Meal outlaw is a good example of a web 2.0 site.

It relies completely on user-entered data; providing only a format in which to display your data, and ways to distribute it. There are several such services, but the others tend to associate with large databases of recipes. This one does not.

I discovered Meal outlaw through a link provided in the comments of a post about menu planning. To use Meal outlaw, you have to join. You can either sign up with your facebook account, or create a Meal outlaw account. The creation is a simple process, akin to all the other web 2.0 signups, except it asks for a security question and answer for password retrieval.

According to the about page, the idea for Meal outlaw came from Matthew Amster-Burton’s blog Roots & Grubs. Mr. Matthew Amster-Burto is a food writer living in Seattle. In the article that inspired Meal outlaw, explains the inspiration for listing what he’s eating this week as:

Aside from the purely voyeuristic element, hearing about what other people are making for dinner gives me ideas for what to cook myself.

When I entered my first week of menus, I went to the calendar, clicked on a day, clicked on “add a meal to this day” then entered the information. It was a lot of clicking for adding a title, some tags, a link and any notes. But when it was done, I had a week-long calendar of meals that I could print either from the screen or into PDF. There is a quicker way to add data – right from the front page in fewer page-refreshes and clicks.

Overall the service is a nice one. It allows you to subscribe to your calendar of meals – or anyone else’s via RSS or iCal. You can also add comments and photos to your meals, and comments to everyone else’s.

The creator of the service, J.R. Tipton, welcomes suggestions and even provides his own email address on the about page. I completely concur with Mr. Tipton’s statement that there is a wide proliferation of threads, web sites, and blog posts about what to make for dinner. I’m glad I found Meal outlaw, but it made me wonder about all the other ones out there.

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