Recently we took a look at some of our essential cooking apps for the iPhone. Since not everyone has an iPhone and those who do still might prefer to use their computers while cooking, we decided to roundup 10 pieces of cooking software.
For this roundup we took a look at software for both the Mac and PC as well as websites devoted to cooking. We felt that with so many great sites devoted to recipes and cooking how-tos, like our all time favorite, thekitchn, we would be remiss not to include them in our roundup. Like all of our roundups we strove for balance and decided to showcase a variety of solutions at different price points.
- SousChef by Acaia Tree Software like most pieces of cooking software comes with a large recipe database and easily allows you to add your own recipes and import recipes from the web. The thing we love about this piece of software is the ten foot mode. This mode lets you place your computer somewhere safe but still read your recipes from across the room. The mode features a high contrast fullscreen display with smooth transitions and only the info you need to know. As a bonus, while in ten foot mode SousChef can read your recipes to you and can be controlled via speech or a remote. SousChef requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and costs $30.
- Supercook is an online recipe search engine that allows you to enter ingredients that you have at home and finds recipes for you that contain the ingredients you have, so you don't have to go out and shop for new items. Free.
- MacGourmet 2 offers nutritional analysis and meal planning in addition to the ability to download recipe packs from MacGourmet. One of the neat things about this piece of software is that there is also an iPhone app which allows you to sync your recipes from your computer to your iPhone. Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and costs $25.
- YummySoup! by Hungry Seacow Software is a recipe manager that allows you to easily import, create, and manage recipes. Worried about losing your recipe database? YummySoup! plays nicely with MobileMe allowing for pain free backups. Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and costs $20.
- Epicurious is a well known online resource for great recipes but did you know they also have an OS X dashboard widget? The easy to use widget enables you to search for recipes by using parameters such as low-fat, wine pairings, and kid-friendly. Free.
- Cookstr is a website from some big names in cookbook publishing—Will Schwalbe, a former editor-in-chief at Hyperion, and Katie Workman of Workman publishing. It's a recipe site, geared towards home cooks who are trolling the internet in search of ideas. The concept behind Cookstr is to get tried-and-true recipes from chefs that you would normally only find if you were to purchase their cookbooks. This way you can try the recipe before buying the book. Free.
- BigOven like most recipe management software, allows you to organize your recipes, save recipes from the web, and create meal plans. BigOven also has the handy grocery list feature which allows you to drag and drop the ingredients you need to add to your shopping list. In addition to the software built for MS Windows, there is also an iPhone app. Requires MS Windows and costs $30.
- Allrecipes.com has been one of our go-to websites for recipes for quite some time. With over 44,000 recipes and how-to articles galore it really is one of the best recipe resources online. To help you keep track of your favorite recipes, My Recipe Box, a feature for members (membership is free), allows you to save and rate recipes. Free.
- MasterCook Deluxe contains over 8,000 recipes in addition to nutrional analysis of meals and instructional videos. MasterCook like BigOven, also has a grocery list feature. Unlike BigOven, MasterCook does not have an iPhone app, but supports downloading of the grocery list to your PDA. Does anyone still use a PDA? Requires MS Windows and costs $20.
- Google Reader while not a piece of cooking software or an online recipe database, is a great tool to keep track of recipes from food blogs. We use Google Reader to collect food blogs we want to read, and then we save the posts that contain recipes that we like. Using several tags to refer to different categories of cooking, like "main course," "dessert," and "Italian," we are then able to easily search through our saved posts that we have previously tagged. Check out thekitchn for more detailed step by step instructions on how to use Google Reader to organize your recipes. Free.
We hope that you have found our roundup useful and we would love to hear your thoughts on our list. Have you used any of these pieces of software and/or websites? Did we leave out your favorite cooking site?