Cooking by numbers

I've been recently reminded of a website that was making the rounds a few weeks ago, Cooking for Engineers. This site uses an intuitive (for engineers at least) method for displaying it's recipies. This makes understanding recipes a lot easier, as they quickly associate both ingredients and method of mixing or construction together. It's a pretty valuable resource. It's not quite perfect, as there are a few problems I still have with cooking.

  • Units - How much flour is a cup of flour? How much tea can you fit in a teaspoon? Why use these bizarre units of measurement (which change from country to country), when the metric system works - no matter where you are in the universe. To overcome any unit problems, there are two useful sites - Google which has a conversion utility, and this site which has a whole bunch of conversion tips. I'd say the former is more useful, but the latter more comprehensive.

  • Finding out what an ingredient is - I don't know what every ingredient in the world looks like. I don't know who to ask. Cooking for Engineers has some pictures of the larger ingredients, but I still have major problems with spices. Enter Gernot Katzer who runs a spice cataloguing page. This page provides pictures and detailed descriptions for each of the spices.

Of course, what is missing from the solutions from these two pages is a seamless way to tie them into the recipies. It's when looking like problems like this that I wish the Semantic Web was around already.