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AFA Kitchen


Background on AFA Kitchen

Annie first starting compiling her recipe collection on index cards in a little wooden box onto which she decoupaged pictures of herbs. She graduated into notebooks after a few years along with several shelves full of cookbooks and magazines.

Next she tried all the commercially available recipe software (well, probably not ALL, but enough to know they weren't what she wanted). So, a little over 10 years ago, she started to build her own program.

Meanwhile, Filemaker Pro, the program she uses to build the AFAs, went from version 3 to version 9 (they just released version 10 and it's in the mail). And AFA Kitchen slowly grew.

Finally, Annie decided it was time to go public and released the first versions to friends and family for Christmas 2008. Now it is being released into the wild...
 


 Here's a picture of the opening screen:
 
 

Features

Over 4000 recipes (now includes Thermomix)
Over 1000 ingredients in the database
Tips section
Sources section includes cookbooks, magazines, and websites. Sources are organized into groups.
Recipes contain fields for tracking allergens; all recipes included have been marked for gluten, dairy, and sugar. Additional fields can be customized for other allergens.
Recipes can be grouped into Families to make it easy to find, for example, all Brownie recipes.
All included recipes are indexed by every ingredient-- if you need to find all recipes containing cardamom powder, you can.
Ingredients include Ayurvedic values and recipes are evaluated for their best Ayurvedic types and seasons. Ingredients contain conversion facts and have plenty of space for recording general information, storage recommendations, and buying tips.
All sections can contain links to internet sites and internet access is available as a browser within the program itself.
Recipes can be scaled to serve any number.
Amounts can be viewed as Imperial or Metric; grocery lists can also be generated in Imperial or Metric measures.
You can construct menus and schedule the menus by month, week, and day of the week. From the menu you can generate a shopping list that can be customized to include any item you wish.

At least, those are the big points.
 

What Isn't Here and Why

Please be warned-- this program does NOT attempt to calculate "nutritional values" such as calories. If the recipe had such information, it has been included, but do not expect the program to calculate this.

There are several reasons why this is so. When I first started using recipe programs, I felt this was the biggest feature they offered- a nutritional analysis of each recipe! Well, I soon learned that those nutritional analysis were not very accurate. Many times the data for a large number of the ingredients within a recipe were missing. Also, the programs only covered certain values, like calories, fat, and major vitamins; trace minerals were usually not there.

Second, consider the underlying data. Nutritional values are taken from USDA tables which list average values for foods in raw states or prepared in specific ways. The conversion of this data to actual cooking practices is a mathematical nightmare. Let's see-- calories in 1 cup of carrots-- is that a cup of whole carrots, peeled carrots, peeled and diced carrots, unpeeled grated carrots, or mashed, pureed carrots? And where were those carrots grown? How old are they?

The next problem lies with the chef. Let's just say I have very carefully told you the calories in my recipe for cream of mushroom soup. I am trying to make it low-calorie, so I tell you to use skim milk. You start to make the recipe but don't have skim milk, only half and half. Are you going to run out and buy skim milk or use what you have? Wow, that soups tastes good for only 90 calories in a bowl!

Don't fool yourself with "nutritional analysis". Learn which foods contribute what to your health, eat a balanced diet, and try to eat with the earth, not against it. Eat root vegetables in the winter, leafy greens in the spring, and the fruits of summer in (wow) summer. Cook with love. Leave the nutritional analysis to the labs.

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