Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cooking with Nothing

Yes, We Have No Bananas
  (+14, -3)(+14, -3)
(+14, -3)
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Don't you just hate it when you flip through your recipe books, salivating over the pictures, but have none of the fancy-schmancy ingredients? And so have fishfingers for tea again, just like every other day?

With this new search engine those boring teas are history. Simply tap in whatever you've got in your cupboards (wholegrain mustard, flour, kumquats, ketchup) and voila! A recipe from our vast database that utilises some or all of your oddball ingredients!

realfake, Apr 18 2001

The Splendid Table http://table.mpr.org/
This public radio show has a "stump the cook" segment [wiml, Apr 18 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Cooking By Numbers http://www.cookingbynumbers.com/
Don't bother going shopping, let's cook with what you have. [Marza, Apr 18 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Spitz.net - Cocktail recipes http://www.spitzy.net
Collection of Cocktail recipes. Search for cocktail recipes by name or ingredients. See also the cocktail of the day. [bobroy, Apr 18 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Baked http://www.buzztool...gle/goocookin.shtml
(Though I note that this is based on Googling recipe sites in Britannia.org. You can accomplish the same thing more generally by just entering your ingredients straight into Google.) [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004]

Cookbook USA. Find it in computer shops for around $10. http://www.awa.com/...cookbook.html#00601
No "rabbit & baked bean" recipes with this one either, fortunately. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004]

card file with holes/slots http://patft.uspto....44172&RS=PN/1544172
US patent # 1,544,172 [xaviergisz, Oct 04 2004]


       d'oh! There was me forgetting about Ready Steady Cook. They always conviently have half-way conventional stuff though. I'd like to see Ainsley and the crew have a go with the contents of my cupboards (at least 4 kinds of vinegar, 30-yr old gravy browning, popping corn, you get the idea)
realfake, Apr 18 2001

       They always add extra ingredients on Ready Steady Cook anyway so they probably could have a go with your cupboard.
Aristotle, Apr 18 2001

       There's a radio show I've heard a number of times in which callers call in and describe the contents of their fridge, and the chef has to come up with a decent meal using those ingredients. The chef can ask for one or two more items if they have to, and they can assume you have things like salt and pepper. If the chef is stumped, the caller wins something or other.
wiml, Apr 18 2001

       And there's the show on the Food Network where the camera crew and a local chef show up unannounced at someone's house and ask to come in and cook a meal for the owners with what's in the 'fridge and pantry.
beauxeault, Apr 18 2001

       At the risk of overextending an unintended pun, this thing is certainly baked.   

       But we can unbake it (term?) by adding some intersting features. Perhaps I should enter a new idea. How about a kitchen inventory/recipe finder system. When you get home from the store, you scan your groceries into the system and store them. As you use them you relieve them from inventory similarly (scanning and indicating usage % or something). So the system always KNOWS what you have on hand. When it's "tea" time (you dandy English fops), you just go to the system and ask it what you could possibly make, or what you could make with minimal addition to your current stock on-hand? Doesn't seem too diffuclt to me....
globaltourniquet, Apr 18 2001

       Who needs cookery books? Just shove it all in a pot. Bring to the boil. Then throw it away and phone for pizza.
DrBob, Apr 18 2001

       It does sound like a major pain, keeping that inventory up-to-date, doesn't it? What kind of numbskull would publish software like that anyway? It'll never sell...
globaltourniquet, Apr 18 2001

       Haven't seen grocery list software. Does it have a recipe for pigeon-pea-and-sweet-potato soup, garnished with bits of hardened feta cheese scraped from the bottom of the fridge? If not, what bloody good is it?   

       You don't have to keep a full inventory of your cupboards, as I see it, you just type in what you think you'll use: Marshmallow flavoring. Cumin. 3 carrots. Something brown and sticky from an unmarked bottle. Fresh mussels. Out pops an ingenious recipe for a faux steak-and-kidney pie.   

       I need to go eat something now.
Dog Ed, Apr 18 2001, last modified Apr 19 2001

       DrBob: I used to do my chemistry lab experiments that way. And I survived!
beauxeault, Apr 18 2001

       DrBob: That delicacy is called "Whatchagot Stew"
thumbwax, Apr 19 2001

       Mmmmm... stew!
PotatoStew, Apr 19 2001

       Baked: isn't this also called Student Cooking, or Single Guy Cooking? Crisp and Brown Sauce sandwich anyone...?
mcscotland, Apr 19 2001

       In northern PA, one of my grandmothers used to call it "Dinner in a Dish". :P (fortunately, only my father had to eat it as a youngin; thankfully, by the time I came around, dinner in a dish was long since history)
absterge, Apr 19 2001

       this has long been baked at my house: "Refrigerator Soup," a la mother... or, for variety, tomato-refrigerator soup or cream-of-refrig. soup. perhaps this is a special category, though; my mother tended to keep a fairly even amount of stuff around so she could throw together a few vegs and some rice or noodles or whatever in some boullion, and add some seasonings.   

       now i'm hungry!
Urania, Nov 11 2001

       "soup stone" by Dr Hook
po, Nov 11 2001

       When I was a 24-7-365 caregiver for my elderly mother, I kept an inventory posted on the refrigerator and freezer door.   

       This was when my state of the art 'computer' was an 8 bit Atari, incapable of recording data without an audio cassette, and the only program on it was a bubble sort that I had to write myself each time I used it, because when I turned it off, everything I'd done would dissapear. Thus my inventory was not computer assisted.   

       ...so on my inventory I subtracted the amount of each item by the percent I used, and came up with ways to use every bit of every item, right down to condiments in the refrigerator door...   

       ...so that I could afford my computer.   

       Then I got a life. And a sixteen bit computer.   

       Now I am mistress of all I survey, and my husband is an accomplished cook.
Oolahboolah, Nov 11 2001

       Regarding The Splendid Table's segment, I believe it is not "stump the cook" but "Stump, The Cook"... I remember calling in once when I discovered my 4 year old's hamster in the lettuce crisper. It wasn't too bad...kind of like a meat-flavored peach, (oh, come on, they're just too darned small to peel - but you can shave them if they let you!)
waayoffcenter, Jun 07 2002

       Baked - see link (per today's NY Times). (Btw, if you've only got rabbit and baked beans in the closet, you're out of luck.)
DrCurry, Nov 29 2002

       The problem with this idea is the computer... so you've got two options; i) have a computer in the kitchen or ii)print out a recipe every time. This leads to either food on your computer or wasting paper.   

       I suggest using an 'old-school' database comprising a card file. Each card has a row of holes/slots along its edge. A hole indicate that the recipe requires a particular ingredient, a slot indicates the ingredient is not required.   

       The cook then determines what ingredients he has and places rods/skewers through the corresponding holes/slots and then pulls out the cards with those ingredients.
xaviergisz, Aug 12 2004

       Nice one, [xaviergisz].   

       I happen to like your idea, though - and perhaps it could be further simplified by not having holes for common spices, or things like flour and vegetable oil, which even braindead monkeys should have in their cupboards.
shapu, Aug 12 2004

       There are PDA programs that do this, but there aren't any specifically designed for it.   

       I remember building one of those cardfiles with pins and slots as a kid as an example of a mechanical computer, [xaviergisz]. I think it could add and multiply 2 numbers up to some small number (limited by the amount of time I spent making the cards and amount of pins)   

       A fancier version would probably look cool on the counter and work just as well as any recipie computer.
eulachon, Aug 12 2004


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