FAQ: Miscellaneous Questions
Can I create grocery lists automatically from my meal
No. While this sounds like a good feature, there are
numerous reasons why it is not practical:
Home Cookin has no way of knowing which items you already have on
hand, and which you need. For instance, you probably do not want to
buy salt every time a recipe asks for salt.
Grocery items are often purchased in different quantities than
recipes ask for them. For instance, flour is usually used by the cup,
but purchased in 5 or 10 pound bags.
Many ingredients can be interpreted in multiple ways. For instance,
if a recipe asks for 1/2 cup corn, Home Cookin wouldn't know if you
needed fresh, frozen, or canned.
Most recipes require only two or three ingredients you do not already
have on hand. It is much faster to select the items you need than it
is to remove items you do not need from an automatic list.
Home Cookin allows you to plan for meals that are not in the recipe
database, such as referencing a page in a printed cookbook. There is
no way to determine what ingredients are needed for meals like this,
other than selecting them manually.
A large percentage of a typical grocery list consists of items for
which there are no recipes. For instance, cold cereals, bread, milk,
toilet paper, dish soap, etc.
Home Cookin does not use strict ingredient fields. This makes it much
easier to enter your recipes, but also makes it difficult to
"reliably" extract ingredients for a grocery list.
However, you can simplify the process of selecting the items you
need for a recipe, by selecting that item from the recipe screen. While
you are viewing a recipe, place the mouse pointer over the ingredient
you want to find, and click on that word. For example, click on the
word "flour" on a line that says "1/2 cup flour".
Selecting grocery items manually is much faster than it sounds and
gives you the most control. In most cases, you will spend far more time
choosing your meals and checking your supplies, than you will selecting
the grocery items for those meals.
Can I calculate nutritional values for my recipes?
are a variety of reasons why Home Cookin does not perform nutritional
For a recipe program to calculate nutritional values, it must
maintain a database of ingredients for which it has information on.
If you enter an ingredient that is not listed in the database, the
nutritional values for the recipe will be inaccurate. While many
recipe applications avoid this by limiting you to the ingredients
they have data for, Home Cookin allows you to enter any ingredient
Nutritional values vary wildly from one brand to the next (For
example, compare the nutritional labels on any two brands of
identical sized canned foods). Unless you specify the exact brand of
every ingredient in your recipes, and the nutritional data in the
recipe application matches that brand, the values for the recipe will
Home Cookin allows you to enter recipe ingredients in any format.
Items like Enough water to cover, Salt and Pepper to taste, 2 to 3
cups water, Flour as needed, A large handful, etc. Even something
as simple as one can of tomatoes will work fine in Home
Cookin, and you might instinctively know what this means. But, to
calculate nutritional information it would be necessary to specify
the exact size of that can, and to enter the ingredient in a
specified format (i.e. 16 ounce can tomatoes). While it's
generally a good idea anyway, Home Cookin gives you that flexibility
if you need it.
Scanning recipes into Home Cookin
Home Cookin does not support
scanners directly, but you can scan in recipes if you have OCR software
(Optical Character Recognition) for your scanner.
- Scan in your recipe
- Use OCR to convert the image to text
- Save the text to a file, or copy it to Windows clipboard
- Import the recipe into Home Cookin using the Manual import
While this process can work well in certain situations, it is a
slow and complicated process. Since most recipes will need to be edited
anyway to clean up errors generated during the OCR process, it is often
faster and easier to type the recipe in manually.
When you scan a recipe from a printed page, the result is a digital
photo. If you want to edit the text in that photo, you need to use
special OCR software (optical character recognition) to convert the
pixels in the image to text you can save and edit in other
There are a variety of reasons why OCR is not implemented directly in
Home Cookin. Optical character recognition is a complex task to do
well. It requires sophisticated algorithms to detect the patterns of
each letter, number, or symbol in a variety of fonts. While dedicated
OCR products like Omnipage usually produce acceptable results, there
are almost always errors in the converted documents. I have tried a
number of OCR products over the years and in every case I have found it
easier and more accurate to just type the recipe in by hand.
This is certainly not a limitation of Home Cookin. If you look around
at other recipe applications you will see none of them offer direct
scanning either, for the same reasons mentioned above.
