New recipes

7 Culinary Content Network Stories to Read Right Now Slideshow

7 Culinary Content Network Stories to Read Right Now Slideshow


Dangerous Cupcake — Do You Drink Enough Water Per Day?

Dangerous Cupcake uses her blog to share her love for "cupcakes, food, jewelry design, and natural living." In this post, she talks about water, and poses the question: are you getting your recommended amount every day?

Plated | The Dish — Spring Salad Sampler

Plated | The Dish features a variety of chef-designed meals each week, offering ingredients that are ready-to-order and delivered to your door with recipe instructions. In this post, we’re recommended a spring salad sampler. Click through to find out more!

Cherry on My Sundae — Spring Pea and Mint Soup

Cherry on My Sundae sources recipes on the Internet, and then adjusts, improves, tweaks, and adds her personal touch, making sure to clarify steps and simplify complicated processes for readers. She advises that her blog is in place to do the same thing — to get you started so you can take recipes and then make them your own! Here, she shares a recipe that is adapted from lunchboxbunch.com, a Paleo-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free spring pea and mint soup.

Bake or Break — Weekly Mix: Breakfast Baking

Bake or Break is a Mississippi-born baker, who learned early the joys of baked goods. Now living in New York City with her husband, she continues baking and has added recipe development, blogging, and more to her repertoire. Here, Bake or Break gives us six breakfast-friendly baking recipes, which we can’t wait to go home and try.

Miss… in the Kitchen — Pepper Jack Spinach Dip with the Real Kettle Chips

Miss… in the Kitchen, a wife and mother of three, started her own barbecue sauce business and knows how to cook for the cowboys of the West. Her life in Wyoming is picturesque, but her desire to reach people keeps her writing, cooking, and sharing with the world. In this post, Miss… in the Kitchen harps on the Kettle brand, and provides a pepper jack spinach dip recipe to go with them.

Neighbor Food — Inspiration for Cookout Side Dishes

Neighbor Food (Finding Community Around the Kitchen Table), is a blog by 20-something community organizer, self-taught baker, and wife, Courtney. From Columbus, Ohio, her blog is about "food, faith, community, and life," and she strives to create a broad-reaching community with a sense of home. Here, Neighbor Food gives you some inspiration for what to serve with your cookout main dishes this spring and summer.

Cupcakes & Cutlery — Sassy Spring Love List for Diet Pepsi

Cupcakes & Cutlery aims to bring a California casual vibe to your family with her collection of original and curated content from around the Web. In this post, sponsored by Pepsi, Cupcakes & Cutlery gives you some Pepsi-inspired spring updates to your home and wardrobe.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.


Coronavirus Has Us Doing Chain Letters for Recipes Like It’s the Damn ’90s

Imagine you could get 36 recipes for free. I mean, you can, by going to literally any recipe website. But imagine they were slightly more curated than that, given to you by a like-minded person or someone like-minded to that like-minded person, recipes that are “quick, easy, and without rare ingredients.” All you have to do is email a recipe to the person in slot 1 at the end of the email that has shown up in your inbox, and then move the person in slot 2 to slot 1, and then forward that email to 20 friends within five days. Easy, peasy.

As Bijan Stephen wrote for The Verge, chain letters are the cockroaches of human communication. They will never die, as long as we have 5th graders and gullible people on the internet. You may have even had an ironic one show up in your text messages in the past few years, or maybe you never stopped getting them. But as people continue to stay at home as much as possible, the chain letter is emerging in full force again, with one iteration asking recipients to share recipes. Which is proving to be a pretty divisive way to get casserole tips.

I have to admit I balked when the “Quarantine Recipe Exchange!” email showed up in my inbox, sent to me by one of my oldest and best friends. I was irked by the specification the recipe had to exclude “rare ingredients,” which, as someone who cooks a lot of Indian food, read as a plea to exclude any of the spices that are actually quite common in my kitchen. Alana, who lives in Boston, felt the same frustration (her name has been changed because she fears the ire of her friends). “In this time where buying necessities is becoming an issue what the heck is a ‘rare’ ingredient?,” she asks, noting that one of her go-to recipes — pumpkin pie cookies — uses ingredients like canned pumpkin and oats that under normal circumstances may be easy to find — but now, who knows?

