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Food52: The Crowd-Sourced Cookbook

As readers of our July issue may have noted, we took a different approach to making a magazine (and we think we may well be the first city magazine in the country to have done so). We solicited essays and photographs from our readers—you—and the resulting magazine is a cool (well, we think) keepsake, a beautiful collector's edition. But we're not the only ones who are taking this user-generated approach. New York Times food writer and cookbook author Amanda Hesser, together with Merrill Stubbs, have just launched the beta version of their website, Food52, with the full version coming September 15. The premise? Every week they'll post assignments/solicitations for the best corn recipes, say, or the very best grilled pork. Home cooks will upload their recipes, along with photos or videos. Then Stubbs and Hesser will select the most promising of the submissions, cook them in their kitchen, and present the best two back to the users for voting. At years end, all of the winning recipes will be compiled in a cookbook, which Hesser and Stubbs will be editing. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the crowd-sourced cookbook!

As Hesser says in an interview with Tech Crunch, "There is a huge tradition of community cookbooks, but none of them are user vetted." This is maybe what appeals to me most about the project. It has the feel of a modern church or community cookbook, with people from all walks of life submitting. But it has expertise behind it, to ensure that there aren't, say, 15 recipes for no-bake cookies and dozens more for mayonnaise-based salads.

Here's your opportunity to get involved with a cookbook, to submit your own recipes and to see your creations in print—go to the website and sign up!