I’ve decided to rate recipes on two factors: crowd pleasing and ease of preparation.
Crowd pleasing is the average rating given by the folks who ate the recipe, usually my family plus me. Since more often than not I’m cooking for my family, tracking this rating seems to make sense. Crowd pleasing is on a scale of 1 to 5:
Ease of preparation takes a bunch of stuff into account: prep time, equipment setup, difficulty of technique, messiness and cleanup, and so forth. It all adds up the amount of effort it takes to make any particular recipe. Like crowd rating, ease is scored on a five-point scale:
Some shows have recipes that are more like techniques instead. One example is hard boiled eggs, which I’ll skip because it’s more about that technique than it is a recipe (the big clue being that the ingredient list is one: eggs). Some other recipes are just minor modifications on another recipe from the show, with added ingredients or alternate proportions (one example is scones and short bread from the biscuits episode). When these recipes come around I feel OK about skipping them.
It wasn’t easy!
At first I figured I’d just go over to the Food Network Good Eats home page and grab each recipe link by episode. I quickly found out, though, that the Food Network Good Eats page is full of errors: season/episode numbers are messed up, sometimes only one or two recipes from an episode are listed, some recipes are attributed to the wrong episode (and season), and some episodes are completely missing. A lot of this is understandable since Good Eats is over 20 years old and these pages have been maintained for a long time.
The Food Network recipe pages are great, though, so I still wanted to use them whenever I could. The trouble was finding an accurate list of each episode’s recipes.
My next idea was to get each recipe per episode from the classic Good Eats Fan Page episode index. GEFP has a page for each episode, complete with a list of each recipe from the episode linked to its Food Network recipe page. However, there are some problems here, too. First, it only goes up to Season 14 (a few post-Season 14 specials are labeled as Season 15), so I’d have to get Seasons 15 an 16 somewhere else. Second, and more importantly, Food Network changed its URL structure at some point, so every recipe link on GEFP is broken. Oof.
However – the recipe lists per episode are comprehensive and carefully curated, so I still wanted to use those as my source. I figured that page was active and popular in its day, so the lists should be complete. Thankfully, the recipe names on GEFP and Food Network are a perfect match 99% of the time, so I could use that.
The final issue was the fact that GEFP and Food Network use different episode numbering schemes and sometimes even different episode titles. I’d already spent hours on this so I wanted the episode ordering to be correct. For the correct order I turned to the Wikipedia Good Eats Episode list. That page seems to have the canonical ordering, so I used that as the source of truth.
Putting it all together, I wrote up some web scraper code to put together the complete recipe index. It works like this:
When all is said and done, the whole thing spits out the complete recipe index that you see here on this site. Whew!
Some of the “reloaded” episodes feature completely different recipes than the original episodes, and in those cases I’ll skip the reloaded ones. Sometimes, though they feature “fixed” recipes, for instance the fondue recipe from season one. In those cases I’ll probably use the reloaded recipe, especially since Alton says the original recipe barely even works. My main goal, though it to follow the original episodes as closely as I can.
I’m going to skip those for now, but might come back to them at some point.
Most definitely. One example is Allison Cooks Good Eats, where she’s going episode-by-episode through the show. I’ve been referencing her entries for tips and stuff on the recipes. For instance, I didn’t realize that sometimes the recipe in the show differs from the recipe online.