Smithies' Summer of Food
Corinne Fay ’08 and
Samantha Chaplin ’10 look through recipes at Cookthink.com.
It sounds like a dream
job: poring through hundreds of recipes to find the ideal
flavor combinations to match readers’ tastes,
tendencies and moods.
That basically describes
how Samantha Chaplin ’10
spends her days this summer as a Praxis intern for Cookthink.com,
a food and cooking Web site launched last year and based
in Washington, D.C. and Montague, Mass.
“My typical day
at work consists of reading recipes, entering them into
our database, and analyzing and tagging recipes. Also,
eating a great lunch!”
Chaplin works at Cookthink
alongside Corinne Fay ’08,
who was hired by the company following her May graduation.
The two Smith women learned about the company last January
during an Interterm course in the Jacobson Center on food
journalism led by Chip Brantley, co-founder of Cookthink,
whom they met during the course. Fay began as an intern this
summer and was subsequently hired as a Web production assistant.
Cookthink aims to answer
the question, “What are you
craving?” Its well-organized database stores thousands
of recipes and food combinations in an easy-to-use reference
called the Recipe Mapping Project. From the Cookthink home
page, users simply type in to a search function the flavors,
ingredients or foods they like to combine, and a list of
recipes with handsome images appears. From there, users can
click on the thumbnail images to access the full recipes
from the basic to the exotic.
Braised chicken with black beans and sweet potato. Thai
shrimp, coconut and mushroom soup. Black bean burrito with
Portobello mushrooms and spinach. Grilled pineapple with
buttered rum sauce. Those are a fraction of the recipes available
on the Recipe Mapping Project.
For Chaplin and Fay, the summer working at Cookthink has
been an intense but fun learning experience.
“Working at Cookthink is great,” said Fay. “There
is so much to do and everything happens very fast. It's exciting.
Also, every day is a little bit different. It's totally different
from any other job I've had. There is a lot to learn and
a lot to do.”
Chaplin will soon resume
her studies toward a major in American studies and studio
art, but she will return to Smith with new skills and knowledge—not to mention a whole new
source of great recipes. “I’ve learned a ton
about how a Web-based company works, as well as the mechanics
of developing a tool that is functioning and accessible for
its users,” she said.