The dear husband is getting a well-deserved break from blog duties this month. I can’t report on 3D special effects or innovative product design, but in time for Halloween, you can follow the horrors of my creatively obsessive synapses tackling the minutiae in my life. Specifically, organizing recipes. Are you riveted? Read on…
I had to admit defeat. I was buried in recipes. It was time yet again to tackle organizing them. But, how to do it? Have my failures gained me any wisdom? Let’s see…
The first iteration I attempted was an analog notion to scan recipes I want to keep, print them out, put them in sheet protectors and keep them in binders. Lesson learned: It’s the Cat in the Hat solution–now I have cookbooks AND binders proliferating. Also, the process is too cumbersome, so that once I made the first pass, nothing was added.
Which brought me to organizational effort #2: a digital folder of PDFs. I learned from my Luddite approach to not print out the recipes, but just keep them on my computer and upload to Dropbox as needed where I can view them on my iPad in the kitchen. Lesson learned: I’m not going to sift through a list of thousands of file names to pick recipes. I need better sorting ability, search capability and pictures. I need access to all recipes, not upload to Dropbox as needed.
What I decided would help is determining the criteria for a system. Here is what I wanted:
1. Free!: I don’t mind paying for software, but there is a trend toward annual fees for access that I am not happy about. And I suspect that any app that is basically a database and requires many hours of data entry on the part of the user, will logically turn around and demand larger and larger annual fees, upgrade prices and/or in-app purchases. It’s your typical shakedown–“I’d hate to see anything happen to those pretty recipes. You might want to protect them.”
2. The cloud: I want to access data wherever I am and on any device.
3. OCR: Yup, OCR for the OCD. It’s the only way to be able to power a comprehensive search unless you type the recipes in the app. I did exhaustive research on recipe apps (surprised?) and found there were quite a few that actually required you to TYPE THEM IN! Are you kidding me? Who would do that?
4. Longevity: I saw some good looking apps with shiny faced young developers that were proud of their crowdfunding and all I could think was “this won’t be around next year”.
5. Non-platform specific: I’d like to have access on my phone while I’m shopping, my iPad while cooking, and my computer while planning.
6. PDF reader: As my recipes are all saved as PDFs, I’d like to simply upload them and not have to reconfigure everything.
I dismissed a lot of options. All the recipe apps had problems: not free, not universal (generally, had to be loaded on devices and only available to specific platforms), too much effort to load and customize, and no guarantee of longevity. Many people use Pinterest and it has its appeal: free, recipes online typically can be saved to Pinterest with a click and they feature pictures. But, and I’m a bit amazed by this, they don’t have much search capability within a board and though it’s easy to save something from an online source, to upload your own items requires a jpg format for the picture and typing everything else. Nope. Not happening. I examined various databases and spreadsheets. None met my criteria. I was afraid this magical solution simply couldn’t be found.
I finally consulted with my brilliant friend Ann, who simply said, “have you tried —“.
To be continued…Share this: