Gojee: Is it short for ‘I want to go to there’?
Once you’re on the food porn bandwagon—let’s be honest, you already are—there’s no sense jumping off a moving cart. Yet the volume of food writing, food photography, food reviews, food everything online is at once exciting, inspiring, and overwhelming. Gojee joined the web in July with a welcome pitch: let’s make recipe surfing easier and prettier. And it sure is pretty.
To use a crude analogy: Gojee is to blogs as Epicurious is to Conde Nast publications. The team invited bloggers—men, women, mothers, cooking couples, self-professed gastronomes, as well as established sites like food52 and serious eats to contribute to Gojee’s virtual recipe box.
Users type a food under “I have” or “I crave”, enter any food allergies and dislikes, and Gojee spits out recipes that meet those criteria. For New Yorkers with a D’Agostino loyalty card, Gojee can find recipes based on recent purchases.
When you’re looking at the ingredients list for a recipe, you can click on each item to generate ideas for using the rest of that nub of ginger. By curating recipes, the editorial team has streamlined the search process and reduced hits to a manageable list. They are also asking that we trust their tastes. As Cathy Erway asks Mike LaValle and Veronica Chan on Heritage Radio, “How did you become and expert in what’s delicious?”. [Abridged answer: family, work, life]
So how does it work? I typed “I have cabbage” and the first hit was “Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage” accompanied by a juicy photo, a brief write up, ingredients list, and link to the recipe on the fiveandspice blog. I laughed. I share an office with Emily a.k.a. fiveandspice and could have walked ten feet to talk cabbage. Hers is delicious.
I asked Emily about her involvement with the site. The writers let the editorial team select recipes and, in exchange, Gojee drives traffic–there are around 100,000 registered users–to contributors’ blogs. Including Emily’s. Everyone wins.
Whereas Epicurious and food52 have dedicated user communities, Gojee caters to individual preferences. Using the site feels more like hitting the thumbs up or thumbs down on Pandora. I see this as a plus. It contributes to the calm feel of the page and clean design. You can always troll reader comments on the blogs that feature the full recipes.
Gojee offers an easy way to search by ingredients and to expand your blogroll, but it’s not without some kinks. In my “I have green cabbage” search, Emily’s recipe came up twice, once from food52 and once from the fiveandspice blog, with different photos and copy. When I tried “I crave green cabbage”a recipe for Meringues Chantilly popped up among results with the note “no more matches” followed by a stream of other tasty-looking, cabbage-barren recipes. It’s easy to get distracted and forget that you are trying to use up that cabbage.
There’s no way to search by type of dish, so query ‘cinnamon’ and you’ll get responses savory and sweet, sides and mains, American comfort next to Asian inspired. This is a boon to the spontaneous and potential curse for the hangry. [Note: the more ingredients you put in, the more the results narrow]. For those short on time, you have to click through to the full recipe to get an estimate of active time and/or total preparation time.
Still, whether you’re eating through your pantry before a September 1st move (me), facing a bumper crop of zucchini but can’t stomach another muffin, or are just looking for lush pictures, Gojee is worth a visit.
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