I like food. It’s a turn on. Dining out is great and there’s no shortage of good restaurants these days.
Dining in? That’s another story. Preparing a great, gourmet meal is a huge turn on for me.
How do I track and organize my prized and cherished recipes? MacGourmet. Why? Because I can. Because I need to. Organization is not my strong point. Eating is.
Remembering what ingredient goes into what recipe is just not as easy as selecting an item from a menu when someone else is picking up the tab (my preference).
Dining at home is a different story. Real thought has to go into the menu selection. It’s not just a matter of what I want to eat. There’s that whole “do I have the ingredients” thing to consider.
Ingredients. Ahh. There’s a problem whose time has come. Often. Recipes. That’s what you need the ingredients for, right Bambi? Right.
A few years ago I ditched the little plastic box and began storing my most prized and cherished recipes using my Mac and MacGourmet. Why?
Well, I’m a Mac user and my PowerBook travels with me everywhere. I’m always connected. I travel plenty. Plenty. PowerBook on hand means I can gather recipes from all over.
Why do I do this? Think about it. The Mac is our digital hub. Steve Jobs said so, so it’s official.
I use my Mac for Mail and browsing. Duh. I use it for iTunes music and now videos. I use iPhoto for digital photos. I use iDVD to create videos from photos and I send CDs to friends and family.
Why not use such a tool to track my favored recipes? See how clever I am with new technology?
MacGourmet does the tracking. But just as I get more than just music and photos from iTunes and iPhoto, I need more from a recipe collector.
For example, ingredients. No recipe is complete without a list of ingredients. I usually know what I have stocked in the pantry and fridge, but not always.
There’s always a shopping list or two floating around; the one inside my head (more room to float; I’m blonde, you know), one stuck to the fridge, and for years, the Stickies on my Mac.
Recipes are only part of the gourmet cooking process. Keeping little hints and notes about a particular recipe is necessary, too.
Visually, MacGourmet functions just like iTunes, and iPhoto. Lists in the left column correspond to Playlists and Albums.
The lists can be My Recipes, My Notes, My Shopping Lists, etc. Inside My Recipes, you can create Smart Lists, such as Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Steak, French, Italian, and so on.
See? The wheels are turning around in your head. I can tell. The taste buds are awakening to the electronic efficiency you may now apply to previous drudgery.
What’s cool about MacGourmet is how quickly everything begins to add up, so the whole of your “digital gourmet hub” becomes more than the sum of the parts.
Take search, for example. Search recipes, search notes, search ingredients, search preparation time, add photos (that’s another use for that digital camera, you know?)
Once you’ve got a handle on a good collection of recipes and ingredients (remember, they go hand in hand in MacGourmet), then the search becomes fun.
Check your ingredients, enter them into Quick Find, and get a list of recipes to match the ingredients you have on hand. That alone is sooooo cool I should repeat it. Enter ingredients, get recipes to match.
MacGourmet tracks the recipe source; like Bon Appetit from November 2004. Just as in iTunes, you can rate a recipe, too. I tend to have a lot of four and five star recipes and nothing else.
I figure, “If it’s in here, it’s good enough to eat.” Maybe they could add a Diner Review section where your friends and family could type in their own reviews.
For now, it’s just me and I tend to think that everything I cook is pretty good. OK, no one’s died yet, but you get the idea. Sometimes people come over for dinner. Again.
What? You don’t plan to carry your 15-inch MacBook Pro into the kitchen just so you can spill stuff on it and get it all oily and greasy? Ne neither.
MacGourmet has a nifty utility feature called Chef View.
It makes big that which is small (on screen, not bra filler, or visions from Dr. 90210). I can park my PowerBook on a table away from the cooking area, yet the screen makes it easy to read.
Or, print out the complete recipe. Whichever gets the meal on the table works for me. I’m only picky when eating.
MacGourmet’s “notes” features are what you’ll use to get started. There’s Cooking Notes, Wine Notes (side bar; I don’t usually do much with wine… as someone is always bringing something over for me to try; if you’re blonde, you understand).
So, here’s the deal. If you like food, if you love to eat, if you’re into cooking, and you’re a Mac user, MacGourmet is a good place to start. This is not a little plastic container of index recipe cards.
This is fun and cool at the same time. The end result is more food, better food, more fun.
It’s another tool for the digital hub at home. There’s just one thing it needs. Integration into Front Row. Think about it. You’re watching TV, flick on Front Row, select Recipes and Menus, and up pops photo after photo of recipes you could cook.
It could happen. Click Here for the MacGourmet details. Do you use a Mac to manage recipes? Shop for food? Check out restaurants? Share your experience in the Comments section below.