Since WordPress.com allows multiple blogs in the same account I’m started a new one dedicated to cooking. Cooking is very popular blogging subject so I’ll join the crowd. I’m separating my cooking posts (leaving the bread posts here) so readers can enjoy that subject without all my current events opinion posts.
But I have another goal in mind. I/we have a huge library of cookbooks, overflowing all our bookshelf space. Cookbooks are wonderful items but with so many they’re almost useless since finding anything is a major task. So we constantly swear not to get any more cookbooks (already having thousands of $’s invested), but naturally more sneak into our collection. We’ve thought about various ways to make their information more accessible so we actually try more of the recipes.
But where do we get our recipes from? The Net, naturally. It’s so much easier to search online than to try to remember which book has the great recipes we want to try. I’ve thought about various approaches to somehow making my own collection of cookbooks searchable, even considering writing my own app (still may do, yet another retirement “hobby”). But meanwhile the first step is to get some of the information from the books into digital form, a real chore. I use my Dragon Naturally Speaking to enter the basic information, primarily the index of all the recipes. Speech recognition is handy since handling the cookbooks is awkward and takes my hands away from the keyboard. Thus, despite the mistakes I have to manually correct from the speech recognition the process goes quicker than typing. Nonetheless it will take years (a nice time filler) to enter all the information and probably we’ll acquire more cookbooks faster than I process the backlog so this activity will probably take the rest of my life.
But what to do with all that data? Obviously online search is handy but my blog posts aren’t likely to appear in the first search results. So hopefully I’ll find a way to enter an unlikely term (‘douqbook’ which I’m trying doesn’t seem to work) so I can force my blog posts to come out first in the search results so I can find my own recipes before all the others, often trash, that searches will provide. Over time I’ll have to evolve a tagging strategy to improve the search results from just using titles of recipes. Thus far my first attempts haven’t worked well (I believe the search algorithms don’t like either long and/or multi-topic pages). This will be a continuing exercise to fine-tune how to get optimal results.
Meanwhile I expect to supplement just having indexes of all my cookbooks with separate posts of actual recipes/menus I’m trying. This may make the blog more interesting to readers and maybe generate a few more hits, plus contribute more to the group-sourcing of cooking information on the net, which I’ve consumed, but not contributed to very much. I’ll use the comments feature to include my own reactions to the results of trying each recipe.
My experiments with bread and the posts I’ve made in this personal blog have gotten a steady number of hits. Obviously cooking is a “neutral” subject and thus something readers like more than my opinion posts. So the new blog, dedicated to cooking, may actually be more of a contribution to public knowledge and reader interest.
Obviously there is one challenge with putting information from published works on the Net and that is honoring copyright. Clearly many bloggers don’t pay much attention to this and often recipes I find are almost word-for-word from published sources. I’ll try to avoid that. Putting an index of recipes fits into an already establish public source of information as Google Books and also Amazon are already often publishing these so I’m not putting anything on the net that isn’t already there.
So this new blog is a new way for me to use my “spare” time and thanks to WordPress.com the web resources are readily available.