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AnyMeal is a recipe database program for Linux that is a great way to store and edit your recipes, and because it is compatible with the Mealmaster program for Windows, you can find thousands of recipes online to import. To install it, simply enter the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install anymeal

You’ll also need to make sure the packages mysql-server and mysql-client are installed, as the database won’t work without them. If not, you can open Synaptic and enter mysql-server in the Quick search bar, and when you select if for installation, it will automatically mark all the other packages it needs. Or you can install everything at once with:

sudo apt-get install anymeal mysql-server

This should install all the needed MySQL stuff, as well as some packages AnyMeal will need, like the KDE Wallet Manager (since AnyMeal is in fact a KDE program, but runs absolutely fine in Gnome once it has installed a few KDE packages).

Once installed, open AnyMeal (Applications > Accessories > anymeal), click the Connect button, and enter your normal password to open the KDE Wallet Manager.

You will then be presented with the “Connect To Datasource” dialogue, and you will notice the default Server is “Embedded“, with User being your username.

You’ll need to change the Server toNetwork“, which will be listed as “localhost“, and set the User toroot“. However, this will only work once you’ve created a user called “root“. If you have never created a password for the root user, you will be doing so shortly, so make sure you write it down somewhere, as it is something you don’t want to forget!

Click the New button at the bottom of the dialogue box, then Next when you get to the “Welcome to AnyMeal” message. You’ll see pretty much what you saw before, so change the Server to “Network“, and the User to “root“. Then click the Connect button beneath, then Next. In the next screen, you will be asked for a name for the database, which you can just leave as “anymeal“. Click the Create/Connect button, followed by Next.

In the “Setup MySQL Datasource” box, you can leave the Client as “localhost“, but change User to “root“. You will then need to enter the password for root, and confirm it, then click Create/Use, then Next.

You will then be told “You can import some recipes already, if you want to” (if you do, click the Import Recipes button), so click Finish.

You are now ready to start adding to your recipe database, which you can do via Edit > New Recipe (or the “Edit new recipe” toolbar button). You can also use File > Import > Mealmaster (or the “Import recipes from Mealmaster-file” toolbar button) to import recipes stored in the .mmf format for the popular Mealmaster program. Just do a Google search for “Mealmaster recipe” and you’ll find thousands online to choose from.

As an example, here is the seafood page from one of the more popular recipe sites:

Open a desired recipe in a new tab, then click the small “Display Recipe for Import” link at the bottom so it opens as text-only without all the banners and links.

Save the page, but make sure the extension is .mmf, not .txt or .html; it is very likely most recipes you will come across will be either plain text (.txt) or a web page (.html) – since the browser knows how to display these – so just rename the suffix to .mmf (and don’t forget to give it a descriptive name).

You will occasionally come across web pages with multiple recipes in Mealmaster formatting one after the other, so you will need to copy and paste each recipe into its own .mmf text file. Similarly, if you find a site that has one recipe per page, but has no plain text version to view (ie: the page also has images and links), you will need to copy the text and paste it into new .mmf files for importing.

In AnyMeal‘s “Batch Import Mealmaster” box, click Add and browse for and select a recipe you downloaded. You’ll notice the file has been added to the import list (which can feature multiple files), but the OK button is disabled. Next to Input Encoding you will need to select “UTF-8“, then under Handling Of Erroneous Recipes select either “Abort on error” or “Ignore errors“, then click OK.

When you return to AnyMeal, it will probably look empty, but if you go to Edit > Search (or click the “Search recipe by title and category” toolbar button) and click OK (no need to type anything), your imported recipes will appear. You might need to do this again if the list of recipes is not refreshed after adding more.

To view a recipe, simply double-click it. If it is maximised, you can use the Search button to get back to the recipe list, unless you have a Back button at the top of your keyboard, which should work fine. Of course, you can also just use the Restore button (between Minimise and Close) to restore it to a smaller window, and you’ll be able to see your list behind it. Just make sure you don’t use the Restore button in AnyMeal‘s titlebar, but the one in the row of buttons beneath.

To delete a recipe from the database, right-click it and choose Delete. You’ll notice while you’re in the context menu that you can also Export your recipes in a number of formats, so you can even share your own recipes with Mealmaster users.

Also, you can choose to Edit a recipe, and you’ll see just how well AnyMeal did with converting that plain text file you imported into useful and editable information. You can add your own ingredients, change quantities and amount of servings, etc, as well as change the title. The latter is useful as many imported recipes will contain recipe numbers, or be in upper-case (which you can be forgiven for finding annoying!), and even contain typos, all of which can be edited. It’s also the place to change ingredient names to those you use in your own country, like if you’re an Aussie you’ll probably prefer to see “prawn” instead of “shrimp” (especially since we call tiny prawns “shrimps“), and “chick peas” instead of “garbanzo beans“. And let’s not forget converting American measurings (ie: pounds and ounces) to the modern metric system the rest of the world uses (ie: kilos and grams)!

For some info on the recipes stored, like the total amount of ingredients for all recipes in the database, go to Database > Database info.

This should be all the info you need to get you started, so have fun saving your recipes, and of course browsing through all those recipes you’ll be importing!

Extra Notes:

» Note that if you disconnect from the database and then reconnect, you will be asked for your password again to open KDE Wallet Manager, but since it is already open, you can actually ignore it and click Cancel.

» If the fact that the launcher is all in lower-case (ie: “anymeal“) bugs you, just right-click the Applications menu, choose Edit Menus, select the Accessories folder, then select anymeal and click the Properties button to the right of it, enter the new name (ie: “AnyMeal“), and click Close.

» For command-line options, check out the manpage (you can pick your version of Ubuntu under the top banner, though it really shouldn’t make any difference).

» You can resize AnyMeal so that your list of recipes is accessible on one side while viewing recipes on the other.


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