Detailing the Advantages and Disadvantages of the Digital Cookbook

Computers provide for anyone to assemble the wonder of the digital cookbook together from scratch out of select recipe ideas. These marvelous collections solve every cook’s problems when it comes to instant discovery of any recipe whatsoever. And outstanding software for the digital cookbook can only improve over time. Still, it’s only fitting to offer insight into their limitations as well as their advantages.

Pros

Once a recipe has been entered, its computer disk file can be perpetuated indefinitely and can be deleted if all enthusiasm for the dish ever happens to run out. The convenience of adding and refining the collection of recipes can be an enjoyable hobby.

Retrieving specific dishes via search can yield nigh instantaneous appearance of the meal instructions.

Any handheld or tablet device may be used to display the recipe in the kitchen and may also be clipped to a vertical or slanted surface. Frustratingly, most such units will turn off automatically after 1 – 5 minutes. However, through a Wi-fi network, a copy of the recipe can be sent to a Wi-fi printer or node, even from a desktop equipped with the software.

Digital cookbook users have many options for organization. Cuisines and favorite dishes can be kept in one file or many files.

Cooks may never have to worry again about how much space cookbooks take up. Siphoning all the good recipes out of a tome and passing it on means less worry about space. More modern cookbooks may even be available in dedicated e-Reader or tablet application format.

Sharing recipes with other cooks without giving away your entire personal cookbook may be as simple as printing a document or exporting a file.

Cons

Any mistake made with data entry can be distressing. The cook will tend to throw away many a recipe once entered, and then the originally may become impossible or impractical to find.

Probably the biggest cause of dissatisfaction would be proprietary formats that do not offer an open source export option. Proprietary formats basically mean no database transfer. However, Microformats Wiki elaborates nicely on popular formats and portability issues.

There is no indexing function to modern digital cookbooks. Clive Pyne, a professional book indexer, explains that software such as Microsoft Word claims an indexing feature that in fact amounts to a “concordance” that in effect lists the unique words of the compilation. Indexing itself must be performed manually.

Keeping backup copies of files, while standard practice, still requires keeping track of something. Plus, if the disk drive should happen to go out, a backup copy will require re-installation. (Modern Web services that keep the entire set of system files online, synchronized, may well have solved this problem, although privacy issues may discourage using the free services.)

Software cookbooks may not offer enough symbols for cooking convenience. You might want to use the ¾ instead of typing 3/4. There may not be enough freedom to format your recipes as you would prefer. And support for photos may be lacking.

Unless the user prints out the recipe, then the possibility shall linger that the digital copy could become corrupt. For this reason, backup copies should be kept on convenient media and in a convenient place, such as an amply fireproof safe.

For any premium put on the value of an electronic reader capable of displaying the digital cookbook database, the risk of its loss or theft, as well as being dropped accidentally into the soup, necessarily increases. Computers of any sort are fragile and susceptible to contact with spills and contact with vapors of liquids. Pets are also known to be susceptible to disassembling these machines terminally, and kids could, too.

A single electronic reader could also prove to be quite a hot item in the household that more than one or two members of the family could want to use at the same time as the cook. As such, opportunity could be in short supply. And also, the thing will need to be re-charged from time to time, with a share of those times possibly at an inconvenient moment when there will be immediate need for its use.

Although a digital cookbook can be a wonderful database application to add to a cook’s kitchen accessories, the limitations need to be known apart from all the wonderful things that it can do for the cook. There may be problems with availability or the computer of choice may need a battery recharge. Format could be something of a problem with some digital cookbook software packages. Loss of the working original due to damage or theft could be very unpleasant if backups are not available. As such, certain responsibilities do come at a premium when working with digital cookbooks. These matters do bear serious up-front consideration. But once handled, use of these valuable references should be smooth going.