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Workflow: Favourite Recipes Always at Hand

Imagine it’s the end of your work day. Imagine you’d like to surprise your loved one with a self-cooked dinner – but have no clue what exactly that should be. You remember she loves scallops. But now what? Drive home – search through your recipe books for a scallops recipe that seems feasible – write down the ingredients – drive back out to the shops?! By the time you’ll be home she’ll likely have ordered Pizza – long before you even started cooking… Well I’ve got a trick for you.

I’ve started this a while ago – and I love it. Even better: My wife loves me for this! (Hopefully for more.) However.

The workflow sports the Evernote service, my iPhone and a bunch of cookbooks. It’s so simple, yet so useful.

  1. In Evernote for iPhone I added a new Evernote notebook, which I call “My Cookbook”
  2. Whenever I come across a recipe I suspect worth trying – and – whenever I’ve tried one and found out it worth repeating, I add a new foto-entry to this notebook. Could be from my own books, could be from a friend or anywhere.
  3. First shot is a picture of the meal, second shot is a picture of the ingredients list, third shot is of the cooking instructions.
  4. I’ve made a habit of tagging my recipes. For that I use a bunch of tag groups from each of which I choose a single tag: The kind of food such as fish/meat/vegetarian, best time for fresh ingredients could be spring/summer/autumn/winter, category of the dish like starter/main/desert, character such as traditional/standard/surprising,the origin could be italian/french/scandinavian/etc. – you get the idea…

Over time I’ve accumulated a nice variety of wonderful recipes in my Evernote cookbook. In fact whenever I get a new cookbook, I start adding the ones that seem most interesting to me and use it as shopping inspiration when I’m right at the supermarket. It’s a great and personalised resource!

This simple trick allows me for a far easier workflow:

Same situation as in my earlier example: It’s after work, idea to cook a surprise dinner – but…

  1. I remember “scallops” – and type it into the search field of my Evernote notebook on my iPhone.
  2. Because the Evernote service did it’s OCR magic on every picture that I have taken earlier of the ingredients lists of every recipe that I captured so far, it will now instantly narrow down my search results to just those that contain scallops. I could narrow down further by applying tags – i.e. for autumn, main and surprising if necessary.
    Guess what: No need to drive home, no need to flip through hundreds of recipe book pages, etc. Saves me 1 hour at least.
  3. Even better: Not only have I quickly found a great recipe – I also have the ingredients list for it at hand. Literally. I can immediately start my shopping.

That’s 1 search on my iPhone instead of driving home first, looking up stuff, writing things on paper and only then driving back to a shop before finally driving home once more… That’s the 1h plus x that makes the difference between stress and a relaxed and yum evening. Simple but so good.

This workflow can turn out quite powerful. My girl and I got married this summer. Just be aware ;-)

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Another scenario that happens just as often: At the supermarket I find they got fresh mushrooms as the season has just started. So I think these would be great for dinner – and need a recipe… Right there, right then. Drive home? No – just pull out my iPhone with the “My Cookbook” notebook in Evernote. Perfect.

    18. November 2012
  2. This is a nice use of Evernote. If it only remembered which ingredients we have at home already (and which haven’t run past their due date).

    20. November 2012
  3. I was a fan of this option until I discovered app for iOS Paprika – now I store everything there :) it syncs between my iOS devices and Mac – highly recommended!

    29. November 2012

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