What Can Your Website Learn From the NY Times Cooking Section?

Whether or not you classify yourself as a “foodie,” if you like to cook, you’ve probably heard someone praise the New York Times Dining & Wine section. If you haven’t…what is wrong with you?

I don’t self-identify as a foodie, but I’ve loved to cook ever since my mom let me use our old hand mixer to get cookie dough started. I even thought about cooking for a career until I decided I was tired of smelling like food all the time.

But that doesn’t mean I gave up on cooking—far from it! I may not have been able to cook in my dorm during college, but we did get free issues of the New York Times. That’s when I discovered that every Wednesday The Gray Lady has the best food section of any newspaper on the planet. It’s even better than most food magazines, and they only have one job.

Unfortunately the free subscription stopped after I graduated, but I subscribed and I check back every Wednesday. This week I made another discovery that I somehow missed: beyond the old Dining & Wine section, there’s cooking.nytimes.com. Oh my.

Besides the same gorgeous photography and great recipes, there’s a whole pantry full of other features.

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You too could be color coding!

Immediately you’re probably thinking of takeaways for your own site—or a client’s—and there are tons. From the attractive and elegant layout to the interactive and instructional touches and even color coded categories, this site has so many tricks you can borrow. I mean, in essence, it’s just a blog. But add in high-quality content and dead-simple usability and suddenly it’s so much more than that.

Where do you find inspiration for your projects? Have you seen a site that’s made your mouth water recently?

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