dinsdag 25 februari 2014

Guestimate the Cuisine / The Jamie Oliver Switch [map your recipe]


Last weekend I started to experiment with a new function in Map your Recipe

The new option is called 'Guestimate the Cuisine' and as you would expect it tries to work out the culinary style of the recipe. Is it Italian or Chinese? Mexican or Moroccan? French or Indonesian? It works by comparing the ingredients in the recipe against the essential ingredients of ten types of cuisine. The result is expressed in a percentage of style. There is some obvious overlap in ingredients (many different cuisines rely on coriander and garlic) and some cuisines are more alike then others even though the actual recipe will taste completely different. 

I will be adding new cuisines (suggestions welcome) and tweaking the parameters but already I am quite surprised that it seems to work with a certain amount of reliability: it does distinguish Chinese from Italian food. For some recipes it gives several guestimates and these I think are a useful way to understand relations between cuisines. An Thai dish recognized as partly Indonesian makes more sense than a Greek dish recognized as 40% Mexican.

 Like everybody else I greatly admire the works of Jamie "whack it all in there, absolutely delish" Oliver. Map your Recipe reveals many of his recipes to be all over the place both geographically according the scheme of Vavilov as in taste. I created an evaluation function that based on the outcome of the cuisine guestimation will determine if a recipe could have come from Jamie Oliver. Remarkably the first recipe I tried, a "Thai chicken laksa mildly spiced noodle squash broth" produced the above result. Or in the words of the great bard: "yeah!?"

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