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lstrelau

How do you track info for future use

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Chris Hennes just posted in the Morels thread:

"I played around today with a "new" way of extracting the flavor from the morels, borrowing from a Modernist Cuisine technique for infusing cream: I took four big morels, washed and chopped, and added them to about a half cup of cream and vacuum sealed it. I infused that sous vide at 185°F for 4 hours, and then used that as the cream for making a pasta sauce today. It was really effective, it amped up the morel flavor incredibly."

Such a great idea, of course gleaned from MC but a brilliant application. My problem is the aging brain cells. Don't have a need for that technique right now but it will be very useful at SOME point in the future.

Do any of you have any tricks, methods, smartphone apps or any other technique for storing, sorting and ultimate retrieval of miscellaneous bits of information like this?

EatYourBooks has come to the rescue for my cookbook collection now buyt don't know what to do with this sort of info.


Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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I started keeping note books. Nothing special, just a note books for school from the dollar store. I put stuff in that I'm making, stuff I want to do, and the results of stuff I've done and changes to be made. Things like that. I only write on the front side of the pages, so the back is free for me to add stuff when I revisit the topic. That helps things from becoming fragmented. Got a bunch of stains too, since I take it into the kitchen often to use.

I suppose you could do a similar thing with a text document on some sort of device, it'd be easily searchable that way. Pen and paper has just been easier for me to input.

Hmm, just occured to me, a blog would be a great way to archive all that information because you could easily include pictures and share it with people, and get their inputs via comments.

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All the recipes I've used from my books I first scan into my computer, then I print out a copy and typically put it into a 3 ring binder. That way if the page gets soiled, I can just print another one, or reference the .jpg on my laptop or phone if I need to. I like my cook books on the shelf, where they belong, not around sticky ingredients. But also, when I have something that I havent tried yet or is on the roster of things to do in the future, it doesnt get three hole punched, it gets put into a sleeve on the inside of the binder. I'm actually very suprised with what this system, its grown over the past few years, I just got dont putting tabs on pages to separate the confection, baked items, ice cream, sorbet, bread, and food safety papers. All in all, I guess I'm saying that digital copies work for me, its hard to lose those.

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We have discussed kitchen journals in these past topics:

I use a simple paper file folder and a separate piece of paper for every "idea" or recipe concept. I highlight the title that I have written in large letters at the top and file them alphabetically. I like to handle paper but the same concept would be software adaptable.

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For those with Macs, I have MacGourmet and it's a great program. I have tons of recipes in mine, and you can directly import recipes from many of the more popular sites in just a couple of clicks. Otherwise, just a few cut and pastes. I also keep our wine inventory and our thoughts on wines in it. I have the corresponding app on my iPad, so all my recipes transfer, and I can use it for shopping. And if someone asks for a recipe, I can email it to them in one click. Doesn't replace my cookbooks but it's where I put favorite recipes.

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I always try to carry a small notebook with me, any ideas get written down. I occasionally flip through the book for inspiration and any final recipes or techniques get turned into a viewable HTML file on my computer using similar formatting to the recipes in Modernist Cuisine.


Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

Host, eG Forums

avaserfirer@egstaff.org

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Look into Evernote. It's a free web app that also works on phones etc and is perfect for this sort of thing - i've just started using it myself. You can "clip" a URL or select some text (such as your snippet from Chris) and create a note from it. Notes can be tagged and also searched, so you could have categories or any number of ways to sort your notes and find things that would be relevant to what you're doing.

I have a physical notebook too but find that for some things it's not quite what i'm after.

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Microsoft onenote also a great note taker and available on iPhone etc, and with a windows live ID everything syncs up nicely. If you've bought office, depending on the version, you may have it on you machine already so a zero cost option. Not dissing Evernote in anyway


Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I use Evernote and OneNote for non-food applications, and Evernote for food stuff. I find them different beasts and I think for what you are describing Evernote is the easier choice. I find OneNote is more structured, plus the cloud nature of Evernote makes it quite portable. But check them both out as they are useful for lots of stuff!

Until I read the post above I didnt even know OneNote was available on iPhones.

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I find Google Docs is great for this sort of thing.

