I've been an avid cookbook collector for over 40 years with literally hundreds of cookbooks! Because there are special recipes that my family likes in each cookbook, I used to find myself on the floor with piles of cookbooks around me as I tried to find a specific recipe. My solution, which my family really appreciates, is I purchased a used laptop and put a recipe program on it. This laptop is dedicated to recipes and is used for nothing else. As time permitted, I would go through my cookbooks and type favorite recipes on my laptop.
To make it really easy to find special recipes, I created separate cookbooks categories within the cookbook program for the recipes (like BREAD - BAGELS, BREAD - BRAIDS and WREATHS, BREAD - BREAD MACHINE, BREAD - BUNS, BREAD - COFFEE CAKES, BREAD - CORN BREAD, BREAD - CREPES & PANCAKES, BREAD - DINNER ROLLS, etc) Each category has it's own Table of Contents.
If you can't afford a used laptop, an alternative is to purchase an external HD. You can find them online for around $60 depending on the size. (Try newegg.com) You can keep it on the same table or desk as your desktop computer; they are about the size of a cable modem.
Keep your recipes on there and simply plug into your desktop with its USB when you want to access it.
Back them up!!!! I've had too many problems with computers over the years to ever trust them!
I keep mine in a separate section in my computer called, "Holly's Recipes," and also have them backed up on an external hard drive.
At one time I had many of them on floppy disks, so be aware that they need to be kept up with the times.
I use Print Shop for some favorite recipes and Word for others. Then copy to a CD for a back up or to share.
Why not scan your favorite recipes and save them on your computer? This saves so much time and eliminates the chance of typing errors.
Typing them into your computer does allow you to search ingredients - which scanning would not. The great part about scanning of course in the ability to save the recipe quickly. The greatest part of scanning - before you scan a recipe into your computer - write your own personal comment on the page - a little note to your loved ones. They will have your recipes, your wisdom and your love for generations to come. You could even scan in those old newspaper clippings that your mother or grandmother or dad wrote on. Your family's history and love will evolve on the pages.
I think you've inadvertantly come up with a money making idea. I'm not computer literate enough, but I think you can sell this recipe collection to other people. I am sure there are others like myself who would like your "Computer Cookbook." (smile)
On the scanning thing... most good scanners have an "OCR" )optical character recognition) setting. The up-side is, a whole lot less typing! The down-side, of course, is that the OCR setting wouldn't perceive any handwritten notes, except as a graphic.
I used to be pretty good at techie stuff... not so much anymore, sorry. Hope I've been of some help.
Why not back them up on CD's for your daughters? It's a lot less expensive that used laptops. Make yourself a copy also. Better safe than sorry!
The reason for the dedicated laptop for the recipes is so my daughters will be able to have the recipes available in their kitchens without taking up space like cookbooks do. Each of my daughters has her own computer set up in a different room far away from her kitchen. The advantage of the laptop is that it can be put on a shelf when not in use, plus you can increase the size of the type so you don't have to be on top of the computer to see what the next ingredient or the next step is.
I used the Master Cook program that enables me to create individual cookbooks for different subjects (Bread-Quick, Bread - Sourdough, Bread - Sticks & Pretzels, Bread - Sweet Rolls, Bread - Waffles, Etc.). These individual cookbooks make it very easy for me to find just the right recipe in a short period of time.
Another plus about having a dedicated laptop for my recipes is for my husband. If I go before him (my Mother passed on long before my Dad), then my husband will easily be able to find a recipe if he wants to cook.
If you have the opportunity to create a dedicated laptop for your recipes, you'll be very pleased with the final result. My Daughters have expressed their appreciation multiple times for the time I've put into creating their cookbooks and I'm not done yet. Even my Husband has kept an eye on my progress. They realize that I'm doing this for them as a gift of love.
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