Cataloguing: present participle of cat·a·log (Verb), meaning to
I’ve been threatening to put some order on the cookbooks in the kitchen for some time and this week as I take a few extra days away from the office before getting 2012′s development works underway, I’ve finally made a start. In fairness, it’s not like there’s a library in the kitchen. The boxes of books in the attic, the bookshelves upstairs, the bags of books in the office and wardrobes around the house would certainly take some more time but I reckon there’s between 50 and 60 books in there. The thing is, even at 50 or 60 books, there’s maybe 20% of those I could name off hand if I was heading out. With food and cookbooks always on the cards around Christmas and birthdays, I figure it would be helpful for myself (and others involved) to know what’s on the shelf in the kitchen, so I’ve taken to cataloguing the books online.
At time of writing, I’ve 45 done and published to a temporary library here before figuring out the best way to port all the info in the library into WordPress and integrate with the blog here.
To get me along the way, I’m using a desktop app for the Mac by the name of Delicious Library, an app I picked up as part of a software bundle a year or two ago in its first version. Now on version 2.7 and retailing for $35, Delicious catalogues not only books but also movies, music, videogames, clothes, gadgets, tools, toys and software, or, pretty much the majority of what can be bought through Amazon. How does it work? It’s quite simple really – hold the barcode of the book up in front of your Mac’s iSight camera, the bar code gets scanned and all book info (including artwork) gets pulled into your Library. If it’s not available in the UK store, a drop down menu allows you to scan the American, French, German and Japanese stores as well. Entering a book into the library on your desktop only takes a few seconds and of the 45 books scanned so far this evening, only 1 required manual entry (a book I picked up in M&S with their own internal barcoding).
The initial results of the book scanning can be seen here – http://www.anygivenfood.com/deliciouslibrary/
Built into the app is also a remote publishing feature, allowing you to publish to your MobileMe account, any FTP server or a local folder to create a mini library website for you to upload. The resulting publication is a bit basic for my own requirements but it makes all of your books searchable online, handy if you need to flip open a browser page to find out what you have or don’t have on the shelf in the kitchen. A change to the Amazon API T&Cs in recent times scrapped the iPhone version but the desktop version holds pretty well.
And, if you’re hoarding books (like me with the office wall upstairs) and you regularly lend books to friends as well, they’ve got that one covered as well with an in-built lending function, allow you to assign books as ‘out’ to friends, finding out who you gave a book to, when, and what they borrowed. You can also sell books from your library on Amazon, and buy books from your library there as well. I’ve spotted that the links in the published library (and within the application) have an affiliate key for the developers to earn them a few cent here and there on that side of the functionality, something I’m not in any way concerned about.
If it sounds useful to you, you can get a free download at Delicious-Monster.com which allows scanning and storing of up to 25 items in the library. After that, a license key (one off) will cost you US$35.
One other app that might be of use to you in terms of cataloging books that you both have read and want to read is the new iPhone app from Goodreads.com. The scanning functionality behind the app is quite simple – open the app, log in with your email address and password (you need a free goodreads.com account to use it), scan the barcode from inside the app and add to a list of books you have read, or books you want to read. Easy.
All the info from the app is then duplicated to your goodreads.com account online, again with the book title, description, cover, ISBN and links to buy online, handy if you’re browsing the bookshelves in town and want to do an order online at a later date (or for keeping track of the aforementioned Christmas and birthday presents). You can see my sample Goodreads.com list made from the mobile app today.
I’m gonna need a bigger bookshelf. Or, more to the point, an actual bookshelf. In chatting about Christmas bringing all things nice, I didn’t mention any of the food-related presents. Cook books were high on the list of Irish food bloggers judging by the talk on Twitter and I’m in the same boat there with two new additions to the kitchen reading.
Back in October I picked up three or four new reads, last month I won a copy of Neven Maguire’s Home Chef courtesy of Nessa Robbins and thanks to my parents and grandparents, I’m adding Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals (Jamie Oliver, 2010) and Neven’s Food from the Sun (Neven Maguire, 2008).
Both books I’ve actually had in my hand to buy in the past week or two, herself turning me away from buying Jamie Oliver’s latest read unaware she was in cahoots with the family. I’d had Food From The Sun in my hand on Christmas Eve in Eason’s, putting it down at the last minute, only to discover that my grandparents had bought me a copy for Christmas Day. For as long as I can remember we’ve been getting books from our grandparents for Christmas – travel books, crime books, thrillers, history books, but never a cook book, until now.
The books, coupled with herself spoiling me with a new 22cm Le Creuset casserole dish and a few other foodie gadgets from the family (including a nifty julienne slicer), the pressure is on a bit to get some shelves into the kitchen and start putting all of these new books to the test.
On that note, anyone get any good cook books for Christmas, anything you’ve been dying to get your hands on?
One, two, three, four. Four new cook books for the kitchen at Chez McGuire. God knows how many recipes and ideas there are between them but I’ve got enough reading material to get me through to Christmas. That said, I almost walked out of M&S earlier this afternoon with Nigella Lawson’s new book, as if the four waiting for me weren’t enough.
His episode of Dragons’ Den pops up on Dave every now and again but you must have been living under a rock if you haven’t heard of Levi Roots in recent years or his Reggae Reggae sauce. A trip to TK Maxx yesterday left me coming home with Levi Roots Food for Friends: 100 Simple Dishes for Every Occasion (Amazon link) picking it up for a tenner in hard back, down from €24. There’s plenty to choose from where lunches, dinners, desserts and baking is concerned, all with a Caribbean treatment and all designed with ingredients available in the local shop, though I’ll put that to the test soon enough.
Last weekend I picked up Catherine’s Italian Kitchen
(Amazon Link), Catherine Fulvio’s latest publication. Admittedly I haven’t seen any of Catherine’s TV outings but the sights and smells at her demos in Kilkenny last week were more than enough to get me to part with the 20 Euro for the book. There’s over 100 recipes in the book for all levels of cook, all very much with an Italian flavour. I’ve yet to cook anything from the book though I’ve an Italian cooking night planned for about two weeks time and already have the recipes earmarked for it. Suggestions on wine most welcome! You can grab the book at that Amazon link or here via Ballyknockan House.
For eight quid, again in TK Maxx, I’ve added Annie Bell’s Gorgeous Suppers (Gorgeous Series)
to the kitchen. The photos (by Chris Alack) are top, there’s a load of ideas in there but one thing I was concious of in buying the book was getting one that offered suggestions for quick meals. My food habits are getting some cold turkey treatment from tomorrow to the run into Christmas whereby I’m looking to cut out the one (two max) takeaways in a week, usually driven by working late in the office. The chapters are broken into soups, birds, meat, veg, fish etc. It will cost you about 15 euro, give or take, from the Amazon link about or have a scout about TK Maxx to see if you can nab a copy.
Finally, and in keeping with the quick evening meals, I grabbed an own-brand M&S book, Only 10 Minutes (Quick and Tasty 10-minute recipes). It’s small, simple, paper-back and there’s good photos for every dish included. €6.97 for the 176-page offer. You can order it online as well from the link just above (click the book title)
Now all I need to do is put as much effort into using them as I do in going out to buy them. If you’ve got a tip for a cook book that’s an absolute *must* for your kitchen, I’m all ears. There’s someone looking to buy me a Christmas present or two and they’re stuck for ideas!