This is a database of recipes assembled through the years. Most was collected from friends and family, some from television programs (especially Alton Brown), and the rest was borrowed from cook books. In all cases the recipes have been fiddled with. Given a choice we will always opt for fresh herbs instead of the mummified, store bought stuff, but in these cases the original option of dried herbs is preserved. We also find many recipes too sweet or too salty for our tastes or in the worst cases both. Almost all the recipes involving dough have been modified for our mile-high altitude. This does not make a difference so much in cookies and pizza, but it makes a significant difference in loaf-style breads and muffins.

Why a database? Because as we cook we note recipes that do not work, adjustments that need to be made, and suggestions for the future. I made an entire pot of very odd tasting soup once and lost a good few minutes of thought before I realized the nowhere did the recipe call for salt. Some folks write in their cookbooks, others keep boxes full of 3x5 cards with little notes, others keep scrap books. (I shudder to think what half a cup of spilled oil would do to a box of 3x5 cards.) We make notes on the printed recipes and then eventually integrate them back into the database. I like the computer for several reasons. Backup is a big one. Even if the house should burn to the ground in a horrible turkey-frying incident, our years of recipe collecting will still be preserved on a server somewhere. It also makes it easy to share recipes with friends. We just hand over the piece of paper that is likely still tacked to the fridge and print ourselves a new copy if we need it.

Now that we have the database up and running on the server other advantages have become clear. If I feel like making Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies or Bagna Cauda in the evening I can just look up the ingredients online and pick them up on the way home. Since I do all my shopping by bicycle this is a time saver like I can't tell you. It also means we can just give out URLs to our computer literate friends rather than hard copy. The biggest advantage, however, is the ability to rebuild the index and any time. Try that with a scrap book! I have grown so addicted to having recipes at my fingertips that any new one goes here before I use it even if it is coming straight out of a cookbook. Surely in the future I'll want to make it again and this saves trying to remember where it came from. I cannot count the hours I have wasted searching through our cookbook collection just looking for my favorite Coq au Vin and hot chocolate recipes. Of course now that we have had this database for a few years I'm having trouble remembering the last time I opened a cookbook.

I wrote the software to build this database and I will provide it to anyone who want it. I'll probably post it as soon as it is made a bit more generic. (For example: right now the words used to index the recipes are hard coded into the program based on my preferences. This really should be placed under user control.) What this windows program does is take a directory of Rich Text Format (rtf) files, parse them, and produce the index, the list, and output directories containing both rtf and html files. The html files are required for the web pages, but I find the rtf files usually print better. The directory structure is preserved so the recipes can be organized into categories based on the directory names. The final output can just be uploaded to a website intact.

Feel free to use these recipes however you will. Cooking is a form of love and love exists to be shared.