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ChickenPing – Today’s Cook Book

My Dad always says that he stopped complimenting my Mom’s cooking because if she found out he liked a dish, she seemed to lose the recipe and he’d never get that meal again. Since I’ll be getting married shortly, I wanted to make sure the same thing didn’t happen to me. I like complimenting my fiancée and enjoy her cooking. This problem might be non-existent thanks to software called ChickenPing.

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ChickenPing is a free application (donationware) used for recipe management and is loaded with features. You can enter your favorite recipes, categorize them, and associate pictures with each dish. The only requirement to run this Window’s software is that you have Microsoft’s .NET Framework 3.5 installed. There is also a version for Windows Mobile which can be sync-ed with the desktop version.

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ChickenPing builds a database (by default in Application DataChickenPing) of all your recipes.  You can import recipes in the RecipeML format, which is just a specific definition of XML for recipes, or export them for back-up or easy sharing. To add a new recipe, just click the New Recipe button in the main window. When you create a recipe, you just provide all the basic information: the name, a description, how many it serves, a rating, and any categories it belongs in. Then just switch to the other tabs and list the ingredients and directions. You can also connect images of your final creation so you can get an idea of what you’ll be making the next time you see the recipe. For these images, you can choose a picture file or integrate with popular imaging sites Flickr and Picasa. The final tab in the Edit Recipe interface is for choosing an icon to go in front of the recipe listing in the main window. ChickenPing comes preloaded with a wide variety of food-related icons that you can use.

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You can choose a recipe and select a button from the main window to have the amount of ingredients easily scaled for you, just answer how many servings you need and the ingredient list will be scaled up or down accordingly from the original recipe.

If you’re double-checking a recipe before you start making it to ensure that you have all the ingredients, good for you! Secondly, ChickenPing can help you remember any ingredients you might be lacking with its Shopping List. The shopping List will open a window to list any ingredients you’ll need to pick up from the store before you can start cooking. From that window you can modify the content or add any comments per ingredient. To make it even easier, when you’re looking at a recipe just right-click the needed ingredient and choose the ‘Add To Shopping List’ option and the quantity, measurement, and ingredient will automatically be filled in on the Shopping List. You can then print your Shopping List to take with you to the grocery store if you don’t have a Windows Mobile device to sync with.

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Another great feature of ChickenPing is its search ability. Say you can’t recall what a recipe was called, like your daughter’s favorite brownies and Valentine’s Day is coming up, but you do recall that it called for 2 sticks of butter, just do a quick search for recipes using that ingredient and it will narrow down the list for you to check. There’s also a nifty feature called “In the Fridge.” If you have some items you need to get rid of, just do a search for ingredients in the fridge. Any recipes that are pulled up will use at least X number (you specify) of ingredients that you listed.

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Sticky Fingers Mode is the final feature to cover and it is out-of-left-field cool and unexpected. Switching to Sticky Fingers Mode is ideal if you’re actually making a dish and still looking at ChickenPing as your recipe source. It essentially makes the program maximized, the text easier to read, and the page high contrast with either black text on a white background or white text on a black background. There are also big buttons in case you need to scroll up/down, switch the color scheme, or exit the recipe. This would really help out if you had a laptop in the kitchen with your recipes all loaded.

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As I mentioned earlier, ChickenPing can read RecipeML files to import a recipe, but it also is primed and ready for a recipe sharing service. You can go to the menu and choose to search for a recipe. Unfortunately, the service isn’t quite ready yet. According to the developer:

The recipe sharing service doesn’t work because I haven’t turned it on. The site is finished, but I don’t have ASP.NET hosting to host it on. Hopefully I’ll get this in september/october, in which case the service will be turned on straight away.

This will be an exciting feature and hopefully it will become quite the repository of recipes. For now, you can search the web for random RecipeML formatted recipes like:

Of course you can also manually add recipes from your own collection or from these great sites and others:

Get your recipes organized along with a lot of other great features with ChickenPing.

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