My Favorite Recipes has been created out of a simple observation: There are a number of apps in the AppStore for other peoples recipes, but why is there none for our own?
That was in the late of 2008. We spent approximately one year developing in our spare time before releasing it into the wild. One of the main goals was that the app should behave like one of the apps that originally ships with an iPhone/iPod Touch. That meant:
- Stability: No crashes or we don’t release it
- Sleek UI: The Apps we use the most don’t have much bling but instead are great to use.
- Content: Instead of shipping with hundreds of recipes, we made it easy for people to add and share recipes.
Since then the app has received many major and minor updates but the essence of the app always stayed true. If you’re looking for an app with many pre-installed recipes, this is not the app for you. But if you want your own personal collection of favorites on your iPhone, you’re in for a treat.
Since My Favorite Recipes is an app for your personal recipes, the main question everyone has is "how do I get my recipes in there"? Well, there are multiple ways:
A lot of care has been put into making manual entry as fast as possible. If you've got 100 recipes you want to get into the app, this is probably not the way to go. However, in the typical case that you discover a new recipe, adding it to your collection will be quick and easy.
A lot of users have purchased the app as a mobile companion for an existing desktop application they already own. They enter and manage recipes on their desktop enjoying the comfort of a large screen and hardware keyboard, then transfer them to the app to have them available on the go.
There is a wide variety of desktop recipe managers (Kalorio, Rezkonv, Mealmaster, ...) that allow exporting their recipes to an export file format. If you've got such a program, check if it can export one of the formats supported by My Favorite Recipes:
- CookML (.cml): Modern recipe exchange format with a rich feature set. It is the only supported format that can handle images.
- Mastercook (.mxp): Rich exchange format but without support for images.
- Mealmaster (.mm): Very simple format, widely used in newsgroups and on recipe websites.
- Revkonv (.rez): Similar to Mealmaster but supports a wide range of measurement units.
Such files can be imported by the app as it understands their structure and the information contained in them. To get the file on your device, you can either:
- iTunes: Attach your device to your computer, open iTunes and choose your device from the left side bar. In the device's synchronization settings, choose the Apps tab and scroll to the "File Sharing" section at the bottom of the page. Upload a file to Recipes and then use the documents button in the Sharing tab inside Recipes.
- Email: Send it to your device as an email attachment, then tap and hold on the attachment until the "open in" dialog appears" and choose Recipes.
- Wifi: Use an app such as ifiles to establish a wifi connection and upload the file to that app. From there, use the "open in" functionality to again send it to Recipes.
If you have files in a different format, just drop us an email and if it's viable, we'll try to add an importer for your format as well
If you are looking for new recipes, try the web browser integrated into the app. It behaves like the standard web browser you know but constantly parses the websites you look at and tries to detect a recipe. If it finds one it understands, the import button lights up. Pressing that button stores the recipe on your device.
Unfortunately, this cannot work for all websites that exist since each one has a slightly different format. However, there are two cases where the browser works just great:
- Recipe Meta HTML-Markup: (new in V1.5.0)The owner of a website can add special recipe meta information (i.e. Microdata, Microformat or RDF) to the HTML code of his website and mark which part describes the ingredient, which part the author and so on. My Favorite Recipes can use that additional information to understand the recipe and import it correctly. One great way to find websites that have this meta information is Google Recipes.
- Embedded Exchange Format: A number of sites have a button or link to view a recipe in Mealmaster or one of the other supported recipe file formats. Again, if the app detects such content, the import button lights up. If the user taps on a link to a recipe file that it understands, the import will start automatically.
At the heart of the app is of course the recipe view. It uses a multi-page layout with all ingredients and basic information on the first page. Each recipe can have various additional data: a general description, a 1-5 star rating, author, number of portions, categories, list of matching recipes, matching drinks, required time.
About half of those items are only visible if there is actually data set for them. Otherwise they are not shown to avoid clutter. Here are a few other things that you may not have noticed yet:
- Tap on the image in the upper left corner to see a full-sized version.
- You can use the portion slider to adjust the recipe to the number of people you are cooking for.
- Tap on an ingredient to check it off. This is very helpful to not forget something when doing a complex recipe.
By swiping to the left, the first instruction step is scrolled in. Each step can have an optional image. Again, the instruction can be tapped to check off that step.
Next to the portion scaler, there are two buttons: One let's you share a recipe on facebook, the other puts that recipe with the currently set amount of portions on to your shopping list.
Shopping for ingredients is of course an essential part of cooking, so we put a shopping list directly into the app. The list is split into two parts: First the list of ingredients and then the list of recipes. To add a recipe to your shopping list, you can either tap "Edit" and the "add recipe" entry at the bottom of the list or use the aforementioned shopping list button in the Recipe View. For each recipe, the app will automatically create an entry for each ingredient required for that recipe.
Instead of adding a complete recipe, you can also add a custom item by hitting the plus button in the upper left corner. This is useful for adding that cart of milk that you wanted to buy anway or whatever else comes to mind. Each ingredient entry can be tapped to check it off. Once all ingredients for a recipe are checked off, the recipe itself will become checked off as well. In case someone else is going to do the shopping, you can export your shopping list as an email under the "Sharing" tab.
Anything missing for you? Drop us an email. This is mainly a hobby project, so we cannot promise anything. But for quite a while now this app is mainly driven by user feedback. So let us know what it would take for you to give us a five star rating in the AppStore. Speaking of which: You do really help us by writing reviews if you enjoy the app...
Q: Will there be an iPad version?
This is a popular question and usually the answer was no. But do to the changes required to get the app running on iOS 11 it will probably be possible to offer an iPad version soon,
Q: Why doesn't the App support multi-tasking?
A: The core of the app was written well before multi-tasking was available and there are a number of things that make it more difficult than just adding a few lines. To make a long story short, this is pretty high on the list of things to fix but there is no clear date when we will get to it.
Q: How can I backup my recipes or transfer them to another device?
A: The recipes are stored in a file called "Recipes.sqlite" inside the documents folder of your app. As such, they will be backed up when synchronizing with iTunes same as every other application does. However, you can directly access the database file by attaching your device and going to the synchronization settings page of your device. Select the "Apps" tab and scroll down to the app documents section at the bottom of the page. A brute force way to synchronize two devices is to copy the sqlite file from one device and put it on another, overwriting everything that was previously stored on that device.
Q: Is there a desktop version for PC/Mac?
A: Currently not. We actually started writing a simple one for Mac but didn't feel that happy with it. That's why we rather recommend using one of the establish recipe desktop programs out there. We might take another approach in the future, since the existing applications are usually way too dated for our taste...
Q: Why doesn't the App support format xyz?
A: Probably because we haven't heard if it yet. The app started with just MealMaster and CookML support, all other formats were added following user requests. If you've got some format that is not supported, just drop us an email and we'll see what we can do.
Q: What’s the red badge on the App icon?
The red badge added to the App Icon in the home screen symbolizes the number of items on your shopping list that are unchecked.
Q: The MealMaster recipe looks all wrong, some of the ingredients ended up in the description. What happened?
The MealMaster format follows a very strict format. Make sure the indention is correct (amount on the first 7 characters, then a space, then two characters for the unit, then a space, then the ingredient name). A number of programs/websites incorrectly drop some of the indention. The import has been made more robust in version 1.1.