I have no intention of reopening the discussion of whether or not these questions are appropriate at all. I don't love them, but I'm not really offended by them either. If we have to have just one category of "soft" questions, this might as well be it.

But one thing we do need to fix is the tags. They're all over the place with these questions. I've seen [technique], [cooking-techniques], [leftovers], [recipe], [ingredients], [(specific-ingredient)], [(type-of-ingredient)], and so on.

Originally, during the private beta, I think this was the primary use of the [ingredients] tag, since that particular tag really has no other useful meaning. It was used as a shorthand for questions along the lines of "I have these ingredients, what can I make with them?" But admittedly, it's far from obvious that the [ingredients] tag is actually supposed to be used on those questions.

Before this turns into another dog's breakfast, let's decide on a consistent method for tagging these. The questions are all pretty consistent, so it shouldn't be too hard.


2 Answers 2


My own opinion - one term that's already fairly common on Wikipedia is "culinary uses" and I think we should stick with that ([culinary-uses]). It's a bit of a meta tag, but it's a lot less meta than something totally vague like [recipe-problems].

All questions of this nature should also be tagged with the specific ingredient, and the type of ingredient if it exists.


  • What can I do with a crapton of fennel seeds? [culinary-uses] [spices] [fennel]

  • What can I do with a dump truck full of guavas? [culinary-uses] [fruit] [guava]

  • I just had 4000 boxes of Capellini wash up on the beach outside my home. What am I supposed to do with all of these? [culinary-uses pasta capellini]

Alternatively, we could just leave out the meta-ish [culinary-uses] tag, but I'm inclined to use this one because it's valuable as a potential ignored tag.

  • I have a feeling that culinary-uses will rarely, if ever, occur to a first-time asker of these types of question. Should that matter?
    – hobodave
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 18:23
  • @hobodave: First-time askers rarely get the tags right period. This is for the benefit of retaggers as well.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 18:29
  • Also, you never know; if the tag is [culinary-uses] then it will pop up in the auto-complete if you start typing "use".
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 18:30
  • Then I think it's better than all the existing tags.
    – hobodave
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 19:14
  • i also like the [culinary-uses] tag, [recipe-problems] rarely fits a "what can i do with" question, [leftovers] doesnt always apply, and [ingredients] isnt really descriptive enough to me. short of [(specific ingredient)] i think [culinary-uses] is as good a tag as were going to find for this kind of question. Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 19:37
  • @stephen: To be clear, [recipe-problems] wasn't actually used for this type of question; I mentioned that tag to point out that as a meta-tag (tag that describes the question itself, not what the question is about), which I normally disapprove of, [culinary-uses] is nowhere near as bad as some of the other tags.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 20:09
  • Unfortunately it looks like a manual retag is in order for this, since the current usage is so inconsistent. Somebody's going to have a bump 10 or 20 questions (me, I guess).
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 20:10

I am also considering merging the existing [leftovers] tag into [culinary-uses] and making them synonyms.

The former is really just a subset of the latter, and although it's superficially interesting, it's not all that descriptive when you get right down to it. I just can't see much of a difference between "What can I do with X?" and "What can I do with leftover X?"

Please vote on the tag synonym suggestion (1000 rep required). If it passes, I'll do the merge. If not, I'll leave it alone (for now).

  • The vote passed. The tags have been merged.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 17:54

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