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Cookthink FAQ

Q: What is Cookthink?

Cookthink is a personalized cooking and recipe website that helps you find recipes to suit your cravings - hence our tag line, "what are you craving? Most of our recipes are for everyday meals that are easy to prepare and cook during a busy work week.

Q: What do I need to use Cookthink?

Cookthink works best when used over a broadband connection (DSL or cable) of at least 150 kbps, with the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Flock. To get the best use out of Cookthink, you will need to start a free account on the site. To start an account, you must provide a valid, active email address. While we completely respect your privacy (read our Privacy Policy) and will never send you unsolicited email, we need your email address to correspond with you about your account.

Q: Is Cookthink free?

Yes. Cookthink is an entirely advertising-supported service. We do encourage you to sign up so that you can get the full personalization that Cookthink is built to provide.

Q: What do I get when I sign up for an account?

For users who have not signed up for an account on Cookthink, the site will operate like any other recipe database. You put in some search terms ("chicken", "Italian", "grilled"), you get some results and you print or email them. You come back whenever you want and anonymously do the same thing. That's fine. We support that.

But Cookthink is designed to be a personalized recipe and cooking database. We're building Cookthink to get smarter over time, recognizing recipes you save and recipes you pass over, ingredients you prefer, and cuisine types you're interested in learning more about. So, to take full advantage of Cookthink over time, you'll need to sign up for an account. In the coming months, we're going to be adding some exciting new features to help you personalize Cookthink.

Q: How do I sign up?

On every page of the site, you will find a sign-up button in the top right corner. Click on that button and follow the instructions on your screen. Any time you try to do something on the site that requires an account with Cookthink, you will be prompted to sign up.

Q: Why do you need to know my birth year?

Due to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) we're required to verify that all Cookthink users are at least 13 years of age. Also, Cookthink is completely supported by advertisements and while we'll never provide specific user information to advertisers, we will provide them with general data about our users. Also, we want to direct ads to each user that are relevant to him or her. We believe that this will help us direct ads to you that are more likely to appeal to you. Just to reiterate: we will never share with anyone any identifying information about you.

Q: Why do you require a zip/postal code when registering?

As with your birth year, your zip code provides us with important collective information we can present to our advertisers. Also, certain ads will be more (or less) relevant to Cookthink users who live in a particular area. We believe that your postal code will help us direct ads to you that are more likely to appeal to you. Just to reiterate: we will never share with anyone any identifying information about you.

Q: Can I access my Cookthink account on multiple computers?

Yes. To use Cookthink on any computer that meets our technical requirements, you just need to enter your Cookthink account user name and password to log in.

Q: How can I receive weekly "root source" emails?

When you sign up for a Cookthink account, you are given the option to receive our weekly "root source" email. You can also sign up for the root source at the Cookthink blog. Regardless of whether or not you sign up for the root source, we will occasionally send all Cookthink subscribers emails about individual accounts or about new Cookthink features.

Q: How can I opt out of these emails?

Just follow the link at the bottom of any email, and follow the instructions.

Q: I asked for a password reminder, but the email hasn't come yet and I've got a dinner to make. Help!

First, check your "Spam," "Junk" and "Bulk Mail" folders, as our automated email reminders occasionally end up there. If you find it there, try adding cookthink@cookthink.com to your address book; this should allow our emails to get through the filter to your inbox. If you still haven't received your information, try the "forgot user name / password?" link again. If you still do not receive the email, contact us at support@cookthink.com.

Q: Cookthink reports, "Your account already exists." What do I do?

Make sure that you "login" with your existing account and that you're not trying to register a new account under the same name. If you have already created an account, you don't need to create another one.

Q: How do I log out of Cookthink?

When you're logged in to Cookthink, in the upper righthand corner of every page on the site, you'll find a log out button. Click there.

Q: What happens if an ingredient or cuisine or dish type doesn't show up in the Cookthink tool?

If you don't see something you're looking for in the search term, you can enter it into the "I'm craving..." text box on the tool. All search terms entered into the text box will be automatically added to our database. If you don't see anything you like in the Cookthink tool but are still not sure what it is you're looking for, click the "refresh" link in the Cookthink tool. The full list of search terms will be replaced by a randomly selected list of new search terms.

Q: Where do your recipes come from?

