Conducting a Recipe Search on Just a Pinch

Andy Anderson !


Just-a-Pinch has a lot of yummy recipes, a lot of informative groups, and a lot of great people.

But on a site with such diversity, exactly how do you find what you’re looking for?

Actually, it’s quite easy; however, there are a few tricks that you can use to construct a better search.


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How to Make Conducting a Recipe Search on Just a Pinch


  1. Let’s say that you are looking for Mexican recipes...
  2. So, you go up to the search field, and type in Mexican (capitalization does not matter in the search).
  3. The first thing that happens is that a drop-down list appears under the search field. These represent Blue Ribbon recipes that fit your search criteria, and there will be a maximum of five.
  4. At this point, assuming you see something that you like, you could click on the desired recipe, and you would be directed to that recipe page… Search over… Happy Dance…
  5. However, if those five recipes do not interest you, then simply click the magnifying glass icon, on the right side of the search field, or press the Enter key on your keyboard.

    You will now be treated to a listing of every single recipe that utilizes the word “Mexican.”

    When I wrote this tutorial, there were approximately 1,009 recipes listed on 64 pages. WOW!
  6. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, you can scroll through the first page of recipes, and then navigate to the other pages by scrolling down to the bottom of the list.

    If you’re counting, there are typically 16 recipes per page. Are we having fun yet?
  7. The problem is that your search is way too broad; however, there is a way to focus in on what you’re looking for.
  8. Go back to the search field and think of something that might narrow down the search. For example, you’re not just looking for Mexican food, you’re in the market for some yummy tacos.
    So, you type in, [Mexican tacos], and press ENTER.
  9. And BOOM, you get basically the same stuff… WTF !!!
  10. Think of it this way… Search engines apply Boolean logic to the search criteria. When you typed in, [Mexican tacos], the computer thought you wanted any recipe that contained the word [Mexican], or the word [tacos].
  11. Computers are funny like that :-)
  12. As Mr. Spock would say: What we need here is a simple application of Boolean logic (Live Long and Prosper).
  13. To get what you’re looking for you need to remember a couple of tricks…
    1. The use of quotation marks [“ “].
    2. The use of the word [and]
    3. The use of the word [or]
    4. The use of the word [not]
  14. Okay, let’s return to our original search… We want Mexican, AND we want tacos.

    Type in the search field exactly as you see it here: “Mexican” and “tacos”
  15. The computer sees the two words in quotes, plus the Boolean operator [and]. It now understands that you want recipes that contain the words Mexican AND tacos… Get it!
  16. Now, type this in: “Mexican” or “tacos”
    You will get all the recipes again (all 60+ pages) because you said that you looking for recipes that have the word Mexican or taco (or both).
  17. Now, type this in: “Mexican” and not “tacos”
    You will get all the recipes that contain the word Mexican; however, if the word taco is found it will not display the recipe.
  18. If you’re looking for a specific recipe and you know the chef, you can do something like this:
    “beef” and “andy anderson”

    You will get all the recipes posted by anyone named, andy anderson, AND have the word beef as part of the recipes.
  19. Recap:
    Use quotes to isolate words
    Use Boolean operators (and, or, not), to tell the computer how to link the words.
  20. That's enough for now... experiment around and have fun.

    Happy Pinching
  21. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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