The New York Times has announced that NYT Cooking, its site and app for all things food, is going to use a subscription model. For $5 a month users can have unlimited access to its treasure trove of classy recipes. Instead of the interface now, where users can just open the app and search for recipes, they will be asked to log in.
NYT Cooking is one of the best cooking apps around—it’s wonderful for people unsure of what to make and looking for a variety of trusted suggestions. I browse it multiple times a week. This subscription model update means the end of the best free cooking app available, though non-paying subscribers will still have limited access.
I don’t begrudge media companies for trying to figure out new monetization avenues, and this is surely a smart one. The Times went a similar route with its Crossword app, and I am sure more of its non-news spin-off services will see a similar fate. But one of the best parts about NYT Cooking was that it was free! And that anyone could use it! Alas, that era is no more. And my future cuisine will likely have much less of that Mark Bittman and Melissa Clark je ne sais quoi.