Saving Recipes

In my last entry I wrote about Pinterest as a recipe source. Perhaps you might like to see some of the great recipes I have found. My account name on Pinterest is patfauquet. Use the search function if you would like to see my boards and pins.

While I like having the recipes (along with great photos) there, I have found that sometimes the links stop working. That can happen for a variety of reasons. If the web author moved a file to a new location, the Pinterest link will break. If the recipe was from a blog, the author may have stopped writing or they could have moved to a different web location.

There is nothing worse than loosing a great recipe. So, today I am going to show you how to save a recipe to your computer. If you click on the link to the
Layered Mediterranean Dip that I showed in yesterday’s post, you will see that there are some great photos.

In earlier times we wrote our recipes on little cards that we put into a recipe box. Here is a photo of my daughter writing a recipe card for a friend just yesterday. Of course there are no photos.

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I had a recipe box and cards when I married. I collected recipes from family and friends, beginning in high school. When I married I started using those cards--and loosing those precious recipes. My solution was The Black Cookbook, a composition book that I could write or paste recipes into it. That composition book traveled with me as we moved at least two dozen times. Pages with favorite recipes got tattered and dirty, the cover disappeared and a few pages were lost.

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Two of my daughters decided to make family gifts this past Christmas. They typed all of the recipes from “The Black Cookbook” into a recipe program. They also cooked many of the recipes and photographed the dishes. Then they sent the entire file to Blurb to have it printed as The Fauquet Family Cookbook.

They even recreated the cover! They etched a baking dish with each family’s last name and presented the cookbooks and dishes to our entire family. They were a big hit!

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I really appreciate their efforts. I love the cookbook, but it has some problems. If I want to share a recipe, I either have to write it out or photocopy it. The best part of the present is that each of those recipes is also a data file! I can drop them into an email to share them!

Recipes on Pinterest often come with pictures--sometimes lots of pictures. Those photos make it so easy to see what the recipe author meant when she wrote the instructions. Photos show me how big the pieces were cut, how much of an ingredient she really used.

There are several ways to save recipes from the Internet. The first way is to print the recipe directly from the web page.

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The result has several problems. The first page contains a lot of unnecessary “stuff” in the right column. There is lots of wasted space on the second page and even worse, some of the information was over-typed on the third page. So, to store one recipe, I would need to keep three pages of paper. If I used the print command to make a PDF file, those same problems would exist!

At the end of the recipe on the web there is a link to see a print friendly version of the recipe:

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While the results will fit on a single sheet of paper, there are no photos.

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The next thing to try is to copy and paste the recipe into something like Apple’s word processor, Pages.

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The results are terrible! The recipe is now 7 pages long with lots of extraneous white space. Those white spaces are page breaks that occur when objects such as pictures are too large to fit on the page along with the words. It is impossible to remove those page breaks using a word processor because the program sees the content as pages to be printed.

If printing or PDF files don't produce good results, what is left? There is a great little program built into Mac OS X. It is on every Mac and it is free! Go find TextEdit in your Applications folder. When you first open it, it looks a lot like Pages. The interface resembles a blank piece of paper.

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The secret is in the Text Edit preferences.

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Make sure there is NOT an x in the Wrap to page box.

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Instead of looking like a piece of paper with margins, you will have a box that can be as long and a wide as you want it!

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When you copy and paste the recipe into this space, it will look like this:

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There is some minor clean up to do, but the pictures and the text flow nicely. The file is saved as a .rtfd. That means that instead of just being text, the file is actually a container and inside the container is not only the text but also the picture files.

Saving files in this manner means that I can go back later to see all the details. If I want to print out a recipe to use in the kitchen, I can copy out the text and take it into the kitchen, but I can also see the whole thing on my computer!

I am sure you have a bunch of questions--like what about putting them on an iPad? What about being able to access the file when I am at a friend’s house without my computer? Come back and we will continue in another blog entry!

--Pat
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