With The Recipe Factory, these things are possible. And the future could bring even more possibilities. Currently the USDA nutrition database is used as the basis for most predictions of nutrition, taste, inflammation & glycemic load. The USDA nutrition database is large, apparently the largest in the world and most used. However, it is far from complete. While including thousands of foods, it only represents a small fraction of edible plants. And among the foods it does include, large portions of specific nutrient information is missing. This is an issue not only for The Recipe Factory, but for most nutritional analysis that relies on the USDA database. The USDA does improve and expand the database periodically, for example about 10% from 2009 to 2010. But at this rate it will take many decades to begin to cover a majority of nutrients of the foods in the database, let alone cover the thousands of edible plants not yet in the database.
The future could bring even more possibilities via The Recipe Factory and perhaps other new similar application sites because of advances in life science. The publicly accessible genomic, epigenomic, protenomic, transcritomic and metabolic pathway databases (see Plant Science), along with the substantial daily expansion of these and accumulated related scientific literature are beginning to enable the prediction of nutritional and phytochemical contents within plants given environments and specific parts (e.g. seed, root, leaf, fruit) of the plant.
Meanwhile, there are a number of more readily attainable goals for The Recipe Factory. Adding more recipes created using the application is one example. Additional predictions can be made and the recipe creation step can be automated. In fact, the original application which runs stand-alone on a computer creates entire recipes using the aesthetic and nutritional maximum and minimum values, along with what foods to use, what food groups to use and what foods and food groups to avoid. However, as is, it runs too slowly for most people as an online application, so some speed optimization is in the works to bring it to recipefactory.net. And adding tutorials would probably be helpful to many people new to using the application.
If you have noticed all the attention to plants above, and not so much attention to meat and dairy, there are a number of reasons for this. After studying nutrition, digestion, cell biology, ecology, economics, geopolitical conflicts due to competition for resources, etc., it became obvious that veganism (or at least vegetarianism) has overwhelming benefits. But, if you like meat, you can still use The Recipe Factory for creating meat based recipes. Please consider trying the substitution method to at least supplement the meat in your meals, paying attention to the improved nutritional profile (depending on the ingredients you select).
After creating this for his own use, Kevin Ferguson 's friends and family expressed interest in the application. Thus, recipefactory.net was created to allow anyone with internet access to use the application.
Kevin Ferguson has spent decades studying and creating mathematical models of human perception and associated applications. His graduate thesis work resulted in an application that used audio samples to automatically construct a mathematical model of the source of sound. For example, samples of plucked strings of a guitar are input, a math model is constructed in order to produce the notes input, but also to interpolate and extrapolate in order to predict how any note would sound on the instrument. A perceptual model was also included in this so as to ignore portions of the signal that we do not hear. The human perception model use principles involved in this are similar to those used in MP3 and other popular audio compression methods. Next he developed human vision models, resulting in several patents, a Technical Emmy Award winning product line at Tektronix, photosensitive epilepsy trigger detection and improvements in video codecs for special applications. Other related work includes emotional and aesthetic models for art, music, literature and food.
Aside from the perceptual, aesthetic, science, engineering and performance work, Kevin worked for Hoefer Scientific Instruments in the late 1980's, where he designed and prototyped DNA & protein sequencing equipments, and one of the first PCR machines. PCR became a critical link in the human genome project and genomic database creation for other organisms, including plants.
While a substantial portion of life science man hours are devoted to making money for large drug companies, large agricultural companies aiming to create more GMO's and the like, it is his hope that other individuals will share the enthusiasm for applying fascinating life sciences to enable us all, as individuals, to help ourselves through diet and medicinal wonders that already exist in nature.