Recipes can be tagged for easier searching. There are preset tags or you can create your own, like "Billy's favorite," giving you an easy way to pull out Billy's favorites whenever Billy's a bit fussy. One downside: Custom tags only give you 15 characters, so "Billy's favorites" actually came out as "Billy's favorit."
There are several search options to find a unique recipe. You can narrow down a recipe by rating, ingredient, cuisine, title and tags. So a search for mom's special turkey meatball recipe that was rated five stars by the family, and is Billy's favorite, will float to the top if these terms were used in the search.
BigOven also sports a shopping list that is a notch above those found in rival programs. I like the fact that it categorizes ingredients by grocery department.
So before I prepare a meal, I simply click "Add Shop" to get all the needed ingredients and their quantities onto my shopping list. I then can delete items I already have. Alternatively, I can drag and drop a recipe into the shopping list. Before heading to the grocery store, I can print the list out or send it to a Palm or Windows mobile device.
Meal planning is easy: Clicking "Add Cal" inserts the recipe into a calendar.
BigOven lets you create a custom cookbook as well, complete with a dedication page and colorful picture covers. It's $29.95 and up, through BigOven.com, on top of the price for the software.
Other recipe programs let you make a personal cookbook without an additional charge, but they can look like the amateur efforts they really are. BigOven's custom cookbook is nice enough to be given away as a gift.
It's about time I organized my recipes and BigOven makes it inexpensive, easy and engaging. "Julie & Julia" got me jazzed about cooking again. I still have that collection of French Provencal recipes somewhere around the house. I think I'll start there.
On the Net:
Living Cookbook: http://www.livingcookbook.com
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.