Family and home

Digitizing your recipes

As of late, I’ve become a recipe fanatic. Although I usually make things that the family likes, I like to add something new weekly to expand their tastes, and to expand my knowledge. Sometimes it’s a winner, and many other times, well… it’s pretty close to a loser =).

One thing I love about the Internet is the wealth of information that is shared. While I usually use a device of some sort to view recipes, I still have printed out a herb and food pairing chart, and also have a wine and food pairing chart on hand. Resources like these are essential to having as hard copies in my home.

As for my recipes, they are mostly digital. Why?

  • Easy to use on a mobile device while cooking.
  • Easy to share with others.
  • Easy to add new items and trash old (or archive).
  • Easy to copy and paste the ingredients to a spreadsheet for a shopping list.
  • Can add recipes from anywhere and not lose them.
  • Reduce paper clutter and your carbon footprint.

How I store my recipes

Many sites have a registration where you can save your recipes, but I’ve found that I’d much rather have them in my own digital repositories. If ever I need to refer to the original recipe, I use the link provided with my own copy. These are the ways I store my recipes:

  • Google drive: Some items are split into the types by folder, but generally they are all just dumped into one folder. Google makes it extremely easy to do a search Smile.
    • If this is a printed recipe from a person dear to me, I make sure to scan the recipe and include it as an image, with the copied recipe. I don’t trash the original, but I know I’ll always have it.
    • If I have a hand copied or book recipe, I take it home and copy it from there.
  • Evernote: This is usually where I store my web found recipes. Because of the evernote browser plugins, it is much easier for me to highlight content and save to evernote rather than copy and paste into a new Google document. Furthermore, I make sure to use a job that will copy the item from evernote straight into my Google drive.

For each of my recipes, I have the ingredients listed in such a way that I can copy and paste them to a spreadsheet that includes the week recipes.  I also include keywords at the top of a recipe so that when I search for a recipe in Google drive, it popups quickly (dinner, easy, game night, etc).

Be mindful that there are some pretty great recipe organizers such as Living Cookbook , MacGourmet, and Big Oven; however, they were a little more than I needed and didn’t do what I wanted them to do.

If nothing else please use Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. as a backup!

Note: I’m a programmer by day, so I’m working on a simple, but useful Google drive solution that I’ll post (Drive since it is free and anyone can use it)

One great idea I found on chowhound was giving your recipes a subject like this:

(Protein) – (Ethnicity) – (cooking duration) – (resource) – (name of dish)

An example might be: VEGG – Italian – 0015 – CHOW – Macaroni and cheese

This tells me it’s a vegatian dish, italian, takes 0 – 15 minutes to cook, I found it on Chowhound, and it’s mac and cheese.
Over the years, I’ve added some other search functions to it, such as FAM for family recipes, DIET to categories recipes when I’m trying to lose weight, or seasons such as summer so I can find recipes that are more seasonal. My wife rolled her eyes for years until she understoon my methodolgy. I can always find the recipe I’m looking for in about 5 seconds. {source}

How to you manage your recipes?