Friday, April 10, 2009

GMA’S Revamped Food Website And A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words…IF It’s The Right Picture - Plus I Think TODAY Does It Better

Emeril was on GMA this morning, touting their newly revamped website, which he called the food engine of ABC news. Emeril says his recipes on the site go back to 1995. He acts as our webmaster/guide to the upgraded page and he's particularly thrilled about being able to print the recipes in different formats. Uh, Emeril, that IS mind-blowing, but it's kinda been around for AGES. But I am all for an easy to use, easy to navigate websites.

I decided to look around. I clicked on a Sandra Lee video (I needed a laugh) and, for some reason, she had 2 straight-backed chairs sitting next to the dem bench. It looked like she was going to start doing squat thrusts right there and then, but no.

She was giving us a “decorating” tip. I still don’t know what the tip was, except that she took a pillow case, put it over the back of the chair and tied the corners. Maybe that’s what you do if you accidentally spill (or throw up) some of her food down the back of a chair…

Almost as annoying as the fruitless decorating advice was when Chris
handed out samples of Aunt Sandy’s Ham and Cheese Casserole and made a big fuss in the audience WHILE she was talking...not that I usually mind the focus being taken away from a Sandra Lee recipe.

Anyway, what I was trying to discover was if every recipe has an accompanying video. The Today Show seems to, for current ones anyway, but I don’t know how far back the videos go. Here’s a really cool recipe from Today, by the way, that I just found. The answer? No, and GMA videos by themselves aren’t that easy to get to.

Another slightly annoying thing on the GMA recipe site:
While searching for a flourless chocolate cake, I came up with this. Great, I thought, and it’s in 3 layers with icing in between, which I thought would be good to serve lots of people.

Well, NO, that’s a stock photo that has NOTHING to do with that recipe, which is made in a single 9 inch springform pan and served with confectioner’s sugar or cocoa powder and NO ICING.

I guess I should have realized what was going on when I saw the same chocolate cake picture for several chocolate cake recipes. The reason is probably because, as Emeril told us, they have recipes going back to 1995, and obviously they don’t have picture for each recipe. But NO picture is better is than the wrong picture.

One suggestion – have a chocolate cake drawing icon type of thing next to recipes for which they have no picture. That way there’s no confusion and we know instantly it’s a cake recipe. Or simply have a sweet and savoury icon to indicate those types of recipes. On closer inspection, that's exactly what they did do! Those two identical chocolate cake photos turn out to be from the same recipe just listed more than once. Are you confused? That makes two of us.

To compare the search functions of the two morning shows, I looked for the same thing on both sites. GMA came up with 208 results for the flourless chocolate cake, including many multiple listings of the same recipe. They also had other recipes like Lemon Lovers White Chocolate Cake , which has plenty of flour from the cake mix in the recipe, and an Incredible Melted Ice-Cream Cake, which has NO chocolate and again included plenty of flour in the form of a white cake mix.

The Today Show’s search function bears much better results. They only came up with three recipes, but each one was spot on.

To be fair, a second search for “Butterflied Chicken” wasn’t quite as successful on the Today Show site. The third recipe (of five) was Slow Cooked Fish (with a non-working link) and number five was lamb, but the other three were indeed chicken and they WERE butterflied.

GMA gave me 220 recipes and there was ONE authentic butterflied chicken. (Okay, I only checked out the first page, but if that’s not accurate, the other 22 pages won’t be either, although the VEGETARIAN Pumpkin Orange Soup with Parmesan Toasts, page 10, looks good.) I wonder if I searched for pumpkin soup, I’d come up with more butterflied chicken recipes.

The truth is, though, that both sites are still heads and tails above the Food Network website, which continues to be a source of such frustration that I really loath EVER going to it. Just finding the recipes connected with each show is often an exercise in futility. So…good for GMA! Congrats on the upgraded website! And if you find a few more flourless chocolate cake recipes, that actually have chocolate and no flour, let me know.


Anonymous said...

can't get the darn recipe to come up for today, need it for easter. Needs to be easier for us oldies.

Sue said...

Hi Anon,
I wish I knew which recipe you were talking about. I'd try to find the link for you.

DebCarol said...

Well you are absolutely correct about both the show's websites being FAR easier to navigate than Food Network. Yesterday I decided I wanted to make Sunny's Expresso Cake and the thought of trying to find recipe on FN was so daunting, I thought wait a minute, I know how to find it. Went to your links, found Sunny, clicked, and there it was. Took 2 seconds and now I have her mini expresso cakes for Easter!!