Has [information] technology changed the way you cook?

I know it has had a huge impact on what I do in the kitchen, and I wonder if my experience is similar to most folks. (I think I might be a little bit more extreme than general.)

The most general change is the way I approach recipes, post-internet. Before, I used to settle on a recipe book that seemed okay, and browse for things to make out of it for as long as I had it. First attempt at a recipe would be totally by-the-book. If I liked it enough, it would get transcribed into my recipe book. Any adjustments would be made to taste based on notes made in the book.

Now, my approach to a recipe is much different. Eg; It’ll go: “I think I’ll make cabbage rolls tonight,” and the initial prep is browsing several different cabbage roll recipes. I’ll narrow it down to a couple or few that look most appropriate based on personal taste, available ingredients, and outfitting of the kitchen, and generally come up with something that’s a synthesis of the shortlist. This ends up as a text file that gets synced to my old PDA, and that’s what I refer to in the kitchen. (Somehow the PDA doesn’t end up as spattered and stained as my old recipe book did.) I find this approach leads to a much higher rate of succeess than the old “Pick a recipe and make incremental improvements to it” method – but maybe I’m just getting better in the kitchen.

Another way that IT has changed my kitchen habits: My multitâche de cuisine spreadsheet template. This is something that makes making large meals possible for me. Multitasking/timing has always been my weakest point.

Now, if I want to make a large, multi-component meal, I have a template that I plug a target competion time into, and all of the other cooking times & procedures. All the prep is done ahead of time, and I just work to the schedule sheet - it just takes a minute to set up, and because of the way that the values are inherited, it’s easy to adjust if there’s a late start.

I had folks over for dinner on Saturday and served lamb korma, aloo gobi, daal tarka, channa masala, vegetable pakoras, beefy basmati, and garlic naan. Total time in the kitchen was <2hrs, and everything made it to the table on schedule. Thank you, Excel Mobile - easily as effective as flying Gordon Ramsey in to call me a donkey for a week.

How about y’all? How has IT changed your methods in the kitchen? Revolutionary? Not a whit? Somewhere in between?

Totally, in that I’m more adventurous in trying out new recipes. I am not a great cook, but I’ve been able to make a few tried-and-true dishes that my Mom taught me way back when. Before the rise of good free internet-based recipes, I was very hesitant to even try cooking anything new. But, since the (relatively) new GF does not cook, I’ve been trying out recipes online that sound good, and get kudos when they turn out well. =)

I really like your spreadsheet technique. Did you create the template yourself? I’m going to have to look into that.

I don’t know from spreadsheets and templates, but I do know that with the advent of the internet, nobody ever needs to buy a cookbook again. I’m glad I have the few that I do, from before, but I don’t use them very much at all anymore. My computer’s in my kitchen, so pretty handy that way.