New project: What to cook?



For a few years now, my partner and I had a dilemma almost daily: what would we make for lunch/dinner that day? It’s not a matter of lack of skill or ideas for recipes, or even having the ingredients available, but more of a nothing sounds appealing for the amount of effort I want to put in cooking this meal type of situation.

On top of that, I am particularly terrible to remember things I could cook. We’d have something that we both truly enjoyed, yet would not make it again for a long time simple because it was forgotten as an option. I need to see what options I have, and then maybe I can choose.

So for a few months I was joking about this idea, that I’d create some software that would just tell us what to cook. The internet is mostly converging to this approach too, with personalized feeds and “for you” pages, so we might as well take inspiration on the worse parts of what the internet has to offer.

You don’t know what to make for dinner? Click this button, and you’ll have a recipe. You don’t have a particular ingredient at home? No worries, exclude it, and no recipes with that ingredient will be offered again tonight. Don’t feel like cooking this recipe? Well, too bad, you won’t get another. You can’t just refresh the page or start over, you’ll only be able to get a different recipe in a few hours.

Jokes aside, I don’t think this is a problem that only we have, although I believe most people have the opposite problem: too many ideas for a single meal. I tried to search for projects that tried to tackle this problem, but most would just hover around voting systems or recipe management. I want something less democratic, something that takes the burden off of deciding what to eat.

So I built What to cook?. Run with Docker, input your recipes with the ingredients and click the button. The project is open to external contributions, but I plan to keep the project around the scope I presented here. I don’t want to turn it into another recipe management software, as there are tons of them out there. Maybe send a PR to import recipes from your favorite database?

I just started using it with my partner, and we’re still loading the database with our recipes as we cook them. My expectation is that it can go both ways: either we rely on it more than we currently want to admit, or it forces us to think better about what we want. In either case, I see it as a win.

Thank you.