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A Review of MacGourmet 2.4.5

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s like iTunes for your recipes!”

One of the earliest applications for home computers has been the recipe database program.   I’ve purchased a few over the years (back in my PC days), but never really used them much.    Recently I decided it would be nice to have one for my MacBook Pro.   My requirements were simple:

  • Snow Leopard Compatible
  • Reasonably priced
  • Ability to easily import from web pages or other formats
  • Publish to web
  • Ability to adjust quantities
  • Companion program for my iPhone

A little research turned up a program called MacGourmet by Advenio.  The comments about it were very positive and it met my requirements and then some.   I downloaded a demo, gave it a spin and shelled out $24.95 for a registration code.   MacGourmet also offers a bundle called MacGourmet Deluxe for $49.95 that includes MacGourmet and three plugins (Mealplan, Nutrition and Cookbook) and there is a companion program for the iPhone/iTouch called MacGourmet Touch for $4.95.  The plugins are available separately for $11.95 each ($9.95 if you use a promo code).

I haven’t purchased any of the plugins yet, although I may purchase Nutrition thanks to Terry’s review of “Lose It!”.  I purchased MacGourmet Touch as I wanted to carry some recipes with me on my iPhone.

The installation was pretty straightforward, double click on the downloaded .dmg file, agree to the license, and then on the subsequent window, drag the MacGourmet.app icon to your applications folder, and finally pick the location for your new library (documents is the default).  

The MacGourmet Demo is a full version, but you can only run it for 20 sessions total to see if it is what you are looking for.  You will be prompted each time to enter a key or to continue using it as a demo.   First time in you will be prompted for a quickpick for MobileMe to enable your data to be backed up to MobileMe.  I don’t have MobileMe, so this was not tested.  The last prompt asks if you want to import some sample recipes (80) or start with an empty database.  

Once you are past the setup, the application will start in the “Recipe Box” mode.


 

The icons along the top are fairly straightforward in their usage, click the new icon to add a recipe, highlight a recipe and click the delete icon to remove.   The Get Info icon works like it does in iTunes, to display information and edit the file.

The grayed out buttons indicate you need to select a recipe first before you can do anything other than create a new recipe.   Selecting a recipe in the right window will give you a summary and enable the grayed out buttons.

 

Clicking on the info button presents this psuedo-tabbed interface:

Changing quantities is supported on the ingredients page, just change the yield and the rest changes.   A click on the reset button returns to the default numbers.  Click on the thumbnails below to see the rest of the tabs:

The Chef View is very handy for using your computer in the kitchen to display the recipes without squinting!

The View List icon lets you open a new window from a User List.  A user list is a smart folder which is somewhat analogous to a Playlist in iTunes.   I’m not exactly sure what purpose the view list was intended for, I never use it.  I suppose if you wanted to keep a recipe open in one window while you looked through another for planning purposes it would come in handy, it just isn’t something I’ve ever needed.

The Print icon displays your recipe (you have several templates to choose from) in a print dialog window if you want a hard copy.  The templates are mainly for the aesthetics, however if you are old school and like the 3” x 5” index cards this is where you would go.

In addition to manually typing recipes into the system you can import recipes directly from supported websites in a few short steps (enter the URL in your browser, highlight it and in the services menu choose “Import Recipe From Web Page”.  If the site is supported, a wizard will launch that automatically copies the recipe into MacGourmet (see below).  Note that it isn’t perfect as there are a few HTML codes that came with it, but otherwise it does a fairly good job of handling the import including the picture.  

One of my requirements was the ability to easily create a webpage of my recipes.   Macgourmet does this in a pretty straightfoward fashion.   It supports Mobileme (which I don't have), and webdav.   I setup webdav with my ISP and configured MacGourmet to point to that location.   MacGourmet is setup to upload any recipes you have marked as "Recipes I've Made", I'm not sure if there are other options, I didn't see any.  When updating, you have the option of adding to or overwriting your current page.     There are a number of predefined templates, my only complaint is that the created page doesn't scale to fit different screen resolutions, but I can live with that.  Below is a sample published page:

My last requirement was the ability to send recipes to my iPhone.  There are times I am at the store debating what to make for dinner and can't remember the ingredients.  I know I could browse to my published webpage, but that is slow depending on the number of bars and hard to read without zooming in.   The iTouch version of MacGourmet does just what I want.  The following are the iPhone screens showing the same Meatloaf recipe used previvously:

Main Screen Selected Recipe
Selected Recipe Cont. Method Expanded
Chef's View  

 

Lastly MacGourmet has a database section for keep track of your favorite Wines, a shopping list, and notes on your recipes.  

In summary, MacGourmet is an excellent database to store your recipes and with the iTouch/iPhone version, you can take your recipes with you.

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  • Cynthia Blanton

    I purchased MacGourmet Deluxe today and was really disappointed with the documentation and the plugins for downloading recipes automatically from certain websites (eg. Food and Wine, Betty Crocker, etc). The instructions were wrong about Firefox not supporting services and they left out a really important step required to download a recipe. Even after I found correct instructions from a user forum, I found that several of the plugins don’t work. My attempts to download took so long that I haven’t used any of the other features. I hope the rest of the program functions better.

  • Eric Horn

    Sorry to hear you are having problems. While I didn’t exhaustively test every site listed I did try a few. I just updated my program and tried the following with Safari:

    Epicurious.com
    AllRecipes.com
    Williams-Sonoma.com
    Yahoo! Food
    FoodNetwork.com
    BettyCrocker.com
    CooksIllustrated.com
    FoodAndWine.com
    Hersheys.com
    MyRecipes.com
    VegetarianTimes.com

    With the exception of BettyCrocker.com, I was able to import recipes pretty much without issue (one didn’t bring the picture over one time, one didn’t get the title). I was using safari and highlighted the URL as in the instructions and it worked fine. I would assume that MacGourmet is trying to hit a moving target here as any changes in web design layout or format could potentially cause the feature to fail. In Betty Crocker’s instance, I was able to use the text clipping feature to get the recipe. A little drag and drop was required to put the data in the various fields, but it was still better than typing.