New York Times Cooking has had a blockbuster year

·2-min read
New York Times Cooking counts 600,000 subscribers.

The year 2020 has had an undeniable impact on our eating habits. Our continuous presence at home has led us to spend more time behind the stove, where we have tried our hand at fermentation or banana bread. A craze for home-cooked meals that has greatly benefited New York Times Cooking.

The US media giant wagered back in 2014 that it could lure home cooks to use its new site devoted to recipes over the popular specialist publications like Bon Appétit and Eater. Six years later, this mission has been accomplished. New York Times Cooking had nearly 600,000 paid subscribers in the third half of 2020. For the entire year, the platform attracted 113 million foodies thanks to its rich catalog of recipes and culinary guides, a 40% increase over 2019.

"NYT Cooking has become the only resource home cooks need for great recipes and well-researched food journalism. Cooking's recipes, advice and inspiration surprise and delight our subscribers with whatever they need -- a breakfast in 10 minutes, meals that become delicious leftovers, and more. We know our users are looking for inspiration to make the every day less everyday, and this campaign helps them do that through cooking," outlines Amanda Rottier, general manager of NYT Cooking.

Although New York Times Cooking adopted a pay model as early as 2017, the American daily newspaper temporarily removed the paywall from the recipes in its "What To Cook" collection during the pandemic. A commercial gesture that makes sense for Sam Sifton, founding editor of NYT Cooking and assisting managing editor at the Times. "When life is difficult, when the news is bad, when terrible things happen, our numbers go up. Terrorist attack? Make beef stew. I'm not cynical about that. It's human nature to want to nest and make delicious things when the news outside is frightful," he explained to specialist publication Digiday.

Recipes from surprising sources

As the pandemic pushed 54% of Americans to spend more time behind the stove, New York Times Cooking journalists have revised their editorial mission to raise awareness of the impact of the health crisis on the restaurant industry. They have not abandoned the recipes that make them successful, but have reviewed the way they credit their creators on the platform. The American icon is now mentioned on New York Times Cooking as the inventor of a stuffing composed, among other things, of chicken livers, parmesan and nuts.

According to the American daily, nearly 20% of the 2000 recipes on NYT Cooking would need to be rewritten to mention the person who invented them, in addition to the journalists who brought them up to date. ""There are historic journalistic practices that need to be revisited or revised," noted Darun Kwak, a product manager at NYT Cooking.