Aside from that, it seemed like a chore, and chores are not what I want to be doing right now. “Why must the most extroverted of our society force social homework on the rest of us during this time?,” asked Alana. Betsy, who got the chain email from her coworker over her work email, says what turns the project from fun to anxiety-inducing is that there are too many things to consider to make a good suggestion. “Recipes are so personal, and I have no idea if [the recipient] has dietary restrictions,” she says.

Another issue is that some of the recipe chain emails explicitly name the COVID-19 epidemic as the reason for their existence, and it’s become increasingly difficult to not consume news about it. “I almost feel that socializing is getting less helpful as the crisis deepens and every Zoom/FaceTime/HouseParty ends up a commiserating/depressing conversation,” Alana says. The email that’s supposed to herald a fun project is just another bummer.

But the main complaint is that the chain emails overly complicate the extraordinarily easy task of finding a recipe online. What they’re implicitly asking of their recipients is to do a lot of busy work, or endure the awkwardness of telling a friend or coworker that you don’t think this project is very fun at all. “I just can’t imagine why someone would think getting emails from random co-workers or friends of co-workers is a better way to get recipe ideas than readily accessible resources online,” Betsy says. “I don’t want to know what a stranger’s aunt does with cream of mushroom soup.”

Shibani Faehnle also says she deleted the chain as soon as she got it, mostly because it seemed redundant. “The internet and Instagram exist for a reason,” she says. “There’s absolutely no need for this chain email when you can follow one of the many hundreds of thousands of foodstagrams,” who probably have slightly more expertise than a random relative of a friend. But now, if you say “no,” you’re a spoilsport. Peer pressure always drove the spread of chain letters — the risk of not sending everyone in your elementary school a list of your 10 best friends wasn’t actually that you’ll be plagued with bad luck, it was that you’d be caught going against the social flow. Email chain letters sent by adults come with all the pressure and none of the fun of a risk of a lifetime curse.

Of course, the people sending these emails aren’t stupid. They know the New York Times’s Cooking section exists if they want to know how to make eggplant parm. The point isn’t really the recipes, but the entire process. When I asked my friend, Deborah, why she sent the email, her responses highlighted her desire for connection and fun (and, by contrast, what a cynical asshole I was being). Deborah loves cooking, but says she’s indecisive and trusts her friends’s tastes, so hoped the chain would get her some successful recipes. But also, she enjoys the social component, and getting to talk to acquaintances or even strangers. “I got to hand-pick a recipe for a dear old friend of my sister’s, who I remember well from childhood, but only see on occasion as an adult (funerals, bar mitzvahs),” she says. “It was cool to have an excuse to interact with her when I’d otherwise have no reason to.” Through a different chain, she was put in contact with a local writer she admires.

Fran Hoepfner also says the desire for socializing in a novel way is what has her deep in chain letters, which apparently have overwhelmingly recommended her this Smitten Kitchen black pepper tofu with eggplant. “It’s been fun to spin off emails onto a new thread and talk back and forth about food and mundanities,” she says. “I moved away from home about two years ago, so this has put me back in touch with a lot of folks I haven’t seen since then.” The impetus of the email might be the specter of Cooking In The Time Of Coronavirus, but it’s just a smokescreen for craving interaction, especially the kind that doesn’t require a Zoom login.

The different reactions highlight general personality differences: the tendency to view interactions with strangers with excitement or with wariness, thinking projects are fun versus. projects. So of course we’re getting recipe chain letters. We’re limiting social interaction and pushing the boundaries of just how many things we know how to cook. A lot of us could probably use some advice and some conversation. And if you don’t, just pretend it went to spam.