Worth The Hype

Posted on 11/24/2020

In the Social Media Age, content creators are constantly trying to game the system to get more clicks. I think this has generally led to a degradation of online quality-of-life. Stories that used to be presented as plain, easy-to-understand articles have been transformed into slideshows that required you to click (and load ads) 25 times to get to the piece you're interested in. My Snapchat feed is full of stories that present their titles as cliffhangers, sometimes with an added "...?!" to the end, just to try to pique my interest. It's harder and harder to find the answer to a simple question on Google, as website developers realized that giving away the answer in the Google preview means a user doesn't have to come to your site to find it. Thus, they hide the answer in the second paragraph instead, tucked away safely from the eyes of those who would dare to steal knowledge without trading in their browsing history and $0.08 worth of ad viewing.

Naturally, one of the easier ways to increase traffic to your content is to spice up the title with some hyperbole. The trend has unfortunately leaked all the way into food blogging and recipes. And once the cat's out of the bag, how can you put it back in? If your competitors are willing to embellish their titles to steal a few clicks from you, your honesty can be a disadvantage. When the search result above yours is titled "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever Made (Grandma's Secret 100-Year Old Recipe)", "Some Pretty Good Chocolate Chip Cookies" just doesn't stand out.

It's so easy now to find a recipe for anything you want, but picking out the truly great recipes can be a difficult task. Blog comments and review scores can be helpful, but also misleading -- blog comments are full of people who glanced through the recipe but haven't actually made it yet, and score inflation seems to concentrate scores for everything in the four-to-five star range. Even then, there's many more recipes that have no feedback whatsoever.

Every so often I come across something that claims to be a game-changer, that will immediately result in noticeable improvements over conventional methods, and it turns out to be true. Over the next few weeks (and beyond that as I find more), I want to highlight a couple of recipes that are worth the hype. Only the very best will be featured -- recipes that blew my mind the first time I tried them; not just "pretty good" recipes. So check back in periodically for my personal curated list of recipes that are Worth The Hype.