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Food52’s New Online Catalog Puts Inspiration Close To The Checkout

Throwing a dinner party is a prime situation for e-commerce dominoes: You visit Pinterest to browse unrealistically chic table settings, and suddenly you’re at Crate & Barrel buying new napkins and a butter dish. You find a paella recipe on a food blog and suddenly you need a new pan.

A new website by Food52 launching Tuesday wants to contain that entire chain reaction. Called Provisions, it serves up the aspirational photos (i.e., homemade jam in vintage-style jars), the recipes, and then the products needed to create both.

Food52, which was founded by food writers Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, has been crowdsourcing and curating recipes since 2009. It will infuse Provisions with 22,000 recipes, food Q&As, original photography, and articles, which the e-commerce site will pair with products in catalog-like “collections.” A “jamming” collection, for instance, includes not only those vintage-style jars, which are available for purchase, but a recipe for Herb Jam with Olives and Lemon and an article about how to make pickles, both from Food52.

The recipe site, which has relied mostly on advertising revenue until now, will also do Provisions the favor of referring its 1.6 million unique monthly users and 650,000 subscribers. Eventually, CEO Amanda Hesser says the recipe site will refer readers to relevant Provisions products. “We think of them as siblings that get along really well,” she says of the two sites.

Commerce is meeting content when it comes to everything from men’s fashion to home furnishings. But Hesser argues that the relationship is particularly familial when it comes to food. “There’s inspirational blending of content and commerce [like fashion or home decorating], then there’s the practical,” she says, “and with food, you get both.”

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