Since the release of V2/DX flavors (and other vendors making changes to their own flavor names etc) there has been something that has been getting to me. We currently lack a viable means of searching for recipes with flavorings that can be defined as “Similar To” another flavor. If a recipe calls for, say, 10 ingredients that I do have but they use Vanilla Custard V1 (CAP) and I only have Vanilla Custard V2 (CAP) then that recipe won’t show up for me because I lack one of the ingredients… even though technically I don’t lack the ingredient as I’ve opted for only using DX/V2 etc. So even though the flavor profile won’t be 100% spot on it’d still be the closest I could possibly get while still avoiding Diacetyl, Acetyl Propionyl, and Acetoin. This holds true for even simple recipes that may call for, say, Vanilla Custard V1 and Strawberry Ripe. Substituting V2 for the V1 may have some slight differences but it is similar enough that the end result would still be a strawberry custard whereas if I substituted Coffee for Vanilla Custard V1 it obviously wouldn’t be even remotely similar.
The “Similar To” search option could be set up any number of ways but the way I would start it myself would be to have administration manually go through the flavors and “link” specific ones to each other. For instance I’d have them “link” Vanilla Custard V1 (CAP) to Vanilla Custard V2 (CAP), DX Bavarian Cream (TPA) to Bavarian Cream (TPA) etc. After the general v2’s and alternate names are “linked” I’d then implement a “Include Flavors Similar To” header where the user may then select check boxes beside the flavors in their stash they’re willing to compromise on to include in their search for recipes as acceptable substitutes. As said above, similar is as close as some of us will get to specific recipes that call for multiple flavorings that we may not approve of. The status of the check boxes would be saved for searches in the future as template form data so the user won’t have to check those flavors every single time they want to use the “Similar To” option.
I’d then allow the user to create their own personal links between flavors. This could be done by clicking the flavor and marking it manually as similar to another specific flavor. This is very handy. Not everyone’s taste buds are the same and some of us may think two flavors are exactly the same whereas others may think they are night and day. If the whole community agrees that Strawberry Ripe (TPA) is nothing like Strawberry (FA) then cool, but if John Smith logs in and decides they are close for him then he should be able to select to include those as viable substitutes for one another.
After someone has manually linked their own “similar to” preferences their crowd data gets added to the flavor’s profile and offered as suggestions when someone is linking flavors in their stash. Sometimes flavors are wildly different despite sharing similar names- I wouldn’t advise substituting Catalan Cream in place of Fresh Cream in a smooth strawberry vape. But if someone wants to manually link the two for their own stash if they’re low on flavorings then I don’t see why the recipes shouldn’t populate for them. Likewise if the user is unsure if something could be a viable substitute then the crowd data could help persuade them with percentages. “Oh, uh, guess I shouldn’t link Catalan Cream and Fresh Cream, only 2% of users agree these can be substituted. Must be more different than I thought” lol Additionally, if someone has never tried a specific flavor from a different vendor then they could still link them together via suggested substitute if the crowd data said they are “close enough” to each other (i.e. any number of variants on “base” flavors between brands etc).
I know and understand that I could solve the problem with a temporary solution; all I have to do is manually add each of the flavors I don’t own to my flavor stash and the recipes will populate. If I don’t own Stawberry CAP Strawberry FA Strawberry TPA Strawberry LA then I can still add them to my stash to allow for those recipes to appear that include one variant over the other. But that’s working around a lack of functionality where the ideal solution would be to instead have the option present to us to not have to workaround. A key point of all of this is that everyone is different and all recipes can be slightly altered to personal tastes. If we can add or substitute ingredients on our own to make a recipe more to our liking then it isn’t unrealistic to want an option to allow us our own preferences while searching.
There are a million ways this could be implemented and that is just one suggestion. There are probably better ways to do it lol But the general idea is that if someone hates all strawberry flavors except for Strawberry Ripe then they should still be allowed to search for all recipes including any strawberry flavor and decide for themselves if they want to risk substituting the flavor in. If someone is just starting DIY and only have one brand of custard then they should still be allowed to search for all recipes that include a custard regardless of brand so that they can make something similar to a good recipe.
Thoughts? Sorry for the book.