Pinterest has just added a bunch of new food-specific features to its service and Android app. If you're searching for something to cook up tonight, the Pinterest Android app can give you a ton of new ways to find something. There is a new filter page when searching for recipes, so if you're craving a particular ingredient, or have certain dietary restrictions, you can ensure that the results only show what you need. The Lens tool can also find recipes for dishes you point it at, or ingredients you have on hand. For example, if you have a bag of fruit that's getting ready to turn, Pinterest can take a quick look and see what you can do with it. Or, if you liked that curry the other day, it can show you what recipes might reproduce it. Lastly, there are also new ratings from other sites like Food Network, and recipe tips and images based on real results.
I cook at least a few times a day, which is something my girlfriend is pretty grateful for, as she's not so great in the kitchen. Pinterest hasn't been at the top of my list for recipe sources, but not infrequently my partner will point out something on the site that she'd like me to try my hand at. Even worse, I'm a lactose-intolerant omnivore, and she's a cheese-loving vegetarian. So, we can have issues finding recipes that suit both our needs. With these difficulties, some of these new features actually might make me want to try using the app myself. For example, It's always confusing trying to figure out how to use something that is about to expire, and I often just resort to the simplest thing I can imagine that might use the ingredient. The new recipe filter tool will make it a lot easier to find something I'd actually want to eat that happens to include that component, and I can filter my results to accommodate a vegetarian diet and amount of time I have free to cook, too. Food doesn't always have to be interesting, but it's nice when it can be.
The Lens tool is another quick way to do the same sort of thing. If something's about to go bad or I'm craving a particular ingredient I have on hand, I can just lean in and snap a quick picture to see what might go well with it. Unfortunately, it isn't always super accurate (It thought my bowl of Medjool dates was an assortment of chicken wings), but it was much better with more easily identifiable things. It was able to offer some decent recipes for whatever I had when it could identify the ingredient, and that's the sort of feature I can really get behind. The big new feature for Lens, though is the ability to take pictures of whole dishes and search for recipes based on them. So if you liked something at a restaurant, you could see how it might come out when made at home.
Lastly, anyone that has searched for recipes online has gotten burned by something that came out entirely differently at least once or twice. That's where this last feature comes in handy. Now you can see real examples and comments for how a certain recipe comes out when it's made by someone that isn't after self-promotion. That can help when judging what is or isn't worth cooking, as well as point out any potential tweaks to the recipe that might be good. There are even ratings brought in for some recipes from external sites like Epicurious, Martha Steward, and Food Network. I wasn't actually able to find any recipes in my searches that included those ratings, but Pinterest's blog post assures that they are there.
If any of this sounds like it might appeal to you, perhaps it's time you gave Pinterest a chance? I know I'll probably give it a try over the next week or two as I try to determine my daily menus. I might have had a specific opinion about the platform in the past, but I'm delighted to try my hand at some of the recipes I've found. If you don't have the app installed, you can download it at APKMirror or Google Play.