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Food-Related Software


Matthew Grant
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I would like to find some good meal planning software (for home use). I have heard of Mastercook but don't know anything about it.

I have purchased the CD version of Mark Bittman's "How to cook everything" and it has a rudimentary meal planning feature but it is quite awkward to use.

Can anyone here make a recommendation?

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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I use MasterCook 6, but I can't say that I like it. It came with all sorts of what I regarded as extraneous crap. Of course, all I wanted was some software to use to make a recipe database, but it came with thousands of recipes and CookBooks, and other stuff I didn't want. Most of the recipes were from handouts from Lawrys, Fleishmans, Florida Orange Growers Assoc, and the Ontario Northern Bean Growers Assoc. I've customized the hell out of my copy. My strongest objection, other than its slowness to load, slowness to open, and hogging of my computers resourses, it that you can't put the degree symbol, in recipes. You know, that little tiny o you put after 350 or 400 etc. That sort of thing really bugs me, but I'm easily bugged by small inconsequential trivialties. I prefer it that way, since when I get to thinking about large consequential matters, I get depressed.

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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My strongest objection, other than its slowness to load, slowness to open, and hogging of my computers resourses, it that you can't put the degree symbol, in recipes. You know, that little tiny o you put after 350 or 400 etc.  That sort of thing really bugs me, but I'm easily bugged by small inconsequential trivialties. I prefer it that way, since when I get to thinking  about large consequential matters, I get depressed.

Have you tried using the Character Table keyboard command to see if it will allow the degree symbol? If you're using Windows you can access the Character Table through the Start Menu>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools.

The keyboard command for typing a degree symbol is Alt+0176 (hold down the Alt key and type the number 0176 in using the number pad, then let go of the Alt key). That should place a degree symbol wherever your cursor is.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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My strongest objection, other than its slowness to load, slowness to open, and hogging of my computers resourses, it that you can't put the degree symbol, in recipes. You know, that little tiny o you put after 350 or 400 etc.

Can you insert it using the ASCII code for it (Alt - 0176 -- hold down the Alt key while you enter the number using the number pad on your keyboard)?

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I suppose this wouldn't be a time for me to pipe in with, "I use vi and grep", eh?

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I use MasterCook 7 and have the same complaints here. I think it might work better if I just deleted all the cookbooks it came with and have just my own stuff in it.

I've deleted recipes with abandon, and deleted cookbooks with enthusiasm. I also set up my own cook book for the recipes I entered. The ingredients list is filled with nonsense, and some of the ingredient analyses' downright bizarre. I have pruned the lists and entered my own ingredients, but it's sort of like getting a dozen chicken livers by killing and cleaning a dozen chickens and discarding everything but the livers.

Thanks everyone for the suggestion about entering the °. I had been trying to doing it using a hot key I had set up on the keyboard and it wouldn't work.

edited to add the thank you for the ° suggestion.

Edited by Arey (log)

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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I'm kinda old school. I still use my DOS-based Mealmaster freeware. It's pretty much straight ASCII text with searchability. I've used it for years and am just too lazy to switch over to a Windows-based app (and I make my living in IT, too.)

"It is a fact that he once made a tray of spanakopita using Pam rather than melted butter. Still, though, at least he tries." -- David Sedaris
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Most of the better cooking software programs will

1) Allow you to enter suppliers

2) Allow you to enter quantity and cost for ingredients

3) Auto calculate cost per smaller measure

4) Allow you to enter recipes including servings and measures

5) Calculate the cost per serving

6) Generate shopping list

7) Generate Menus

The nicer packages will auto gen purchase orders and keep inventory. Again these are not even really the professional packages which can do much more. These are fairly basic $50 or so software.

It really depends on what you are looking for. If you just want to keep recipes then by all means a database or for that matter a word processor or cards works just fine.

If you are either running a restaurant or small catering business then the unit costing power of even the cheap packages makes great sense.

Never trust a skinny chef

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Most of the better cooking software programs will

1) Allow you to enter suppliers

2) Allow you to enter quantity and cost for ingredients

3) Auto calculate cost per smaller measure

4) Allow you to enter recipes including servings and measures

5) Calculate the cost per serving

6) Generate shopping list

7) Generate Menus

The nicer packages will auto gen purchase orders and keep inventory. Again these are not even really the professional packages which can do much more. These are fairly basic $50 or so software.

It really depends on what you are looking for. If you just want to keep recipes then by all means a database or for that matter a word processor or cards works just fine.

If you are either running a restaurant or small catering business then the unit costing power of even the cheap packages makes great sense.

Thanks, that was exactly the kind of info I was looking for!

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I use mastercook 7 as well and have the same complaints registered above. (liked your chicken liver analogy, heh) I also use an excel spreadsheet table to log meals that we have enjoyed so that I have ideas when we sit down to meal plan. That spreadsheet lists mains, sides, cooktime and method and the recipe source, if any so I know where it is stored without having to hunt. I find this to be really valuable.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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Does anyone have experience with PC software for recipe management and meal planning/shopping lists? I have heard of Mastercook but don't know anyone who has used it. There are others on the market too.

If you have any experience with a program or like one of them, I'd love to know!

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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I have a Mac computer and have used Mastercook a bit in the past although it wasn't my program of choice. I no longer use it as it is not compatible with the latest mac software.

Mastercook comes with several 'cookbooks' but you can easily create your own just for recipes you want. You can input recipes - once you enter an ingredient or measurement it can be selected automatically another time -create meal and market lists, scale recipes. People love it in another area in which Im active.

I believe you can download it and maybe try before buying. Not sure of the web site - just put 'mastercook' into Google or any search engine and you should find it.

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Thanks everyone for your very interesting comments.

I didn't get a good feeling about Mastercook for two reasons. First, my search on Amazon brought up a version called the "Betty Crocker Suite" - oooh. Then I read a review on Amazon that was very critical of the company that sells it - apparently it was originally produced by Sierra, who sold it to "Valuesoft" which does not have a good reputation for supporting its software, nor coming out with updated and bug-fixed versions.

I found something called "Living Cookbook" which looks intriguing and I may download the trial version and give it a whirl. I'd also like to try Cookn' and the suggested Star Chef.

I'll report back here on whatever I find.

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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The star chef looks very interesting. I did some reasearch on the DVO but it seems as if they may no longer be selling the program. thanks.

They are. DVO Cookin Software I get emails from them still every month and I can update my software with them online on a regular basis.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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thanks, irodguy .... I thought I posted this question before but I could not find the thread!

And I remembered replying to it, but it took me forever to find the thread.

There would be an emoticon (bottom of the middle column), right here,but I haven't yet figured out how to put an emoticon where I want it.

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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The only problem I have with starchef is the fact that it takes a while to load suppliers, ingredients etc. It's awesome once you have all that done. But it is more work than you average home chef wants to do.

Frankly I am using it to do job costing as much as menu and recipe control.

Never trust a skinny chef

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  • 7 months later...

Does anyone have any thoughts on the StarChef site, www.starchef.net?

I have been playing it and while it seems a little heavy for our purposes, it might work.

Before I commit to anything, I'm wondering if there is a better solution. Is the software better? I toyed with the idea of creating a database of our own but it was rapidly getting out of control.

Ideally, we want to:

* create a recipe book for all our stores

* allow employees to access the recipe book from all our stores (probably via web interface)

* control employee access to the recipe book (some can edit, some can only read, some can't do either)

* search for recipes by ingredient, technique, etc.

* link recipes to images of the recipes

Any advice or insight would be much appreciated.

"Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam; spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam. "

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