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Another vote for Evernote. You can have individual notebooks, you can tag, and you can use it from just about any device - your information is stored in their servers, and you can sync your device to them, thus getting around the problem of having to copy things to every machine you have.


V

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I would recommend that you don't use software to capture your notes.

I had a Palm Pilot and I loved it, I would prefer not to have left it behind. It had an excellent system for taking notes and I had a very extensive notebook in it. And then the hardware became obsolete and I had to upgrade. I gave it a great deal of thought and got an iPhone because I could synch what I had on the phone and what I had on my computer more easily.

Prying all of my data out of the Palm Pilot was a nightmare I vow never to repeat. When I did, I spent several weekends straight through copying and pasting and organizing files into something I call a NOTEBOOK on my computer. It's just a set of files of Word docs. I moved all cooking and food-related notes out of there and into a behemoth I created called COOKBOOK. COOKBOOK is an amazing work of art, if I do say so myself. It has everything in it. Recipes, books I'm writing, research, articles I capture of the the Web, etc., etc. If I need something to be mobile from COOKBOOK, I copy it to my Outlook Notes which will synch with the iPhone. I love that I can cross file -- for instance, if I'm thinking of making a recipe, I just copy the file and paste it into the file of stuff I'm wanting to make now. I print recipes out and throw them away after I've used them -- I copied all of my personal handwritten recipes into the digital file. I can also search. It does everything recipe software does to organize.

Why do such a nutty time-wasting thing? Because I read two stories on eGullet that gave me the willies:

Person number one lost her recipes in a fire.

Person number two had her recipes stolen by a burglar. (Yes! Can you imagine!)

I don't care to loose mine, so COOKBOOK is backed up in my safe deposit.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I'm still searching for the 'perfect' solution... At the moment I work with a mixture:

  • a handwritten notebook: I love that because of the nearly 'ancient' feel to the idea, as well as being able to have something 'solid' in your and + you don't need a PC, the downside might be that you can loose it because of water (maybe use a waterproof book?), fire etc. + is it not easily searchable
  • a wiki that I use mostly for keeping recipes that I share with friends (and for keeping ideas somewhere to find them), nice and easy, but I need the computer to use it (which is on most of the time anyways, but still...) It is searchable, but maintaining takes much longer than writing something down on paper
  • magazines that I scanned, OCR'd and saved as a PDF, very nice for searching, placeing cross reference and comments, etc. downside is that it takes much (much!) work to do that and the results are not always very nice (especially when text is above a picture, not solid color). I would love if you could get PDFs directly from the publisher, they have them anyways, especially for the free magazines that many of the Austrian supermarkets have as a marketing tool...
  • magazines & books that I still have on paper, often very nice to look at (especially if someone thought about typography etc.), hard to search through (I know that there are online platforms for that, but I still like the feeling of real paper, but I should try those)

The combination is far from perfect...but atm it seems to work (waiting for the supergau)

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Another vote for Evernote. I especially like that I can add things to Evernote on my computer, and then retrieve them on the iPad/phone/other computer/etc. It's really handy when I'm in the grocery store thinking "Oh, pork shoulder is on sale today, let's make that stew I made a few months ago, what other ingredients do I need again?" and I can whip out my phone and look up the recipe and get everything.

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Another vote for Evernote. One of my favourite features, not mentioned so far, is that you can snap a photo of something and it automatically syncs for retrieving later on your PC or phone or tablet.

Even better, photos in Evernote are automatically OCR'd (text recognition) for any text in the image, so you can take a photo of, say, a bottle of wine you liked, and later when you want to look it up but can only remember it was a merlot, search for 'merlot' in Evernote and it will bring back any notes that show the text 'merlot' anywhere in the image.

That's pretty damn handy, if you ask me. It even OCRs handwriting pretty well..you can scribble out a recipe, snap a photo of it with your phone, and later when you're looking for that recipe featuring, say, squid, a search on 'squid' will bring it back for you, as long as you've written it vaguely clearly.

That, plus the ability to clip and save webpages or bits of them easily, makes Evernote a winner with me.


Edited by rarerollingobject (log)

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Of course I post on eG and then google it later as the need arises.

There's actually been a couple of times I've tried to figure something out, found an old post on eGullet that seemed relevant and only later realized that I was the one who posted it :laugh:.


PS: I am a guy.

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