Better than PepperPlate?
January 9, 2012 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a better alternative to PepperPlate for storing recipes.

I like the concept of PepperPlate. I like the iPad integration. I like the free-formedness (it's about your recipes, not theirs plus, btw, an opportunity to add your own).

But the programming is weak. They claim to be about sharing, yet there's no way show others your recipe file except via emailing individual recipes; the software can't handle smart quotes, workflow's maddening, tagging is nightmarish, and tag editing is non-existent. Since manual recipe entry involves tons of cut/pasting, you'd think they'd keep all fields open to make the work faster, but instead you've got to open up "Title", "Description", "Ingredients", "Instructions", and "Notes" fields separately and one at a time. Ugh!

The service is quite popular, nonetheless, because lots of home cooks aren't very geeky, and don't recognize the shortcomings.

My main worry is this: Pepperplate's model is about providing ways to automatically import recipes from major food web sites, yet the list of supported sites never grows, which makes me worry development is dead. And since there's no way to bulk export my recipes, I worry about that a lot.

So what's something like this, only better, and more actively developed? It MUST involve a nice slick iPad version with a slick synching function.
posted by Quisp Lover to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Evernote? I'm not sure how sharing is, but it's great for organizing stuff like this--I keep a bunch of recipes on it.

Barring that, google docs? I use that for some recipes, too.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:14 PM on January 9, 2012

Try out paprika . I love the quality of the app, and I think it does most of the things you are looking for.
posted by brorfred at 2:16 PM on January 9, 2012

posted by brorfred at 2:17 PM on January 9, 2012

I like Paprika also. For sites that do not have the recipe saving feature it's still pretty easy to create a recipe by selecting the text. One irritating bit is that you have to pay for the iPad, iPhone, and Mac versions separately if you want the app on all of them.
posted by cabingirl at 2:19 PM on January 9, 2012

If ChefTap is on iDevice then that's another thing to consider. I have it for Android and love it. It will automatically pull stuff I've saved on All Recipes and Epicurious, or I can share things to it and it will automagically find the recipe in the page.

Paprika seems to be pretty close to that.
posted by theichibun at 3:12 PM on January 9, 2012

Best answer: It doesn't have a lot of "features," but the best online recipe tool I've found is Google Docs. If you want to see how I've set it up, I wrote about it here.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 4:08 PM on January 9, 2012

I am another big Paprika fan. It won me over with the fact that the iPad app never goes to sleep, so your screen doesn't go dark just when your hands are covered in chicken guts or whatever.
posted by web-goddess at 4:36 PM on January 9, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I'll check out Paprika and ChefTap. I own Evernote on all my devices, but have never really got going with it.

LaurenIpsum, kudos for the single most intelligent insight on all this that I've seen:

Many recipes are ones that I found those cases, my document includes a link to the original webpage where I got the recipe. I will usually refer to the original page when cooking, but having the full-text in my document helps by making the whole collection searchable, and acting as a backup if the webpage ever disappears.

Bingo! Generally speaking, a recipe is going to look best and include the most information (e.g. comments, etc) in its original locale. And that's where we should be cooking from.

As you say, there's value in having each recipe locally, as well (e.g. access offline, searching, archiving). But there's little point in taking painstaking effort to normalize formatting and structure....which is what services like Pepperplate are designed to do. Better to just paste text hastily into a doc (or...hmm....into Evernote). Note the link, cook from the link, and you're done. No fuss, no cost. Spending hours shoe-horning recipes into an app so they can look as nice as the original always felt dumb, and now I understand why. Just use the darn Web!

One addition to your system I'd suggest: throw all the URLs into Pinboard, and upgrade to Pinboard's $25/yr archiving account. That way if the site disappears, you retain a fully formatted version in addition to your text backup. So absolutely nothing changes no matter what (unless Pinboard goes out of biz, but I think it'll be around for a long while).
posted by Quisp Lover at 5:57 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just checked and ChefTap isn't on iStuff right now. But the developers say it will be and when that happens it's totally worth a look.

Also, when you import a recipe it has a link to the original. Best of both worlds if you as me since you can get the ChefTap formatting but have easy access to the original page if you need that for some reason.
posted by theichibun at 7:18 AM on January 10, 2012

I can't recommend Paprika enough. Plus, they gave me a free copy of their Mac app. I love them. I can import recipes from a shocking number of sites (there must be some standard blog recipe CSS that they are able to pull from, because seriously, all sorts of hipster recipe blogs) and when I can't, it's super duper easy to do it myself.
posted by good day merlock at 8:16 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: theichibun, PepperPlate also offers a link to the original. As do pretty much all these services.

My point is that if you've got a link, why take time/effort to import/format the recipe for the service? Is it any less convenient to click a link to another web site? There are benefits to having stuff all in one place (searching, archiving, indexing, occasional offline access), but none of those benefits are much enhanced by spending time on formatting/importing, or, generally, on using a service rather than a vanilla notebook (evernote, google docs, etc).
posted by Quisp Lover at 10:42 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Hmm. Paprica has no web service. That feels claustrophobic for this sort of thing.

And while web services can disappear, it's easy to passively keep them running, even if not actively developed, so odds are on your side re: longevity. Whereas the relentless progress of OS updates kills most applications over time unless actively developed. And I don't want to have to keep futzing with this data (especially since these sorts of apps/services have incentive to offer an easy export function).
posted by Quisp Lover at 2:05 PM on January 10, 2012

Springpad is a Evernote like service that I've been using for recipe storage for a while now. The big advantage is a recipe note format (as well as a bunch of other specific types), as opposed to just plain text. It's got an iPad app, and pretty nifty web integration. It understands the format of a bunch of recipe sites, so I can just give it a URL to a recipe I find online, and it'll import it with the proper formatting.
posted by bigdamnnerd at 2:37 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks. I hadn't heard of Springpad before. Searching the Web, seems the Evernote vs Springpad argument is a hot one. Interestingly, the chief complaint/advantage of Springpad seems to be that it's more structured....less freeform than Evernote. But, for recipes, yeah, some structure would be good.
posted by Quisp Lover at 6:29 PM on January 10, 2012

« Older Looking for a replacement pocketknife   |   Recording program? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.