is a unique and handy recipe program that organizes your recipes in one place, and
includes an interactive cookbook that offers you the room and power to experiment.
RecipeManager lets you set up your personal cookbook according to ingredients, step-by-step
instructions, nutritional information, and photos. In includes a comprehensive search
feature, and comes with 300 recipes to start you off with.
- Organize: Put
all of your recipe information at your fingertips. Ingredients, photos, instructions,
nutritional information, and much more, are all accessible from this one easy to
- Find it with ease:
Find the right recipes quickly with the comprehensive search feature. Search for
all Chicken dishes and try a new recipe, or search for the Mexican Chicken Appetizer
you made a year ago. You will never lose a recipe again.
- Create Meals:
Plan that holiday feast with the Meals feature. Create a multi-course meal from several
recipes and save it. Then, print out a Shopping List, individual recipes, and a menu
for your guests.
- Kitchen Helpers:
Your new best friend in the kitchen puts cooking temperatures, tips, measurement
conversion, and substitutions at your fingertips.
- Print Outs: Print
out your recipes, menus, and shopping lists.
- Macintosh computer running
OS X v10.2 or later
- 64MB RAM (128MB recommended)
- 30MB of disk space
First of all, finding RecipeManager on the XtremeMac web site is not the most obvious thing.
XtremeMac is better known for their cool gadgets, such as iPod adapters and cases.
However, if you click on the Software tab from their web site, you will see TheRecipeManager
(along with iLingo and Freefall). The good news is that all three of their software
products run on the Mac (Freefall *only* runs on the Mac). RecipeManager is not shareware,
so there is no free download to try it out first. It's a retail package that sells
for $39.95, and after purchasing, you can download it from the web. RecipeManager comes with 311
recipes, but you can download additional recipes from XtremeMac's web site (and even more recipes can be
added from other resources).
Installing RecipeManager is quite simple. After downloading and mounting the .dmg
file, you simply drag the application to your "Applications" folder.
The first time I ran RecipeManager, I was amazed at how easy the program was to use
and how many features were built into the software. I've used some other recipe programs
on the Mac in the past, but nothing that provided the rich user experience I had
with this program.
In the left window pane is a list of the recipes in the database. The application
comes with 311 built-in recipes, but as mentioned earlier, you can download an additional
package of recipes from XtremeMac's web site. The caveat is that many of those recipes
that you download are the same recipes as the ones that came with the application.
This meant I had to go in and manually delete all the duplicate recipes. There is
no duplicate prevention or cleanup provided in the program. After getting rid of
all the duplicates, I was left with a total of 1017 recipes.
NOTE: Specifically, the Iowa Beef Council recipes are duplicate, so skipping those
would prevent the above hassle.
By clicking on a recipe, you activate two panes on the right side. The top pane provides
options for view the actual recipe, the list of ingredients, the staging process,
recipe variations, and nutritional value. In the lower pane you have options for
view a photo, recipe instructions, background information, the number of servings
and time required, and the classification of the recipe. Note that some of these
areas are not always filled in, as it is dependent upon the person who created the
recipe and whether that section is relevant to the receipe. In some cases there are
no photos, or no background, or no staging information, etc.. For example, Beef Stew
has staging instructions, but no photo. Caesar Beef Kabobs, on the other hand, have
no staging instructions, but does include a photo. All of the recipes include the
bare minimum of what you need: the recipe, list of ingredients, and instructions.
The RecipeManager main window - "Beef Stew" recipe
The information in the browser panes are easy to read, but for those who need a bigger
view (for example if you are actually working from the onscreen recipe while cooking),
there is an option to display a "Cooking View". This takes the ingredients
and instructions and inserts them into an enlarged window with large text, making
it very easy to read. Additionally, you can print the recipe in an easy-to-read format
to reference while cooking. I was very impressed with the print format.
The RecipeManager - Cooking View
The RecipeManager includes a feature that can automatically transfer the ingredients
from a variety of recipes into a Shopping List (View menu > Shopping List), and
your Shopping List can be organized to show what ingredients you already have versus
what you still need to get. This makes shopping for ingredients much easier.
Another neat feature in RecipeManager is the "Meals" function. By clicking
on "Show Meals", you can view an entire meal made up of various recipes
included in the database. The application comes with five meals, but you can easily
create more meals of your own. For example, one of the meals is titled "Family
Chicken", and includes the recipes for Fried Chicken Imperial, Date Apple Waldorf
Salad, and Dinner Biscuits. One feature that would make this program work easier
is if you could send the ingredients to your shopping list for the entire meal with
a single button click. However, you can still accomplish this by clicking on each
recipe in the list, and choose "Send All Ingredients to Shopping List"
from the Recipes menu, and you've just created your grocery list for the entire meal.
One of the less obvious features of this program that I really love is the Kitchen
Helpers. I don't know how many times I was in the kitchen trying to figure out how
many ounces goes into a pint, or how many cups to a quart, or how many tablespoons
to a cup. Press Cmd-K and all that information and more is at your fingertips. In
addition to the measurement equivalents, you get substitutions, temperatures, and
tips. For example, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground
cloves for 1 teaspoon of Allspice. Under temperatures, you can find out how long
to cook different meats for different results, as well as view temperature conversions
between farenheit, celsius, and gas mark settings. Some of the tips include how to
prevent a pot from boiling over, how to prevent syrup from caramelizing, and how
to tell if an egg is fresh (tip is "a fresh egg will sing in water, a stale
one will float"). This Kitchen Helper section I found fascinating and educational.
