Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Creators of food52 -- Photo: Sarah Shatz, courtesy food52
What should I do with leftover pie dough scraps?
Which kind of soy sauce -- Japanese or Chinese? Low sodium? -- would be best for a Pan-Asian dinner party?
These are just a few of the questions people are asking each other on Food Pickle, a real-time food Q&A at food52, the cooking website of food writers and cooks Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. Users can ask and answer questions either through Twitter -- @foodpickle -- or directly on the food52 web site.
"We're calling it the first real 911 for food and cooking online," Stubbs told Slashfood.
As food experts, Hesser and Stubbs were used to family and friends coming to them with cooking questions.
"We've happily answered them over the years, but we thought there was really a need for a service like this to ask quick questions when you're in a bind," Stubbs told Slashfood. "We also realized that these questions were already happening in the comments sections of our recipe pages and our blog posts -- our community was asking and answering these really great questions."
On the Food Pickle Q&A site, users can give thumbs-up to answers they find more useful than others, helping refine the answer to questions.
Stubbs said she and Hesser do sometimes weigh in on questions. "But really only if we feel truly inspired or feel like we have a really great answer, because actually answers are coming in very quickly to all the questions even though we've only been publicly launched for a day or two. People are jumping in and sharing their knowledge."
One of the more interesting conversation's she's seen is about charcoal versus gas grilling. "Not everybody is in the charcoal camp, which was a surprise to us," Stubbs said.
Questions about specific ingredients are also popular. "One woman did a great series of questions where she took pictures of a bunch of herbs that she didn't recognize, asked what they were and how to use them," Stubbs said.
Food Pickle has been quietly living at the food52 site for a few weeks, and officially launched yesterday.
Head on over and ask a question -- what's the best vinegar for making pickles, perhaps?