Around my house, we have an “Eternal Question.” We have asked it so many times that we now refer to it as the EQ. The question? “What’s for dinner.” In an effort to forestall last-minute calls for take-out which devastate both wallet and arteries, we have tried all manner of strategies. But lately, I have happened onto one that seems to work. I downloaded the software Big Oven to my computer, pasted in the recipes I like from Cooking Light, Import Foods, and Real Simple, and browsed the software’s accompanying Web site with 160,000 recipes swapped by the software’s other users. This was so easy and fast I wanted to show someone how cool it was. Then I dragged recipesÂ onto the days ofÂ the week in the software’s calendar and we had an answer to the EQ for every night of the week. Each day, it presents me with the recipe I need. And on shopping day, it generates a shopping list based on my menu so I don’t forget to get onions and screw up the plan. We are suddenly cooking with gas. And no one is asking the eternal question because the answer is posted right there on the fridge.
The only downside I found was the need to print the recipes to get them from my office desktop computer to the kitchen. I considered putting a laptop in the kitchen but I like to plan from my desk while I’m procrastinating actual work. Then I discovered that Big Oven hasÂ a Palm tool that solves this. I just sync my menu to my Palm and I’ve got my recipes and shopping list in my purse, eliminating the paper altogether. Outstanding.