Why the recipe is out of date

The classic recipe. Mainstay of cooking and found in cookbooks in nearly every kitchen across the world. How did the written recipe come about? Who decided the format?

Access to cooking material today is vastly better than 100 years ago where it was just books and your mother’s knowledge. Youtube dominates cooking related material. Searches and engagements are rising quickly.

But we had cooking videos and TV shows 50 years ago so it isn’t really new, it’s just expanding access to anyone to make a cooking video.

What if we try to redesign a recipe and how it is followed to encourage more to pick up cooking and see how easy it is to learn…

Getting a recipe book out to discover new ideas is how mnay people cook

History of the recipe

Any guesses for the world’s oldest recipe?

Here’s the recipe:


  • Make flour from wild wheat and wild barley
  • Pound tubers (roots) of wild plants that grow in water (sedges or club- or bull-rushes) to a dry pulp
  • Mix together with water to make a batter or dough
  • Bake on hot stones around a fire.

You might recognise it now. It’s bread. The base of diets in many cultures. The first recorded recipe for bread was actually found in Jordan and is approximately 14000 years old.

A recipe for nettle pudding was uncovered from around 6000 BC by the University of Wales Institute and it may be even older than that. It was likely a savoury soup simply with nettles boiled in barley and water.

The recipe for beer dates back to 3400 BC. Although it contained some of the ingredients in beer today, it was still very different, tasting a bit sour and sweet with about the same alcoholic percentage as a session beer.

variations of the recipe

The cookbook still prevails as the most common form of recipe, 3700 years after the first recorded cookbook. In the first half of 2018 in the US, the sale so cookbooks increased 21% compared to the first half of 2017.

Readers seem to keep buying cookbooks even with so much available online for free. When technology allows us to make videos and interact with content in so many was, why is this the case? Many people use them not to follow during cooking, but as references, guides, inspiration or just simply to read for enjoyment at a coffee table. Readers can add notes in margins, earmark interesting pages and pass them down generations.

So what do these cooking apps offer? They can be divided into 4 groups.

  1. Celebrity chef recipe collection apps
  2. Recipe trawlers
  3. Recipes for diets and healthy eating
  4. Video recipe collections

Celebrity chefs often have an accompanying app to feed traffic to their websites and sell more books. These recipes are fantastic quality and the same ingredients and method structure as you get in a book.

Cookbook sales in the US increased 21% from the first half of 2018

NPD Group

Video recipes have been growing wildly in popularity. The top YouTube cooking channel has 2.4 billion views across 594 videos. Anyone can set up a cooking channel and when 70% of YouTube views are on mobile, it’s no wonder why people are using these to help in cooking. How to videos are growing 70% year on year.

As of writing, 7 out of the top 10 iOS food & drink apps in the UK are related to health recipes or specific diets.

what’s wrong with it?

So maybe the written recipe method is tried and tested? It has become more precise, including times and temperatures, since that 14000 BC bread from Jordan but the resemblance is still there.

Why do we write recipes down as a list of ingredients and a method? Is it easier to remember? Is it more precise?

Many people never use recipes and this is often found in places like China where techniques and knowledge are passed down through generations. They know how to make a dish and what makes it taste great. The chef knows how to avoid mistakes and how to correct them with confidence.

But what if you don’t have any knowledge or confidence with cooking? What if you were never taught?

16-24 year olds are the most likely group to perceive cooking as stressful.

Millennials’ Cooking Skills Gap, Co-op, 2016

So what is wrong with recipe if it has been around for so long?

  1. Some recipes require pre-learned knowledge
  2. Most recipes assume a level of cooking expertise
  3. A lot of recipes combine multiple steps into a paragraph
  4. Recipes require you to organise timings and actions yourself
  5. Some readers do not want to have to read through a story to find the recipe

So here’s flavar

The only cooking app for beginners

FLAVAR reinvents the recipe. It has been worked from the ground up to be easy to follow.

There are many reasons why people don’t want to get into cooking:

  1. Not enough time to learn
  2. Nervous about getting it wrong
  3. No knowledge of cooking and how to correct mistakes
  4. Not organised to make something more complicated
  5. Not knowing what to cook

YouTube is the go to for tutorial videos. Rather than having to switch apps from a website to YouTube to view a video and then back again, we thought it would be a lot easier if the video was embedded into the step ready for you to watch.

No one should be nervous about cooking, it’s fun! We guide the user with step by step recipes from start to finish with clear instructions and tips embedded into the recipe.

The app tries to build cooking knowledge with handy tips and videos in the steps. Soon you’ll be able to view the videos outside of the recipes too to continue learning.

Mise En Place mode is perfect for organising your ingredients and preparing them correctly for a more complex recipe. It’ll make a dinner for 4 seem like a breeze.

31% of people in a Co-op food study said that not knowing what to cook and not being able to decide put them off cooking. We have tried to add a bit of flair and technology to the discovery stage by using 3D models of the dishes displayed in Augmented Reality. It is no longer frustrating looking for food and you might find yourself looking at choices even more!

FLAVAR will hit both iOS and Android app stores very soon.

FLAVAR free version contains 25 free high-quality recipes and the premium membership with an ever expanding library is only £1 per month.

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