it's my continuing love of interesting food that stimulated the construction of this web site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. I plan to add much more in the future, but wanted to see it out on the internet rather than watch it grow on my hard drive. A few of the recipes I've collected from my mother, relatives, and friends can be found on the page Recipe Site Review-Recipes .
What I really do (and used to do)
I am a quality assurance engineer so if you find bugs on this site, I guess I'll have to take the blame (or I'll blame a bug in the server). I've tried to ensure that everything works, but even the best designed testing misses something once in a while and you should NEVER let the programmer test his/her own code for a final release.
I've been in the computer software industry since about 1987. Prior to working for CA, I worked for Sterling Software (bought by CA). Before Sterling, I worked for Information Advantage (bought by Sterling); before that it was Metaphor (we split off and formed Information Advantage).
My pre-Metaphor days were with SPSS at their VAX/VMS conversion site in Northfield, Minnesota (which was closed and moved to Chicago) and before that I taught at Northwestern University Medical School in their Nursing Education Program (primarily teaching introductory statistics). Long, long ago I spent a few years in graduate school at The University of Chicago (Sociology) and before that attended St. Olaf College (a small Lutheran college full of small Lutherans -- coincidentally also in Northfield).Top of Page
There's nothing that reduces credibility on the web more than stealing, using, borrowing, plagiarizing from other sites and not giving proper credit. I've done my best to keep track of my borrowing, but if I've missed something, I'll try to track it down and make sure I give credit where credit is due.
Image and Idea Sources
The main inspiration for changing the site to CSS was Eric Meyer's site at meyerweb.com . He has some truly amazing CSS examples and seeing his site in action convinced me that the time to change was at hand. I've probably taken more ideas from Mr. Meyer than any other site. Thanks Eric. Hope you don't mind.
I would never have started (never mind completed ... more or less) this site without the constant encouragement from my partner, Pippin Michelli -- check out her web sites Art History with Michelli and -- BRAND NEW -- AdSummus .Top of Page
If you are interested in why I decided to redesign this site to be tableless and rely on Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), click to see the CSS page .Top of Page
Rants and Raves
I occasionally find a topic that I just can't resist commenting on. As my partner calls it: "getting on my hobby horse." My various rants and raves are listed below.
- April 2002
- December 2002 (coming soon)