Thursday, August 02, 2012

Using the Mac and enjoying the Process

I downloaded a really slick recipe program for my Macintosh called MacGourmet Deluxe.  I am loving it! 

I have had many computer recipe programs in the past -- all fairly complicated to use.  The best on the PC was MasterCook -- it allowed me to set up recipe books and supposedly I could import recipes but the process was very, very complicated.  Organizationally, I liked how MasterCook let me create cookbooks for my recipes (I had them for hamburger recipes, pies, cookies, drinks, etc.).  I could keep those recipes in a pretty book that I got to design on a virtual wooden bookshelf.

MacGourmet Deluxe does not have screen bookshelves or pretty cookbooks. It does have cookbooks that you can create and print, though.  Best of all it allows you to use the MAC to its best advantage.  You can easily import recipes -- just click on a web recipe and drag it to MacGourmet.  It imports ingredients and directions on a step-by-step basis. I have no idea how it knows what the different steps are -- but it does and you almost never have to add any corrections.  You can also grab a picture of the dish and put it in the file.  When you want to actually use the recipe you have imported, you can choose several styles of printing -- each one better than the last.

Back in the 1990's I used a data base to save recipes.  Talk about work!  I still have printed out files from that effort -- and just recently went through them all and input the ones I still liked into MacGourmet and threw out the hard copies.  This took longer than importing from the web, but still I could add pictures of the dishes and the program is versatile enough that I could add as many notes as I thought relevant.

After the database effort, I ran through several variations of MasterCook, especially as I would upgrade PCs.   However, I always kept hard files.  I had boxes and boxes of recipes I had clipped, pasted, carded, notated, etc.  I have hundreds of cookbooks -- and that's after I gave hundreds away two years ago.  Now, finally, I'm weeding through all this paper. 

The new MAC program -- under $50 -- has finally divorced me from my hard files.  I have already transferred two huge boxes of recipes into the program, and tossed the cards.  I admit that when I found my grandmother's recipes for Thanksgiving dinner I had a moment of remorse.  But the cards were filthy -- they had been through 50 years of use and were sticky with sweet potato juice and other things probably too nasty to think about.

Yesterday I actually marinated chicken breasts in creme fraiche.  Really.  Me.  And Hubby ate it up.  The dogs, especially our little Gussie who just had a terrible day having teeth removed at the dentist, couldn't get enough of that tender, sweet chicken.  The baked spaghetti recipe I paired with the chicken was not a keeper.  Both Hubby and I thought it was bland and boring.

Last night I couldn't sleep so at 4 a.m. I got up and made the egg, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg sauce for French toast.  I didn't have any French bread -- but I did have a day old loaf of Italian so I sliced it an inch thick and plopped it in the sweet egg mix -- and let it soak until noon when Hubby came home for lunch.  I haven't seen him eat like that in days.  He simply devoured that lovely, thick, syrupy bread.  (Yes, I used Splenda instead of real sugar!).  And little Gus, with his mouth full of stitches from the dental, rolled over on his belly in ecstasy over his own slice of the bread.  

The baked spaghetti recipe has now been discarded but the chicken breasts and the French toast are sure keepers.  The crock-pot has been used three times in the past week.  I'm hunting down the Dutch oven for a really nice chicken and rice recipe planned for the weekend.  So far I've typed in 289 recipes into my new program, every single one with a beautiful picture attached.  Then, as I use them, I can begin to weed out the ones we don't like. 

I know that many of my friends are preparing to start back to school next week.  Yet here I sit, at my computer, sorting recipes and dreaming of fine dining.   Even better now I have the time to actually  cook some of these dishes I've filed away for so long (my files date back 1966).  We may not be remodeling the kitchen or hiring a cook or dining at the finest restaurants, but that's okay.  I'm having a ball.

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