Both of my grandmothers kept their favorite recipes in their heads, and what few they couldn’t remember, they wrote out in neat script on 3 x 5 note cards and stored then in wooden boxes. For most of their lives, they fed their family foods that they or their neighbors had grown, raised, or made with their own two hands. Their grocery lists were short and the meals were predictable. You knew what you were having for dinner based on what day of the week it was.
Our world is a little more complicated, which I don’t always think is a good thing. While I’m lucky to know the joys of sriracha and tahini, I’m just not always sure how you wade through all of the recipes and food choices out their without getting overwhelmed?
Thankfully, there’s an app for that. Here are some apps and web sites that I’ve found useful in managing the complexity that is our modern world:
OurGroceries – share shopping lists with everyone in your household via smartphones or web browser. My dear wife loves this app. It was one of the first ones she installed on her Droid 2. She can enter her shopping lists on the netbook in the kitchen, I can add things from my phone or computer, and when we go shopping we can just tap on an item to cross it off the list.
Google Reader – a web-based feed aggregator, or (in non-techie speak) a great tool for grabbing content from all of the food blogs that I follow (36 at last count) and dumping them into one place so that I can read them at my leisure. Also try Feedly to put a more magazine-like wrapper around your feeds that makes them easier to read on a smart phone.
Gmail – web-based email from Google. Not only is this the most bullet-proof, spam-free email account I’ve ever had, it’s a great place to store all those recipes you run across online. Use the GmailThis! bookmarklet to send a recipe to your email account, where you can then categorize it with labels and folders. No more recipe boxes.
WordPress – one of the best blogging tools out there. Food & Fire started out as just my way of storing and managing recipes that I’d made. I figured that if I blogged about a dish, then I had not only the recipe, but pics, and notes on how it turned out.
Locavore – based on your location, this app lists what foods are in season and the nearby farms or farmer’s markets where you can buy local food.
Find Me Gluten Free – locate gluten-free resources near your current location. Having celiacs, this app has been a life-saver when I’m trying to find something I can eat in an unfamiliar city.
Epicurious – search for recipes, create shopping lists, and follow step-by-step instructions all from your smart phone. You can also access your personal recipe box.
Recipe Converter – unit conversion and servings yield calculator. You can convert volume and weight measurements and makes scaling servings yields up or down easy.
OpenTable – don’t feel like cooking? OpenTable gets you free, real-time online reservations at more than 20,000 restaurants. If I’m out and about and want someone else to cook, I can book a table and get an email confirmation by the time it takes to drive there.