Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting (Cooking) Done

At one point I asserted the possibility of my tracking my culinary development here weekly, but I've so far failed in that endeavor, only giving you my study summaries. In truth, I haven't been doing much in the way of culinary endeavors at all period. Sure, I am cooking to some extent to feed myself of course, but not with a wide enough variety of dishes and practices to make myself grow. At first I attributed this to the financial pressure of the Project, but I realize now that truly the problem lies in my recipe documentation system.

Every recipe documentation system I've seen on the internet absolutely sucks. There's no way to rotate or organize recipes, thereby leaving the confusion of seeing one's entire collection in a gigantic continuous list. That my computer is situated in the basement further complicates things, as I have to run up and down the stairs in order to track the steps of a particular recipe. The combination of the lack of good documentation, the irritation in properly rotating recipes (to ensure continuous and varied practice), and running about to read steps has led to me depending on a few varied staples and preparing them the same way over and over again. My diet isn't so monotonous that it's boring or not nutritious, but it is monotonous enough that it stands in the way of good practice. Things need to change, and I've been thinking about setting up a system that best encourages productivity.

Online, the best technology I've observed is Plummelo, which not only allows for saving recipes and writing in one's own, but also allows for meal planning and the generation of grocery lists. Still, I have to say it, well, sucks. The recipes are displayed in one continuous stream with no organization, which, while seemingly minor, is aggravating when you're trying to single out a recipe of a specific category. I'd also like to see a rotation feature that would shuffle the recipes so as to keep things mixed and allow for easier planning and varied practice.

I'm also thinking that I could invest in paper documentation, but we'll see. I've petered out my grocery funds for the month, so there's a little time to think about matters. A paper method would certainly present its own challenges -- the slowness in writing, manually shuffling, mentally keeping track of ingredients -- but it would allow me to implement to some degree what I view as ideal and to be able to more readily take cards up and down the stairs. So much improvement could still be made in this realm, however.

I'll continue contemplating this problem and will let you know of my efforts. While the ideal recipe documentation system may not be in existence right now, I need to work to at least remove the psychological barriers that prevent me from giving serious consideration to my meal and shopping planning.

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