Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Current Obsession: MacGourmet

Don't you love it when you're not even looking and a great tool falls right into your life? The other day I was searching for some killer writing software, and MacGourmet Deluxe politely waved to me from my Google Search window. Of course I had to go check it out. And since it was designed for Mac, I really had to check it out. And since there's a 20 session full-version free trial, I had to really, really check it out.

Downloading is easy. The learning curve is gentle. Within just a few minutes, with the help of Safari, I was importing recipes from Time to Cook as well as many of my other favorite food blogs.

This is a fabulous find for me because one of my life's goals is to collect all of my recipes in one place, create a cookbook, and give a copy to each of my five children. MacGourmet makes that very easy and even pretty fun.

From the Mariner website, creator of MacGourmet and MacGourment Deluxe, you can:

MacGourmet Deluxe, you can bring your recipe collection into the digital age and back to paper. • Build, print, and share your own cookbook from your recipe collection.

• Use the Mealplan feature to plan and organize meals. Since this is a Mac program, you can Sync your plans with iCal.

• Easily calculate the nutritional content of your recipes.

• Publish your recipes to your .mac account or to your web site.

• Manage your wine collection by recording notes about your favorite wines.

• Import recipes from your favorite online source.

• Create shopping lists from the Weekly Meal Planner or from one or more recipes.

• Store and manage all your cooking notes.

• Organize your collection with SmartLists.

• Plan a meal using the Cupboard find or Potluck find features.

There are a few things about the software that I don't care for, like the inability to customize the layout before creating PDF files, or to customize the preparation, course or categories lists (I'd like to add courses, equipment and categories) and the limited "help" files, but it's definitely miles above my current system of throwing my recipes in a ring binder or in a drawer in the kitchen. Plus, the "Clippings" feature, which allows you to go to any website, select the recipe and import it into the recipe editor, is simply killer and in itself is worth the $44.95 purchase price (you can only do five clippings per session with the trial version). This feature only works with Safari, Camino and Opera web browsers.

When I've entered all of my favorite recipes, I'll print them on cardstock, laminate them, and put them together with a single binder ring. They can even be color-coded according to category, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Kids' Recipes, etc. I have a few recipes like this from years ago and they've held up perfectly.

I also plan to create a cookbook which can then be sent to self-publishing services like Lulu, CreateSpace and CafePress and then given as gifts to friends and family.

If you have a Mac, you really must give MacGourmet Deluxe a try.

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