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Recipe software?

Sharuf Mar 17, 2002 01:01 PM

Looking for recommendations for software to store my recipes.

They say one of the things that reminds you of your own mortality is the realization that you will never get around to cooking even a fraction of the recipes you have accumulated.

I need to get things organized and on my computer -- maybe I'll even get around to writing that recipe book I've been threatening to do for so long.

I could put on my programmer's hat and create my own application, but I'd rather just buy it off the shelf. Recommendations?

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  1. s
    saucyknave RE: Sharuf Mar 17, 2002 01:11 PM

    What exactly do these software programs do for you? And don't you have to type in recipes or reformat scanned recipes anyhow? Please describe for the uninitiated how some of these programs function.


    7 Replies
    1. re: saucyknave
      kc girl RE: saucyknave Mar 17, 2002 04:24 PM

      I got one recipe software with the new computer I bought to replace the small “dinosaur” in my kitchen (it had WordPerfect 5.1 on it and was DOS run!!!). Thank goodness I have another system with Windows, etc. Anyway,

      Let's Get Cooking
      author/chef: Mark Bittman


      I looked it up on the Internet to find a place to buy it and it looks as if it is running out and not available on some of the sites. It was listed as available on the 1bookstreet.com site, but with a note at the bottom said that things sell out fast.

      Description: "Cooks who thrive on step-by-step guidance will also love the illustrated techniques for making everything from pizza and piecrusts to guacamole and ravioli. This is a much more visual experience than cooking from traditional cookbooks, and Mark Bittman appears on the screen to guide you at every stage.

      "You'll also find nutritional counts, a glossary of cooking terms and ingredients, instant shopping lists, and great links to culinary Web sites."

      OTHER sites I saw during my search that listed cookbook software:




      Now, I have just played the Let’s Get Cooking software so far and it looks pretty good, but - who knows.?. I also have to figure out how to work in Windows XP!

      Hope that helps.

      So, I am hoping maybe some others have experience. I think it would be nice if there was a “blank” cookbook software program also so one could scan in pictures of my creations (like my sandcastle cake that changes every time I make it!!!


      Link: http://www.1bookstreet.com/product.as...

      1. re: kc girl
        saucyknave RE: kc girl Mar 17, 2002 05:29 PM

        From the website description, it's not clear that you can plug in your own or other recipes. I assume you would then have to type in every recipe the program doesn't come with???

        1. re: saucyknave
          kc girl RE: saucyknave Mar 17, 2002 05:35 PM

          Yes, somewhat. And that's the beauty of the program. It gives you a pull down list of food items you would just click on, but I noticed some ethnic food items were not listed - such as lemon grass. In that case, you would have to type in every letter!

      2. re: saucyknave
        kc girl RE: saucyknave Mar 17, 2002 05:03 PM

        Oooops! put the first thread in the wrong place!

        In answer to your question, yes, you do have to type things in rather than scan, sometimes. There are ways around that though. You scan into your word processing and then cut and paste. I don't know if it works with scanned pictures though. I am just beginning to discover my Let's Get Cooking Software.

        I say "sometimes" because there are list of food items to choose from and simply highlight and enter (much like an address book in e-mail). On this particular software, you enter the food items, then at a next window, you enter the amount. Timing on this not bad, and formatting is consistent. You can view the entire recipe or print it out.

        Other features in the software I have are:

        * Measure calculations and metric scale conversion.
        * Search for an one ingredient and get ready recipes that include it.
        * Cooking How Tos
        * Cooking FAQs answered by 5 well-known chefs.
        * Make a Meal let's you choose a main entree, a starch, a vegetable, a bread, etc., and recipes you put in are also shown in the cache to choose from.
        * Helps you make a shopping list
        * Shows table arrangement and "proper" food positioning on the plate itself
        * Lots of really good pictures.
        * "Live" shot instructions on certain topics from famous chefs. And, of course, constant live shots of the author, Mark Bittman.

        I also noticed that many of the recipes are basic American 1970-90; about 1,200 of them from good, well-known chefs.

        It could be useful to "jog" someones memory or be helpful for just learners of any age. I guess that would be true of many paper cookbooks, but, hey - this is the cyberage, right? Many new hardcopy cookbooks include a CD-ROM in them.

        But to write your own - now that's quite a generous undertaking. Originality is, well, unique.

        As with cyber guides, there's a "search" capability.

        I created a cookbook using tables in MS Word and WordPerfect and kept the formatting for future discoveries and themes. The pictures were hand-drawn cartoons and I just let the printer deal with that.

        Now there are many graphics software programs one could use for the visuals - or just scan in your children's art? And digital cameras - personalizing is getting easier. Now I just need to see if I can enter these into my Let's Get Cooking software.

        1. re: kc girl
          saucyknave RE: kc girl Mar 17, 2002 06:03 PM

          kc girl, thanks for all the information. Do I understand you are using this program on XP. The website only says '95 & '98. I have ME. If you're able to use it on XP, I guess it will work on ME which is just a jazzed up '98.

          1. re: saucyknave
            kc RE: saucyknave Mar 17, 2002 06:34 PM

            I WILL, because the program came with the XP computer package. But right now, I am using it on Windows 98. My new monitor for the system hasn't arrived yet, so I have to cart this system's monitor from my bedroom to the kitchen and, frankly, that's a little pain in the butt right now.

