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fridge Googling also fridge-googling

noun [uncountable]

looking for a recipe on the Internet by doing a Google™ search based on the words which describe the food left in your fridge

fridge Google also fridge-google

verb [intransitive/transitive]

'Glad to learn what to do when my fridge is housing wilting lettuce, about to expire cream cheese and a lonely take-home box of half eaten hamburger. If I'd only known about fridge Googling before now we'd have been dining on delicious meals and cleaning out the fridge at the same time.'

Personal weblog30th August 2006

'In fact, I'm "fridge googling" in the kitchen on my laptop right now, and I think I hear some random, long ago abandoned pantry and fridge items calling out to me.'

Parenthacks.com 14th June 2006

Unsure what to cook for dinner tonight? Look no further than the computer in front of you. In an age where the Internet can provide information on just about anything, the online world's answer to culinary problems has given birth to a new expression: fridge Googling.

the term fridge Googling describes the practice of looking through the contents of your refrigerator to see what raw ingredients you can easily lay your hands on, and using those words as a basis for a Google search term

It's a familiar scenario. We're not sure what to cook, so we look at a cookery book and discover a recipe which sounds great in principle, but we only have half the ingredients to hand. If we can't face trailing out to the supermarket, we scour the cupboards and try to think of something that can be made out of what's available — but it's the 21st century, so why not let the Internet do the thinking for you?

Fridge Googling is the practice of looking through the contents of your refrigerator to see what raw ingredients you can easily lay your hands on, and using those words as a basis for a Google search term (which usually also incorporates the word 'recipe' somewhere) in order to get a list of suggestions of what to cook. For instance, if you enter the search terms eggs, and cheese, then you might expect your search to deliver a number of 'hits' based around a cheese omelette.

An inevitable consequence of using Internet search engines, fridge Googling can potentially deliver an enormous range of possibilities, from simple and wholesome through to complex, calorific or even indigestible! If you're contemplating a shot at fridge Googling this evening, some simple tips to bear in mind:

  • Be specific. Typing tomatoes and pasta for instance will yield literally thousands of recipes.
  • If you have a preference for the way you want the food to be cooked, throw in cooking terms such as grilled or poached.
  • Use the minus sign (-) to eliminate food items or cooking methods that you don't want, e.g. chicken, mushroom, -cream, or eggs, ham, -fried.

If all this seems like too much effort, a more straightforward approach to fridge Googling is to go to food sites like foodnetwork.com, which have integral search facilities for yielding hundreds of tried and tested recipes. Bon Appetit!

Background – fridge Googling

Though the term fridge Googling has only been in use for the last couple of years or so, the concept behind it has been around a while longer, and was originally referred to as Google cooking. This expression is thought to have been coined in 2002 by Bostonian blogger Judy Hourihan, a former Massachusetts software engineer, who gained media attention when she decided to enlist Google's assistance for suggestions on what to do with a piece of salmon and a bunch of Swiss chard!

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 19th February 2007.

Open Dictionary

chicken raffle

any random process, such as a competition in which a name is drawn from a hat

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