Using an iPad to access recipes and to stream music in my kitchen
December 30, 2014 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Help me get organized in 2015. I’d like to mount an iPad 2 tablet on a kitchen cabinet, just above the main counter that I use for cooking. The tablet will be used to access recipes and to stream music into the kitchen.

With regard to the recipes: I have an unwieldy and disorganized collection of recipes that are in different formats. Some recipes are saved as favorites in my browser. Others are printed on paper, stored electronically as Word documents or PDFs, hand-written on index cards, or physically bookmarked in hardcopy cookbooks & magazines. I have access to a desktop scanner that can scan documents into PDFs. How can I best organize these recipes so that I can easily find them and view them on my iPad while I’m cooking? Note that I’d rather have them stored on my desktop PC (or maybe in the cloud) than on the tablet itself.

With regard to the music: I already have kitchen speakers that are wired to my Windows 7 desktop PC in the dining room. Most of the time, I just pop a CD into the computer and listen to music that way. I also have a few thousand MP3 files, though I don’t play them much. Listening to MP3s is a hassle for me, because I end up adding them manually to a playlist on VLC Player (I don’t have any permanent playlists saved). I also have iTunes on my computer, but I rarely use it, because I find it confusing. I'm willing to spend some time ripping the CDs, and I'd ultimately like a way to access my whole music collection from the iPad.

My goal is to make my kitchen experience more streamlined. I’m not committed to any particular applications, and I’m willing to spend some time (and maybe some money) on this project.
posted by akk2014 to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I like to use Evernote for recipes. The iPad version works well. There's also Evernote food, but I've never used it. You can tease out more iPad friendly suggestions from here.
posted by sevenless at 9:21 AM on December 30, 2014

Spotify is awesome for music and you can skip all the ripping CDs and cataloging and all that.

As for the recipes, something that turns them into a database so that you can search by ingredient and type would be most useful. Maybe something like MyRecipes?
posted by dawkins_7 at 9:23 AM on December 30, 2014

One side suggestion: If you're going to be using it in the kitchen I'd recommend getting a good big stylus that you can use with wet/gross hands. We have Belkin's Chef Stand + Stylus and it's pretty great for the kitchen. In fact, I can't even condone mounting the iPad permanently as that kills a lot of the flexibility of moving it around if you were working on something in a different part of the kitchen but wanted the display in front of you.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:30 AM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I second the above Chef stand. It's awesome and I use my iPad with it all the time.

Actually mounting it means you only have the iPad in one place. It would also be annoying to keep charged. It would also limit the iPad to just that use.

I don't use the stylus as much as I normally would because I am not too concerned about getting the iPad smudgey. It cleans nicely.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:58 AM on December 30, 2014

We've been using Paprika to store and organize recipes for the last couple of months, and so far it's been good. It makes it particularly easy to clip recipes from many websites, and it'll help you manage your grocery shopping list. It works on phones, tablets, Mac and PC.

Putting the music into iTunes would make it easy to share your library with the iPad.
posted by sriracha at 10:09 AM on December 30, 2014

I have friends that use Evernote for recipes to great effect, but I prefer Paprika because it's specifically built for that purpose. It has a built in timer, a great automatic grocery list builder, and the ability to scale recipes. Here's a nice comparison of iOS recipe apps.

For music, I always recommend Rdio if you want to go subscription-based. I've used Spotify as well, but I think Rdio is a much better product (and company).

If you don't want to go with a subscription service, iTunes is probably your best bet. While the new version is better than it has been in the past, it's still not a terribly great product. However, it is extremely easy to access your iTunes library from iOS devices. If you're primarily using it that way, it's worth the hassle.

If you really hate iTunes, Google Play Music might be worth looking into. The free service allows you to sync music you already own with Google's library and stream it from Google's apps. That's as much as I know, but it looks like an intriguing alternative.
posted by rensar at 10:34 AM on December 30, 2014

Note: the Google Play app is not optimized for the iPad, so you get a blown-up iPhone version that doesn't rotate into landscape mode.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 10:36 AM on December 30, 2014

3m makes a line of removable adhesive hooks. I use three to mount my iPad to the side of the fridge ( two on bottom, one on top.) The iPad just slips into place even with the case on. I also purchased a Belkin blue tooth receiver and plugged it into the aux port of my kitchen radio.
posted by Gungho at 10:59 AM on December 30, 2014

Thirding or whatever Paprika for your recipes. It's easy to add recipes from various sites, and I like being able to email recipes to anyone whenever they ask for it. I use the recipe scaling feature constantly.
posted by thejanna at 11:31 AM on December 30, 2014

I'll have to look at Paprika. But what I do is use Calibre To assemble my own private .epub cookbooks, and then view them in iBooks. It takes some work - 'cause yeah, I've got a big messy lot of recipes in all kinds of formats - but basically convert each recipe to HTML and then Calibre will do the hard part. No fancy features like auto-generation of grocery lists - but .epub is a common format that is easy share with your relatives, say.
posted by doctor tough love at 1:40 PM on December 30, 2014

For your music, if you use iTunes on your computer, you'll need to keep your computer on in order for the iPad to pull music from it.

I am wary of going streaming service only because who knows if the music I like will be there, and the most inportant part, how long will it stay there? With movies and TV shows, I'm happy to trust the winds of fate, because I do less repeat viewing.

If you like the music you have and still buy some more sometimes, if go with the iTunes route. If you have other ios devices or other computer that you run iTunes on, look into iTunes Match. For $25 / year, you can upload all of your music and download or stream it to any of your devices.

Google and Amazon have similar services with their own quirks.

We also use a combo of Pandora and Songza to mix it up a bit.

For recipes, I use Evernote, as I have a bunch of paper recipes that I'm importing and Evernote does text recognition so I can easily search. We don't do a ton of meal planning, but if we did, that Paprika app would be my next move.
posted by reddot at 4:31 AM on December 31, 2014

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