It’s a big month at Food Network. As the network celebrates its 20th birthday and its fans gear up for the year’s biggest food holiday, Thanksgiving, its website took the spotlight in Wired’s November issue. Wired’s editors looked at the site’s nearly 50,000 recipes and its almost 1 million comments to answer, once and for all, questions about what foods Americans are cooking and how. With kid-friendly classics like hamburgers and pasta with meatballs to dressed-up dishes like risotto, creme brulee and souffles — and seemingly every imaginable meal in between — FoodNetwork.com’s database offered the ultimate one-stop resource for number-crunching of the recipe sort. What resulted was an impressive eight-page spread: one of the most exhaustive data collections to date and a better understanding of what we’re putting on the family table.
Just in time for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Wired investigated one of the most celebrated slivers of FoodNetwork.com — Thanksgiving Central — to offer “The Only Thanksgiving Guide You Want.” This course-by-course breakdown encompasses not only deliciously simple seasonal recipes and how-tos to help you shop for these dishes, but also interactive charts that allow for easy decision-making when selecting between the many mashed potato, stuffing, gravy and pie offerings available. Just take your pick among recipes that require “Marathon Shopping” and “Slaving at the Stove,” or opt for the “Labors of Love” or something “Quick and Easy,” and serve up a holiday-worthy feast in a flash.
The report highlights some of your favorite Food Network stars, as well, pitting each chef’s recipes against the others’ in a “Celebrity Chef Smackdown.” Given their different cooking styles and penchants for signature ingredients, it’s no surprise that Bobby, Alton, Giada, Guy, Ina and Rachael all have dedicated fan bases, but it turns out that Giada is especially adored in Scottsdale, Ariz., while Bobby is favored in Fremont, Calif. Breaking down each chef’s style a bit further, Wired dubbed Rachael “the cheesiest chef,” as her recipes call for 148 pounds of cheese in all, and as a group, the female stars are more likely to cook with chicken than the guys.
Given all of the different recipes, it’s no surprise that you may have trouble deciding what’s for dinner tonight. Wired revealed that on FoodNetwork.com, there are no fewer than 264 ways to prepare roast chicken and 280 to grill a steak. And considering there are some 14,823 entree, 5,613 side and 9,182 dessert recipes for the taking, you’ll be choosing from billions of meals — 763,956,163,818 to be exact — on any given day. How long would it take to prepare these recipes? A whopping 89,963 hours in total.
Visit Wired.com to find the complete showing of results, as well as details about how home cooks eat up one of the trendiest foods — bacon — and which regions are especially keen on lobster, chili, steak and more.