posted 25 Jan 2018
Anytime I can combine my geek hobbies, I consider that a life victory. Baking is one such hobby of mine I enjoy very much, especially around the holidays, although, I do find excuses to exercise my need to express my lack-luster culinary arts throughout the year. Over time, I have collected many recipes, of which are in a variety of formats: books, PDFs, written as a Tiddler on my TiddlyWiki Non-Linear Notebook or a myriad of index cards and uniformed-shaped papers and cards. I need a way to better organize all of this data to reduce the likelihood of me LOSING information.
What I really want is something that not only manages a local database but can also connect to external databases on the Internet for viewing additional recipes. Per several recommendations, I have decided to give “Gnome Recipes” a try.
Upon using it, I say it is pretty great… mostly.
Gnome Recipes is available in the Official openSUSE Repository for Tumbleweed.
You can also choose the command line method as well:
sudo zypper in gnome-recipes
I am sure it is available for most other distributions. If not, it is available as a Flatpak here on Flathub.
Although it is a GTK app, it looks pretty decent in KDE, even under a dark theme. The window decorations are not to my KDE-liking but that is not a huge issue for me. I am not a fan of how they do the menu structure, but I am really not that picky. It is what the designers wanted, it is seemingly well executed so I am fine with it.
I do appreciate that they have dozens of recipes included, presumably by those involved in the project (what I’ve been told). It is a great template to see what the standard is for entering your recipes and demonstrate it’s features.
The layout of the “home” screen of Gnome Recipes is a perfect arrangement of efficiency and friendliness. Quick access to what you need and logically laid out. It has such a welcoming feel that just projects beams of warmth and clearly saying, “Let’s make something together.”
Adding my own Recipe
The interface is very clean and friendly to work with. Entering the ingredients with a new recipe was also super easy. Everything about the interface looks and feels great. The only criticism I have is that it does not preserve the unit of measure I enter. It seems to change it to a measure of Tablespoons as my largest unit of measure. It is annoying and possibly a deal breaker if I cannot figure out how to remedy this. Initial searches didn’t find a solution but I haven’t given up.
In order to be able to actually USE this recipe effectively, I copied the ingredients into the description box. It is a potential workaround.
Using the Recipes
Upon selecting the recipe you wish to prepare you are presented with a fantastic, easy to read layout reminiscent of the cook books of old. You see exactly what you need and you don’t have to go noodling through a bunch of commentary to get to the directions or the method of making your “dish.”
A delightfully unexpected feature I never knew I needed can be triggered with a button called, “Start Cooking” in the upper right hand corner of the window. After you parse through the oddly calculated ingredients, making your conversions to practical measurements, and have assembled your ingredients, you can “Start Cooking” and the program will walk you through the process, like a presentation, step by step to combine and cook or bake your desired recipe. This is a slick feature that really ads an extra level of special to this application. Assuming you or the author added the time in the directions appropriately, it will give a countdown timer when you get to that particular step.
Should you exit out of this mode, you have the option to continue with the timer. Though, I am not sure what happens to the timer as I couldn’t return to it. I would suggest it is best to not exit if you intend on using this timer. Perhaps this would be best for a dedicated laptop or tablet in the kitchen that would be left alone.
Recipes you put in this application is not suck in any kind of silo; you have the ability to share it of which will send a Gnome Recipes export as well as a PDF via email. In a pinch, if you decide that you didn’t like this application, you could export all your work into PDFs and just stuff them in a folder in your cloud drive of choice or print and place in a 3-ring binder.
I have not yet tested to see if I can synchronize the databases between local machines yet. If it is possible without something going wonky, that would be another win and further cement this application a permanent(ish) place.
What I wish it would do
Two Items: One, Not change my units of measure to unuseful quantities. It is terribly annoying. Two, I wish it could pull in recipes from external databases for me to look at. Something from AllRecipes.com or SimplyRecipes.com would be fantastic. Even a “central” site of user community contributed recipes would be great.
Outside of the automatically changing my units of measure in the ingredients list, this application is great. It looks good, feels good and basically does what I want it to do. I can store, organize and share recipes. I am not so much a fan of the over-simplified Gnome-Look as I use KDE Plasma which is more inline with how I like my interface.
Once the units of measure issue can be sorted out, I would most certainly recommend this for use in the kitchen to make food preparation just a bit more organized.