What's cooking? Twitter heats up the kitchen.

Chicago chef Rick Bayless, owner of restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, has started posting Twecipes, or recipes written in 140 characters or less, on Twitter.

Turns out Twitter is indeed much more than just mindless blather. Now, the social networking site is cooking up a new culinary trend: Tweeting recipes.

Rather than searching through a heavy cookbook or flipping through recipe cards, professional and novice cooks are posting Twecipes, or recipes written in 140 characters or less, on Twitter. It's the latest attempt to transform a social networking site into a cohesive cooking community – and tech-savvy foodies are following along.

Though you won't find this digital cookbook on your mother's book shelf, you will find some condensed recipes from Martha Stewart and Chicago Chef Rick Bayless.

Today, Martha Stewart's Twitter feed displayed a simple Twecipe for stewed rhubarb:

Stewed Rhubard - Cut lb rhubarb 1/2" +3/4 C sug/simmer 15 min + T corriander &grated orange rind + 2T buttr serve w/creme fraiche

Last week, Rick Bayless shared his Twecipe for Guajillo Salsa with his followers:

Simple Guajillo Salsa:toast 2 clnd guajillos n med-ht oil 4 20-30 sec.Blend w 4 rstd tomatillos,3 rstd garlic,1/2c H20. Salt.

"Twecipe" lingo

Because Twecipes are limited to 140 characters, critics often find the shortened recipes "confusing and half-baked," reports the Associated Press. One reason: Deciphering ingredients and measurements takes some skill.

In the Twitter universe, tablespoons are labeled with a capital "T" while teaspoons are defined with a lowercase "t," for example. Other abbreviations include "EVOO" for extra virgin olive oil, "s+p" for salt and pepper, and "mlt"for melt. (For those who are new to Twecipe lingo, here's a useful glossary filled with cooking terms and measurements.)

Another downside? Long recipes with many steps are difficult to Tweet. That's why some Twitizens opt to tweet cooking suggestions or tips instead. Christopher Kimball, publisher of Cook's Illustrated, tweeted a tip on how to quickly clean up after an oil spill in the kitchen, for example.

Some Twecipe fans argue the condensed recipes may get more people in the kitchen and that the shorter recipes, which call for less steps, may also help new cooks feel less intimidated. Twecipes are catching on in part because of the recession, notes The Guardian. That's because the micro-recipes are inexpensive to prepare since they call for fewer ingredients than traditional recipes.

An international, digital cookbook

Twitter is home to Twecipe authors from all over the world. Maureen Evans, an avid recipe condenser from Northern Ireland, has some 16,000 followers who read her Twitter feed filled with recipes for blueberry muffins, olive oil cookies, and banana bread. In North Carolina, Sioux Watson translates her recipe for gumbo for her Twitter feed. And in San Francisco, cookbook author Karen Solomon shares her recipes for brown butterscotch pudding and tamales.

With so many recipes to choose from, maybe the next time you're looking for a dinner idea, you'll turn to Twitter.

Care to share a Twecipe? Comment at @csmhorizonsblog.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.