Preparing your own meals is an ability everyone should develop, even us geeks. With the economy as it is and the ever-increasing attention we’re all paying attention to our diets, you can save money and eat healthier by simply preparing your own meals.
But what is a geek to do?
The only gadget I used in the kitchen was the microwave, but by using the resources I’m about to share, I went from eating only nuked frozen foods to eating healthy meals I prepared myself.
In this TechTip, I’m sharing my kitchen resources for geeks.
Let me save you some time: I already tried working in my kitchen with a laptop and I don’t recommend it. You don’t want to risk getting anything in the keyboard, or worse; killing the thing with an accidental splash. I’ve found that using my smartphone, a tablet, or an e-reader has allowed me to maintain most of the functionality of my laptop without risking complete ruination.
For this TechTip, you are welcome to use anything you’d like, but having a clean smartphone, tablet, or e-reader will help you make the most of them. I’ll say that again: clean!
Always make sure to wipe down your device with a germ-killing cleanser when using it in the kitchen!
I started cooking for myself a little over a year ago and I went to the first resource I knew of: Grandma. She’s been cooking meals since before my father was born, and her head is full of years of technique and wisdom.
While I invested time to gather her level of knowledge (she’s very secretive), there is one thing she has that I can access very easily: cookbooks. I don’t have a lot of room at my place to store a library full of cookbooks, and Grandma wasn’t lending them out anyway, but I do have my handy iPhone. Using Google Books, I was able to find some of the same cookbooks my grandma has and view them on my phone. There are thousands more books available for free including many old cookbooks with expired copyrights that are decades old.
When I first started searching the Internet for new recipes, the results were many, but few were helpful. There is an endless amount of recipe sites out there, many of them just mindless collections of keywords, but I needed something with a good layout and a good collection of quality recipes. For those reasons, it did not take long for me to fall in love with AllRecipes.com. The layout is easy to read and navigate, a critical asset when things are on the stove, and it doesn’t force you into a crippled mobile site from your phone. Better yet, you can save your recipes, and even enter your own recipes in their online recipe box. Just create an account using an email address. AllRecipes also offers mobile apps in the form of their DinnerSpinner (available on iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone 7). The free version gives you an easy touch interface to find recipes on your phone or you can pay for the Pro version for $2.99 (iPhone & Android only) to add features like recipe box sync, shopping list creation, and searching with or without up to eight ingredients; perfect for picky eaters. iPad users can download the free AllRecipes app that is customized for the iPad with a layout that shows ingredients and directions on one page; that means less scrolling around on your device! For a great beginner’s resource, AllRecipes has thousands of good, down-home recipes that include good directions, and you can access it easily from your mobile device.
If you’re a bit more advanced in the kitchen, you may find my next resource more up to your level. Epicurious appeals more to the advanced chef with its diverse recipe collection that includes recipes from Bon Appétit and Gourmet magazines. Epicurious also offers member registration benefits (requiring your email address again) that let you save recipes and create shopping lists. They also support a wide variety of devices, including free apps for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7, and an app for B&N Nook priced at $4.99. While the recipe selection is fantastic, you can only sync your online recipe box with the iPhone app for $1.99. It’s still a great resource, but I wish they could offer that feature for other platforms, too.
There are many more resources on the worldwide web and these few are enough to get you started. Share yours in the comments below!