Recipe-oriented software just may make cookbooks passé.

By Deborah Baldwin
Updated November 14, 2006
Printouts of recipes
Credit: Justin Bernhaut

Why give cookbooks a lot of space in your house when you have so much more room on your hard drive? That’s the reasoning behind downloadable software such as Cook’n ($80, and BigOven ($30,

Like free websites with online cookbooks, both come with plenty of recipes and let you paste in your own from other sites. (Caveat: The generic recipes that come with these programs lack the provenance and confidence factor of your favorite cookbooks and magazines.)

In addition to sorting recipes, these programs do other tricks: adjusting for different numbers of servings; offering nutritional information; creating menu plans; and, in the case of Cook’n, generating shopping lists organized by aisle.

Steve Murch, president of Lakefront Software, which developed BigOven, suggests that with programs like these, cookbooks could become a thing of the past. We’ll see about that.