The New York Times Cooking is letting readers taste test recipes over text to drive subscriptions

The New York Times is trying out a new way to boost subscriptions and engagement to its paywalled NYT Cooking recipe platform. With a simple text featuring an emoji, the publisher is dishing out 150 recipes for free.

From June 21 through August 15, people in the U.S. can text one fruit or vegetable emoji — like a strawberry, tomato, coconut or corn on the cob — to “361-COOK-NYT” and receive a link to a recipe for free featuring that food item. They will also get early access to special NYT Cooking events starting this July, such as cherry picking in Michigan. Normally, it would cost a subscriber $5 a month to access these features.

Once readers get a recipe, they can text that same emoji up to five times to get different recipes featuring that same ingredient. The recipes come from a pool of them that the Times team deemed popular, are easy to make and highlighted summer produce, said Camilla Velasquez, general manager of New York Times Cooking.

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