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I'm kicking around the possibility of keeping our family dinner menus in OmniFocus. Has anyone tried this? Would you think it would be more trouble than it is worth? It would be interesting to have different meals as templates that you could activate. Perhaps the recipe itself could be in the note field.

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Last edited by steve; 2008-03-03 at 07:12 PM..
Ha ha, that's a clever idea I hadn't thought of. I don't see why it wouldn't work. In fact, I think I might give it a try myself! Thanks for the tip!
OK, the idea is getting better. . . I didn't realize that you can set an entire action group to repeat. So, in my example above, you can have the mac n cheese action group repeat every 3 weeks. It would be really cool to have 20 weekday meals loaded into OF and then get on autopilot with varied meals to serve to my family.
That's a great idea!
I suppose I could also use OF as a word processor, keeping the documents within the notes section and devising contexts that represent major topics - BUT I'd rather use another application that is more appropriate for this activity.

Same thing for menus, IMHO
Except that steve's menus are essentially ordered lists that need to be grouped and completed in a logical manner to achieve some desired outcome. Sounds like projects and actions to me.

Word processing isn't necessarily the same thing. Although, one might have a project to write an essay and break it down into actionable segments (e.g. write introduction, write section 1, etc.) with some first drafts or ideas drawn up in the notes field. Eventually, I imagine you'd want to move that over to a word processor or OmniOutliner, but it could at least begin in OmniFocus and be managed from there, and the essay document itself could be linked to OmniFocus project's note field

I'm all for the "multiple, specialized apps working in unison" approach so common in Unix-based systems, but I see no problem in using OmniFocus for tasks it excels at.

Last edited by Toadling; 2008-03-04 at 11:50 AM..
I think it's helpful to distinguish menus from shopping lists from recipes. Steve's lists look like shopping lists of ingredients to me; their contexts are the places you buy the ingredients for each dish. That seems like a good use of OF; the only catch is having to do the math when your shopping list includes several versions of the same ingredients. (One dish calls for 2 apples, another for 3; OF is not going to figure out that you need 5 apples.)

Menus are a combination of dishes (in most cases, except for one-dish meals). That doesn't seem to be what Steve proposes. I'd have a salad before or after the mac & cheese, for instance; the two together would be a simple menu. And while you could do a recipe in OF, I think it's easier just to use paper (and less likely to result in an unfortunate meeting of computer and ingredients). But there's no reason in principle you couldn't do shopping list (action group), recipe steps (action group), dishes (action group or project) and full-fledged menus (project or folder) in OF. Keep them all in an inactive folder and drag copies into an active folder when you want to make them.

The main problem I see is that it would discourage you from trying new dishes because you'd need to enter the data for them. That's what has kept me from trying a computerized recipe database. I like trying new recipes and find that sitting down next to my cookbooks, planning my weekly menus and drawing up a shopping list by hand, on paper, and then going to the grocery is the most efficient use of my time. I will use OF to jot down ingredients that I realize that I need in between weekly shopping trips.
Thanks for the thoughtful input. Pierre, I don't know of any good menu planning programs. I tend to use lots of different software programs, but I always have OF open, so it seems to be a good fit. As toadling said, the project is to prepare a meal and the actions are to buy all of the ingredients. I don't think I would want to plan every meal like this because I like to be flexible, but for getting together a shopping menu, I think it will be helpful.

For me the only way this would work is to save the menus as templates or to repeat. I wouldn't want to always have to type in all of the ingredients.

As I think this through, I would just use this to generate my shopping lists. To address Brian's "catch", it would probably be helpful to list the ingredients as apples-5 instead of 5 apples so the list could be sorted alphabetically. Before I shop, I would look in my fridge and pantry and cross off any ingredients I don't need.

Although this is off-topic from OF usage, the goals of this project are: 1) increase diversity of food I prepare 2) simplify the shopping list making process 3) stop throwing away food.

I'm closely watching the development of, as they seem to have the "recipes --> weekly plan --> grocery list on your iPhone" concept as their primary function. I think that's going to work better for me than trying to shoehorn them into OmniFocus.
Originally Posted by pvonk View Post
I suppose I could also use OF as a word processor, keeping the documents within the notes section and devising contexts that represent major topics - BUT I'd rather use another application that is more appropriate for this activity.

Same thing for menus, IMHO
You might want to check out omnioutliner, as it can be set up in a little more polished way that OF. There are also writing programs, like Scrivener, that do exactly what you're wanting to do.

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