Plan Your Thanksgiving Meal (and Others) with FamilyOven

Yesterday, I had a chance to discuss DC-based FamilyOven with one of its founders, Sean Shadmand. Sean and his co-founder, Isaac Mosquera, are building a thriving community around recipes, and more generally, food.

FamilyOven is by no means the first website for recipes (see iChef, Epicurious, Allrecipes, GroupRecipes, KitchenBug, RecipeZaar, Food Network, AOL Food, and to name a few). However, FamilyOven has been implementing many features that make it preferable to these other sites.

The site indexes over 500,000 recipes, most of which are pulled in from other websites such as Allrecipes and RecipeZaar, but many of which are submitted by FamilyOven users directly to the site. You don’t have to worry about missing out on recipes because they are all included together in the site’s search and browsing results.

Besides bringing a lot of recipes together in one place, FamilyOven has been designed to help users find just which recipes they actually want to use. You can search for recipes not only by using basic keywords but also by using the names of ingredients that you want to include or exclude from the results. Have a craving for Oreo and mint? Search for “desserts” with “oreo mint”. Search results can also be refined with “one-click filters” like “cake” and “christmas” displayed on the right side of the page. The result listing for each recipe displays a good deal of information so you don’t need to click away from the results to decide whether you are interested in the recipe. Hover your cursor over ingredients and a popup will show you all of them. A Digg-like “chomps” rating will also tell you how many other users like the recipe. Once you do find a recipe you like, you can save it to your collection and add just the ingredients you’re missing to a shopping list.

FamilyOven is also a social network and so, naturally, you can check out the recipes that others have contributed or given their stamps of approval. Profile pages highlight users’ favorite recipes, any food-related videos they have contributed, all the recipes they have uploaded, and all the recipes they have “saved for later”. Of course, a standard friends list and a “wall” for posting messages are included, too. Interestingly, the founders of FamilyOven encourage even dining establishments to make profile pages for themselves with which they can share the recipes they use at their restaurants. It’ll be interesting to see how many restaurants take advantage of this opportunity, and how FamilyOven expands functionality to let you search for the recipes of local establishments.

While FamilyOven does not focus on instructional videos (you can’t search for them), the site does provide a section that aggregates all of the videos uploaded by members. Therefore, it does compete with Cookshow, a cooking website geared towards instructional videos that we’ve covered before.

Sean and Isaac say they are constantly looking for ways to improve FamilyOven and will actively respond to users’ suggestions. Just yesterday they added a feature with which users can recommend beverages that go well with particular recipes. So far their hands-on attention has paid off; only after a few months of full-time work, they have reached 300,000+ monthly uniques with 1.5 million+ monthly page views.