Putting the Tech into Home Ec

I’m thinking that the perfect tech app for the up-to-date New Depression kitchen would be a recipe cost calculator.

It shouldn’t be too hard to build a database that contains:

  • the ingredients for the family’s most commonly cooked meals
  • the quantities needed for the recipe
  • the quantities in which the ingredients must be purchased
  • an average cost for the ingredients

A basic html/php interface would allow you to:

  • select a meal from a searchable drop-down
  • do a one-time exclusion of any of the ingredients from the total if you already had them in the pantry
  • handle basic substitutions (say sausage for hamburger, etc.)
  • allow you to enter a one-time or permanent price modification (to account for sales or price increases)

Of course, it would be optimum if there were a readily accessible and continuously updated dbase of grocery store average prices out there that you could periodically download but I doubt such a thing currently exists.

Thus when it came time to plan menus for the week, you could use the tool to get a more precise sense of how much everything is going to cost before you get to the grocery store. I’m always amazed when I do a one-off trip to see how much a basic meal can run you…

Such a thing may already exist. I don’t know; I haven’t checked yet. But it sure would be cool if it did…

One Reply to “Putting the Tech into Home Ec”

  1. I wouldn’t mind having a program like that. The best program that I’ve found so far is my own brain. It appears to be capable of weighing these things on the fly so I pick up specials whenever I see them. But it means mentally keeping track of what I have in my basket and what I still need. It doesn’t do, however, to plan complex meals that way.

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