            Sorry to go off subject, Board . . . saucyknave what's ME? Is that like NT? You're telling me something new.

            Oh, here it is:


            Millenium Edition. I don’t know if it you can use the "Viacom Company" disck "Let's Get Cooking" on ME. Probably.

            QUOTE from the site: Windows Me is not a new Windows version; the user interface makes the program look like Windows 2000, but "under the hood" it's still Windows 9x code.
            New in Windows Me are:
            System Restore function
            A new TCP/IP stack
            Windows Media Player 7
            Internet Explorer 5.5
            Movie Maker application for recording, editing, publishing, and organizing audio and video content
            No Real mode DOS

            Best wishes!

            1. re: kc
              saucyknave RE: kc Mar 17, 2002 08:17 PM

              Thanks kc girl, I think Lets Get Cooking will be compatible since ME is just a souped up '98 from what I understand. You've been very helpful.

      3. d
        Deb E. RE: Sharuf Mar 17, 2002 02:21 PM

        I use Mastercook. I have a very old version, but there are several newer ones on the market. It comes with many cookbooks with recipes (I never use those), but you can also write your own cookbook. You can email a recipe to someone directly from the program.

        I can "copy and paste" from the web and put a recipe right into my book. Recipes can be categorized in an index and they print out quite well. I haven't tried it, but supposedly you can even print out recipe cards.

        When typing in a recipe, the program will automatically fill in common cooking terms for you (teaspoon, flour, sugar, etc.). Once you get used to it, it can go very fast.

        If you are interested, it can calculate nutritional info and make a shopping list.

        Overall, it has worked very well for me, but if anyone knows of a program that is just a blank cookbook I would be interested. I have never used any of the recipes that come with the program and can't figure out a way to get rid of them so that they don't take up space on my computer.

        Good luck!!

        1. n
          Nancy Berry RE: Sharuf Mar 18, 2002 09:52 AM

          I use MasterCook 6.0, also, but there is a complication at the present time. The MasterCook title has been sold by its present owner and developer to another developer, so it isn't readily available. I really like this program and recommend it (the 6.0 version is infinitely better than the others) extremely highly. The old owners (Sierra) still have a message board for support and there is lots and lots of support via personal web pages and mailing-lists.

          I can easily enter recipes via a text editor or import already formatted (and there are thousands of these available on the web) recipes from mailing-lists or websites. I use a text editor called NoteTab and the "Import Assistant" that comes with MasterCook to enter my own recipes or unformatted recipes into MC's database.

          Once these recipes are entered into "cookbooks," I can search on keyword, title, ingredient, author, category, etc. I can also e-mail recipes, print cookbooks (in all sorts of styles,) print individual recipes, import pictures with the recipes, create shopping lists and menus, and scan recipes into a text editor and import those recipes into the database.

          I like the program very much and use it every day. One thing, though. Beware of version 5.0 of this program. It's very buggy. Version 6.0 was essentially a major bug fix and I recommend that version.

          For more info, go to the following link:

          Link: http://community.sierra.com/WebX?14@@...

          1. d
            Doug Weller RE: Sharuf Mar 18, 2002 04:46 PM

            Mastercook 6 or Now You're Cooking, which is at:



            1. c
              CTer RE: Sharuf Mar 19, 2002 11:31 AM

              Why? I've got 2 file drawers full, with more to put away. If I were to enter all my clippings, I'd lose that sensation of pulling out a file, flipping through it, reading everything in it, and eventually deciding that I didn't need a "real" recipe anyway.

              The only computer applications I use for my food stuff are: 1) a database of what I have in my freezer, fridge, and closets, so I can easily decide what to use to make dinner; and 2) a spreadsheet of all my 500+ cookbooks (the db application wouldn't print nicely).

              2 Replies
              1. re: CTer
                cjb RE: CTer Mar 19, 2002 02:23 PM

                This (chowhound) is my only food related computer application!
                But, really, I *love* rifling through my recipe books and papers. Unlike you, I do feel more comfortable following a recipe (at least the bones of one), and luckily (g) I have oodles (and counting).
                For those of you with the computer recipe files, is your computer in the kitchen? How do you use the recipe - do you print it out? Rewrite by hand? I've always wondered about that!

                1. re: cjb
                  saucyknave RE: cjb Mar 19, 2002 10:28 PM

                  Unlike CTer, I don't keep track of what's in the pantry, freezer, etc. on my computer, but I do keep lots of recipes on it. This is particularly useful as I take my laptop with me when I go out of town to visit family.

                  In addition to old fav's and some of my own recipes that I typed in years ago, I have lots that have been taken off the web and scanned in from magazines or books. This doesn't keep me from leafing through cookbooks. But when there's something there I want to try, I scan it in and work either from the computer directly or a print out (which I prefer).

                  The best part is that I can do a search using any word or phrase, etc., and come up with a list of every recipe that contains it. This search works better than most of the ones I've used on various websites.

                  Up til now I have simply typed/scanned/downloaded the recipes and organized them by my own system of ingredients and techniques. I am considering getting one of these programs, though I wonder if it could do much more for me.

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