Geek Chic of the Week: The Dinner Edition

I like cooking just about as much as I love shopping. Which is to say, I don’t like it much at all. Once in a while, I’ll get inspired and cook something amazing (like a monkey cake or a fabulous meal for my family) but for the most part cooking just isn’t my bag, baby. It’s just not my bag.

What’s even more not my bag is cooking on a weeknight after a long day at work with a three-year-old hanging off my calf and a six-month-old fussing in a bouncy seat on the floor. Luckily, I have a husband that shares a lot of the cooking burden. But, we still have to figure out what to make, ensure that our fridge is stocked, and then actually cook it.

Wondering how technology could possibly help with this? Never fear, I’m about to tell you.

I’ve recently discovered three things to help get me through what my aunt (a working mother of three) refers to as “suicide hour.”


A friend of mine, who is also personal chef, recently turned me on to TasteBook. (I know, awful name. Way too much like Facebook. But, let’s forgive them for that because the idea is really great.) It’s a web site that does four things that I think are cool:

1. Aggregates an insane number of recipes from multiple sources.

2. Allows you to input and store your own recipes.
This is really only useful if you’re planning to print your TasteBook, or you want to share your recipes with others. But, a handy feature in my opinion.

3. Allows you to connect with other people to view their recipes.
Now I don’t have to keep asking my friend for her awsome Chicken in Pear-Leek Sauce recipe because I have access to ALL of her recipes on TasteBook. Holler! I can even put her recipes into my TasteBook so I can access them quickly or print them for my own book.

4. Allows you to print a super-swank looking cookbook (er, I mean, TasteBook) with whatever recipes you want.
Perhaps yours might be titled something like “Recipes I Can Make in Under 30 Minutes with a three-year-old hanging off my calf and a six-month-old fussing in a bouncy seat on the floor.” Or perhaps you’ll choose a shorter title. Whatever.

NOTE: They’re running a Mother’s Day special right now: free shipping if you order by April 21. Use the code MOMSDAY at checkout. I do think a Tastebook full of family favorites would be a great gift for someone who likes to cook.

The Six O’Clock Scramble

I’ve been dying to try The Six O’Clock Scramble, which sends you a list of fast, healthy meals AND the shopping list to make all of it. What was stopping me was the fact that my husband is gastronomically high-maintenance (no red meat, no dairy), but the more I dig around the site the more I notice all the ways you can customize your meal plan for the week. This woman is obviously in tune with what’s going on in the allergy-laden American kitchen right now, because you can filter by dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free. I may have to break down and buy a membership. Because, honestly, the other thing that’s stopping me is that I’m cheap.


In a pinch, you can type in a list of ingredients to Google and see what recipe matches come back. A search for tomato yogurt chicken yields this.

My husband has done this in the past and, on a night when I was sure we’d have to eat crackers and peanut butter, he Googled a list of stuff we had in the fridge and whipped up an awesome jambalaya that we still make to this day.

My pal Jackie and her husband use Google docs to collaborate on their grocery list and weekly menu. There’s a guest post on that coming soon.

So, there it is. A handful of ideas to help us frazzled non-foodies feed our tired faces before we hit the sack. Is there anything the Internet can’t do?