One thing that any cook needs is an easy way to store recipes. Therefore, before I delve any further into sharing recipes, I thought I would introduce a program that is both user-friendly and able to store numerous recipes. This program is called AccuChef. General information about this handy software and how to purchase it can be found at http://www.accuchef.com/. AccuChef offers a free trial version on its main page, but it is well worth the $19.95 price tag, as the program comes with several cookbooks, including one that has over 2,300 cocktail recipes, and has a number of worthwhile features. AccuChef can also be used on multiple computers. I found this to be very useful while in college, as I was able to load the program onto my mom’s home computer. This has allowed her to share recipes with my siblings and I instantly sometimes from across the country. So if we get the hankering for a family recipe that we don’t have, all she needs to do is enter the recipe on her home computer, save the file and e-mail it to us. For those who are more tech-savvy, you can also save the file to a shared internet server, so that the updated recipe files are made available to all computers at once.
One of the most useful tools of this program is it’s ability to assemble cookbooks. This would be a thoughtful and personal gift for the holidays or a birthday. The program allows you to choose which recipes to include and then creates a word document that formats all of your recipes, divides them into different categories, such as appetizers, soups, main dishes and desserts, depending on how you have them categorized within AccuChef, and even creates a table of contents. AccuChef also has a place to write notes about each recipe, such as who gave you the recipe or any nostalgic family anecdotes regarding the dish. These notes can also be added into the cookbook. Similarly, AccuChef can be used to print recipes onto a standard sheet of paper or various sized note-cards for easy sharing. This would come in handy if anyone requested a copy of a recipe or you went to a potluck that requested you bring copies of the recipe for the dish that you prepared.
Another interesting feature that this program comes with is the ability to calculate nutritional information from recipes that are entered. This feature provides nutritional information for the whole recipe or per serving. This isn’t a feature that I use too often, but for those who are trying to be more health conscious and want to monitor such things as sodium, dietary fat or carbohydrate intake, it would definitely be a viable option. AccuChef comes with nutritional information for many ingredients already programed into the system, but there are some that would need to be entered manually.
My grandmother, Nani, is against anything digital, so it goes without saying that she would not approve of this post, by any means. To some extent I agree with her. Although I have found AccuChef to be very useful in the digital age, there’s still something nostalgic about pulling out the old recipe box and sifting through recipes that have been handwritten by my mom, grandmothers or any other member of my family. In some instances a recipe box is the easiest option, especially when you have one that is well-organized and stocked with frequently used recipes. But when it comes to sharing recipes over great distances and in an instant, AccuChef is an easy and affordable option.
Update: I no longer use AccuChef and have since transferred all of my recipes over to Allrecipes.com. It was just simpler to move to a web-based program. It’s easy to use and has an app for the iPhone that is easy to pull up in the grocery store to look up what ingredients I need.