You can also add, modify and delete Kitchen Helpers under the View > Administration
The RecipeManager Kitchen Helpers
For those of you with
your own invented recipes, recipes passed down from family, or loads of favorite
recipes from cookbooks, you can easily enter all of those recipes into the database
for safe keeping and easy access. You might even be inspired to take pictures of
your completed recipes to include in the database.
In addition to editing recipes manually, the RecipeManager also has an import function
to automatically add recipes to the database from downloaded files. The recipes have
to be in the proper format for this function to work. RecipeManager supports a number
of import formats, including
When I am looking for a recipe that is not in a book or in RecipeManager, I use Watson
to search for the recipe on the web, and then attempt to import that recipe. If the
format is not recognized, I then just manually enter it in. From then on, it's always
at my fingertips whenever I might need to look it up.
In fact, that is one of the nicest features of RecipeManager: the ability to search
for recipes. Besides the standard browse mode, you can enter a string in the search
field to quickly find a recipe. The search field is "live", meaning that
as you type each letter, the search results are immediately shown. For example, if
I were to look for chicken, I'd first see all of the recipes that have a "c",
then filtered down to those with a "ch", then "chi", until I
saw the recipe I wanted easily in the browse window. If you need to perform a more
fancy search, you can choose Advanced Search, and filter your search by classification,
source, ingredients, and so on. I bet cooks never imagined of being this organized!
Want to email a recipe to a friend? Simply export a recipe to a file, then email
that file. Piece of cake (and there are recipes for some delicious cakes as well!).
This program is so intuitive that I never found the need to look up any help. However,
for those who do need some more information on the program, the RecipeManager includes
a well written 9 page Quick Start Guide which can help. It also includes an integrated
FAQ (via the View > FAQ menu), as well as a support web site that includes a FAQ and a means to contact support.
As simple and useful as this program is, it is not without its faults. All of the
problems I encountered had to do with the interface, either in small bugs or something
that was just not Mac savvy. For instance, the two-pane Cooking View (ingredient
on top and instructions underneath) does not allow you to change the pane sizes.
Typically you would be able to adjust the pane size by moving a separator bar between
them, but there is no such bar in this window. Oddly, in the top "ingredient"
pane, there is a draggable bar at the top. It only allows you to slide it down which
does nothing but create a blank space in the window (i.e., completely useless). Likewise,
the vertical 2-pane view with the ingredients on the left and instructions on the
right also does not provide a bar to adjust the pane sizes.
The main recipe browser window provides a list of recipes, and intuitively you would
think that when you clicked on a recipe that whatever action you chose after that
(such as delete or edit) would act upon that recipe. However, if you click on "Show
Meals", click on a meal, click on a recipe, and then click to delete (the "-"
button), RecipeManager asks if you want to delete the meal rather than the recipe
you just clicked on. This is very counter-intuitive. I thought that if I chose "Hide
Meals" that it would then allow me to delete the recipe, but it was still trying
to delete the meal. I had to change the "mode", a not-so-obvious set of
buttons in the lower right that provided choices for "Recipe", "Advanced
Search", and "Meals". By clicking on "Recipe" and then delete,
it allowed me to delete the recipe. Also, the delete prompt should list the name
of the recipe or meal to make it more clear what exactly is being deleted (and help
prevent me from deleting the wrong thing). There is no "undo" on the deletes.
When you click on a meal, the window automatically switches to "Meals"
mode, but if you click on a recipe, it does not automatically switch back to "Recipe"
mode (a subtle but potentially dangerous inconsistency).
The RecipeManager - Note the three modes in the lower right (Recipe, Advanced Search,
When editing recipes,
there were a few more interface annoyances. For example, when editing an ingredient
listing, there were no buttons to add or delete ingredients. To delete an ingredient,
you delete the value in the third column (under "Item"). This is not at
all obvious. Further, the only way to add an ingredient is to edit the last ingredient,
tab to the Item column, and then tab one more time (a blank ingredient appears).
You also have to be careful using the RETURN key, because when you are typing text
or editing fields, the RETURN key has inconsistent behaviors. When entering text
in a text field (such as "Background"), a RETURN adds a carriage return.
When pressing RETURN on an edit field (such as the ingredient listings), instead
of going to the next field, it actually triggers the default "SAVE" button,
ending the edit session and saving any changes made.
The RecipeManager is an exciting and easy-to-use utility for archiving, browsing
and managing all of your favorite recipes. It includes a lot of cool features for
searching, browsing and printing, and includes useful tabs for things like pictures,
staging instructions, and nutritional value (in addition to the standard ingredients
and cooking instructions). I found this program to be much easier and more fun to
use than recipe programs I've tried in the past. The RecipeManager comes with 311
recipes, and with the extra recipes that can be downloaded from the RecipeManager
web site, you end up with 1,017 recipes, which is not bad. Further, there are several
resources on the web for downloading more recipes, and you can easily import those
directly into your RecipeManager database. You can also manually enter your recipes
using the program's editing features. Two of my favorite features include the automatic
shopping lists generated by selecting recipes, and the kitchen helpers that provide
measuring conversions, cooking tips, and more. I did run into some interface annoyances
and inconsistencies, but none of them were show stoppers. The bottom line is that
the RecipeManager is a great and useful tool for organizing your recipes, fun to
use, and makes for a versatile kitchen utility for both the cooking hobbyist as well
as the full-time chef.
- Easy to search and browse for recipes
- Awesome print format
- Import function supports a variety of recipe formats
making it easy to expand recipe library
- Very useful Kitchen Helpers
- Automated shopping lists based upon recipes
- Interface annoyances in edit mode
- Inconsistent browser mode behavior
- Non-adjustable panes in cooking view
- Limited number of recipes included with product
- Nothing to prevent or clean duplicate recipes
4 out of 5 Mice