BBC GoodFood is an add-on for Chrome, that goes along with the BBC GoodFood website. It is not, however, a clone of the website. The add-on features its own unique UI, stunning hi-resolution photographs of food (a-la Food Porn Daily) and live, instant recipe search from a collection of over 160 recipes.
As you launch the add-on, you are greeted with a gigantic macro shot of something edible (and hopefully appetizing). For example, here’s a Banana-maple tower:
This looks tiny because it is a screenshot of my full screen, resized to fit the blog. But you can see how much space the image takes up. But it’s not just an image:
You can read basic facts about the dish, and then click through to the recipe (we’ll look at the recipe display in a moment). In case you don’t like the first dish, you can easily scroll between four other options. Since it’s an add-on, the large images all load instantly, and the whole thing feels very responsive and instant.
Let’s focus on the header for a moment:
Here you can clearly see the scroller used to flip between “Today’s picks“. Other entries include recipes (the bulk of the app, really), videos, and ingredients. There’s one more option to the right of favorites, which is subscribing to the BBC GoodFood newsletter. Let’s take a quick look through each of these categories.
The initial recipe display shows each recipe as a “card” with an image and some quick facts. One thing I like about the app is that it’s very straightforward and honest about the amount of recipes available. While websites like Allrecipes.com boast an endless supply of crowd-sourced recipes, BBC GoodFood is almost like a small cookbook in your browser, with a limited and curated collection of recipes.
The top bar lets you instantly filter recipes by type, as well as by “Less than 200 calories“, “healthy classics“, etc. You can also do a custom search, if you’re after something very specific:
But realize you may not find what you’re after, due to the relatively small number of recipes the app currently offers. For example, when I searched for a chicken-based Moroccan dish that would serve six, the app found nothing. It did find a recipe when I was searching for four servings, though, so I know there is a Moroccan chicken recipe.
I wish the app could just scale ingredient lists up and down automatically by the number of servings I’d like to make – this is something Allrecipes does today, and doesn’t seem like a very difficult feat to accomplish.
Individual Recipe Display
Once you found a recipe you like, it is time to learn how to make it. The individual recipe display screen is simple and informative, with a single image of the recipe (which you can enlarge), an ingredient list, and a list of instructions. One niggle is that the typography is a bit on the tiny side, so if you want to use it as a reference while cooking, you may want to zoom in (Chrome’s zoom feature works within the add-on, so you can just hit Ctrl and +).
The video section currently has just a handful of videos about basic cooking techniques. This is one part of the app that actually didn’t work for me. The video did buffer, but I could not get it to play. Definitely underdeveloped, but it shows potential.
The Healthy Ingredients section lists ten different ingredients, each with nutritional information and buying, preparation and storage tips. It’s a short list, but each ingredient has a hi-resolution image and thoughtful information.
BBC GoodFood looks like a promising add-on. What I like best about it is that it feels very curated – it feels as though the recipes and all content were carefully edited. The downside is that there is not a lot of content, but if you are looking for oodles of content, there are plenty of recipe websites out there.