We've been inspired by countless cookbooks, magazines, TV shows, restaurant meals, dinner parties, conversations and grocery excursions. When we started Cookthink, we started with the simple idea of taking the ingredients we use most often and mapping them out. How many ways can you prepare a boneless, skinless chicken breast? What goes well with chard? Which marinades are most versatile? Eventually, because we needed to call it something, we started calling it the Recipe Mapping Project, the "Recipe Map" for short. To help us "map" out the recipes, we developed a questionnaire to answer for each recipe. This questionnaire takes us through dozens of qualities that could apply to each recipe. By answering the questionnaire for each recipe, we orient that recipe in the map.

Q: Who else writes recipes for cookthink?

We've been joined by a wonderful group of bloggers we call the Cookthinkank, and other wonderful writers from around the web and cookbooks who contribute to the site.

Q: So where can I see this so-called recipe map?

Right now, the recipe map exists only as an organizing priniciple for Cookthink internally. However, we are working on ways to visualize the recipe map and will have some information on that in the not-too-distant future.

Q: How long does it take to write, edit and figure out the recipe map coordinates of a particular recipe?

It takes a long time. We don't recommend trying it.

Q: How many qualities do you use to map out the coordinates of a recipe?

To figure out the recipe map coordinates of a particular recipe, we answer roughly two dozen questions for each recipe and analyze hundreds of potential qualities.

Q: Cookthink kinds of feels a little bit like a food version of Pandora, the music site. Is this coincidental?

No. We love Pandora and its Music Genome Project. That idea and the work of Pandora inspired us as we moved forward with Cookthink.

Q: What kind of recipes will I find on Cookthink?

Our philosophy is pretty simple: get the best, freshest ingredients you can find and afford and do as little as possible to them to make them delicious. Using this as our guiding principle, we started navigating the recipe map to create relatively simple recipes we could use on a weeknight after work. 90% of our recipes fit this description.

Q: How many recipes do you have on Cookthink?

Since the beginning, we've felt strongly about not trying to be the biggest recipe database, just the best. For that reason, we've made a point of not counting. Alphabetically, our first recipe is Agnolotti with eggplant, tomatoes and garlic. Our last is Zucchini soup with ginger and lime.

Q: Why can't I find a recipe for turkey pot pie on Cookthink? Why can't I find any [insert your cuisine type here] food on Cookthink?

The world's a big, big place with a lot of eaters and cooks. Cookthink's recipe map, while well underway, will take a long time to fully develop and, no matter how comprehensive, will never come close to covering it all. New recipes are added daily, and we're making every effort to cover our bases, cuisine-speaking. If there's a particular recipe or cuisine that you're itching to see more of on Cookthink, drop us a line at support@cookthink.com.

Q: How do I ban a certain ingredient from showing up in any of my recipes?

We're working on this and will announce this feature soon.

Q: How can I suggest a recipe that doesn't seem to be on Cookthink?

To suggest a recipe or reference tip, email us at support@cookthink.com.

Q: Who takes all of Cookthink's pictures?

We do. All images on Cookthink are owned and copyrighted by Cookthink LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Q: Do you test all your recipes?

Yes, we test all of our recipes.

Q: What is the Cookthink blog?

The Cookthink blog is the collaborative blog written by Cookthink's staff and friends of Cookthink.

Q: What if I don't have an ingredient a recipe calls for? Where can I find good substitutions?

Occasionally, we'll suggest a good substitutions for a hard-to-find or uncommon ingredient in a recipe. We're working on a feature that will suggest substitutions in all our recipes. More on that later. In the meantime, check out the Cook's Thesaurus. if you're really stuck, email Brys, Chip or Claire for suggestions.

Q: What's your policy on comments?

We reserve the right to delete any comments at any time for any reason without warning or explanation. We don't plan on doing this often, if ever, and will only do so if we find inappropriate comments. For more on what we mean by inappropriate, read our User Agreement.

Q: What do I do if I find an inappropriate or offensive remark in the comments section?

Please let us know at support@cookthink.com

Q: So, did you build all this yourselves?

No, we've worked and continue to work with the very talented designers at OrangeYouGlad and the very talented developers at Union Square Internet Development.

Q: Is Cookthink hiring?

Check out the Jobs section for more details on available positions.

Q: Can I invest or buy stock in Cookthink? Do you accept donations?

Cookthink is not looking for investors at this time. That said, we always love talking about Cookthink's future plans, so drop us a line and let's get together over dinner. We do not accept donations, but if you feel so inclined, we urge you to donate food, money and time to an anti-hunger organization in your area or to one of the following organizations: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts or The Capital Area Food Bank.


If you have a problem or question not answered on this page, please contact us at support@cookthink.com.