I learned today that my favorite recipe app – Paprika – is now available for Android devices including the Kindle Fire. You’ll find it in both the Kindle App store and at Google Play. The cost is a whopping $4.99.
One of the best things about this app is the browser. It’s got bookmarks for some of the most popular recipe sites online, but you can add bookmarks to your own favorites. Then, when you find a recipe you want, if it meets the cookbook recipe standard format (most of them do these days), the Save Recipe button will light up and all you do is tap it. Paprika captures the recipe, then you tell it what category (main dish, dessert, etc.) to list it and tap Done.
Paprika is also available for the Mac [$19.99] and iPad [$4.99].
By the way, the fabulous WordPress Easy Recipe plugin supports the recipe standard so you’re more than welcome to grab my Dad’s Minorcan Clam Chowder recipe if you’re interested.
While we were in Tampa earlier this week, I was wandering through a shop and saw a display of local cookbooks. Sucker that I am for 1) cookbooks and 2) Tampa’s regional dishes, I was ready to grab them all. What stopped me? Paprika – my cookbook app on my iPad. Thanks to that app, my iPad spends almost as much time in the kitchen as it does by my reading chair. My next thought was, wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of buying a printed book, I could buy the recipe data to import into Paprika.
By this time I had forgotten about buying the books and was wondering how to create a recipe “data book”. Paprika has a built-in web browser which lets you browse through the many food/recipe sites online and if you find a recipe you like, you can tap the Save Recipe button to add that recipe to your collection. Obviously there’s some kind of standard for presenting recipes via the web that allows this to happen. As soon as I got home, I started checking and sure enough, there’s a microformat standard for recipes. Microformats are additional attributes added to the HTML code to describe the data being presented. There are microformat standards for presenting contact information and event information. Many address book and calendar apps can use that microformat information to make it easy for you to add an event to your calendar, person to your address book or recipe to your cookbook. Paprika isn’t the only cookbook app taking advantage of these micro formats. Most of today’s apps – desktop and mobile – can import properly formatted recipes.
Okay, so a recipe microformat does exist, but does that mean I have to manually code all that information just to post a savable recipe? No! There are several WordPress plugins that make it deliciously simple! I found the Easy Recipe plugin which not only makes it easy to create the recipe – and include images – but allows me to include it as part of a post that tells the story of the recipe or the relative associated with it. And, when I go to the post in my Paprika browser, it’s one tap save. <fist-pump>YES!!!</fist-pump>
The recipe is beautifully formatted – and that format can be adjusted to work within my blog’s theme – and includes all the content items I’d want to have in a recipe. This example is the default style which is perfect for my theme. The recipe can be located at any point within the post. I can even customize things like the titles used in the format. For example, I changed the default “Recipe Type” title to “Category”.
But there’s more! The recipe microformat also makes my recipes very search-friendly and search engines like Google not only find my recipes, but Google’s Recipe View presents the search results to their best advantage.
I’ve updated my two existing recipe posts to use Easy Recipe. You can check out Dad’s Clam Chowder and Southern Saute to get a look at Easy Recipe in action. You’ll notice that I’ve included some of the story in the Notes area of each recipe – along with links back to the original post. That provides context once the recipe has been imported into someone’s cookbook app.
Something tells me I’ll be blogging even more family recipe stories now that I have this plugin to make it easy.
Food and family history just seem to go together. When’s the last time you attended a family function that didn’t include food? We often remember people for their special dishes – like my Dad’s Minorcan Clam Chowder – and these recipes are passed down from generation to generation. It only follows that a cookbook is a great family history project.
In my family, the recipe is just the beginning. There’s always a story to go along with it or its part of a family tradition. Often there are photos too – of the dish, the cook or an event. The toughest part is collecting all this goodness so you can build the cookbook. Take advantage of every family occasion to grab a recipe. Encourage people to talk about where a great dish came from and if it’s family related, take notes. Follow up with emails and phone calls until you get the recipe and photos you need.
Planning a family reunion? Plan a recipe contest to collect recipes. Ask people to scan pages from their heritage cookbooks where the original owners have added notes – or even copies of recipes tucked into such books. Just like the rest of your family history, this is an on-going effort.
Since it does take time and effort to collect these recipes, you will need some method to organize them as you build your cookbook. Fortunately, many of today’s recipe apps offer features to include notes and photos with the recipe. Some even offer mobile versions for you smart phone or tablet. Take advantage of these capabilities to document the stories and photos associated with your heritage dishes.
Some apps, like MacGourmet Deluxe [$50 Mac] and Living Cookbook [$35 Win] offer tools to build cookbooks. You can include extra photo and story pages along with the recipes, create covers and indexes – all “camera ready” to upload to a publishing service like Lulu. Most include fields for notes and photos in each recipe record. These are good places to add anecdotes, stories or photos associated with a dish or its creator.
Speaking of Lulu, they offer a very nice platform to collect and build your cookbook online. They have both hard and soft cover options in three different sizes so you can create a custom cookbook without spending time and money on new software.
Of course there’s nothing dictating that you family cookbook has to be a book. Why not a family food blog? With easy-to-use blog platforms like Posterous or Tumblr supporting multiple authors, they are great ways to share recipes with their associated stories and photos. If they can send an email with an attached photo, they can participate in the blog. Take a lesson from Thomas MacEntee’s Geneablogger prompts and use your own to generate cookie recipes in time for the holidays, pumpkin dishes for Halloween or favorite memories around the dinner table. Who knows, a blog might even attract a distant cousin you’ve never met . . .