There are paid services such as the "Recipe Scan" option by the folks
at BigOven.com, who will type in your recipes for you. However, at an
approximate cost of a dollar per recipe, that could get expensive
quickly. You also have to wait for them to type the recipe in and send
it back to you. As a small business, I simply don't have the time or
manpower to offer a similar service. If you want to go that route, you
could probably hire your kids, grandkids, or students to type in
recipes at a lower cost.
Finally, most recipes you will find in newspapers, magazines, or
cookbooks can be found online. Either from the source itself, or that
readers have typed in and uploaded. Once you find a recipe online, you
can easily copy the recipe and import it into Home Cookin.
How do I print a cookbook with Home Cookin Recipe
Home Cookin was designed to replace printed cookbooks
with a system that allows easier access to your recipes. However, there
are a variety of ways you can create printed cookbooks, from simple to
Print to standard letter size pages and place them in a 3-ring binder
Print to 3x5 or 4x6 index cards and place them in a decorative photo
album for presentation. Many office supply stores also sell clear
sheets that will hold four index cards in a traditional binder.
Print using the "booklet" print layout, then fold and staple the
pages into a small cookbook.
Export recipes using the PDF Cookbook
format. This will create
a print ready PDF file complete with a title page and index at the
end. You can send the PDF to friends and family for them to print
out, or you can upload the file to a printing service like Lulu.com
and have professionally bound
cookbooks printed. Coil bound books are best for the kitchen, as they
lay flat while you are cooking. But a hardcover book has a more
professional look for gift giving. See the Cookbook Instructions
for more information.
You might also consider distributing your recipes electronically.
The easiest way to do this is to "export" the recipes you want to share
to a text file. You can then send the file by email, copy it to a flash
drive, or burn it to a CD to share with friends and family. They can
print or view the recipes using any text editor or word processor, or
they can import the recipes into the recipe software of their choice.
Fix Home Cookin recipe organizer so you can add new
Windows protects many folders on your computer by creating
virtual copies. This can cause problems with Home Cookin when the
recipes you add are not saved where the program expects to find them.
Home Cookin will appear to function normally, allowing you to enter and
save your new recipe. The next time you open Home Cookin your new
recipe will be missing since Windows saved it to a virtual folder.
When you first install Home Cookin, the folder permissions are set so
Windows knows not to create a virtual copy of the folder. However, if
you create the folder manually, it will revert back to the virtual
behavior. This may occur when moving Home Cookin to a new computer, or
when restoring files from a backup.
To fix this problem you must run the installer that came with your
original version. This will not affect your existing recipes, but it
will configure the folder permissions and recreate the desktop shortcut
Your original installer can usually be found in the Home Cookin folder
at C:\Program Files\Home Cookin\setup.exe. Or, you can download
the trial version if you are using the
current version of Home Cookin. If you are unable to locate your
installer and are using an older version of Home Cookin, you will need
to upgrade to the current version
Solution to error 4119 when saving PDF cookbook.
A bug in
version 6 can sometimes result in error 4119 when trying to save a PDF
cookbook. The error occurs when creating a new file, so you can work
around the problem by overwriting an existing file with your PDF
Quit Home Cookin and copy any file (text, music, or whatever)
to the folder where you want to save the PDF document.
Rename the file to the name you want to use for your PDF
document (i.e. Cookbook.pdf
). Ignore any warnings about changing
the file type.
Open Home Cookin and create your PDF cookbook as usual.
When you save the PDF, select the Cookbook.pdf
you copied earlier (overwriting the existing file).
This bug was fixed in version 7. We recommend upgrading to the current version.
Fix the "System file is not suitable" error
16-bit applications on Windows XP often results in an error message
that includes the phrase "The system file is not suitable..."
This is usually caused by missing or damaged Windows system files that
are necessary to support 16-bit applications.
Home Cookin 5.0 and later are not affected
, since they are
32-bit applications. However, if you are still using version 4.9 or
earlier, you may want to try one of these solutions:
Download the "Quick Fix" utility from
Worldstart discusses the problem at worldstart.com
Microsoft discusses the problem in detail in knowledge base