Yum from Austrian developers Incredible Bee aspires to be the “cooking companion for your Mac.” To achieve this, Yum offers a combination of recipe management, cloud-based recipe sharing, shopping list creation and a free supporting iPhone app.
There’s quite a choice of recipe management software available for these platforms, so this review will look at how well Yum meets its aims to help you decide if it merits a place in your kitchen.
Yum downloads as an archive file and the first time you run it, it asks if you’d like to move it to your application folder if you haven’t already done so. After checking for any online updates, you’re taken to the Yum starting screen. This is very clear, and gives you the opportunity to watch an overview video which, although it lacks a commentary, provides a good quick view of Yum’s features to speed your learning.
Yum ships without any sample recipes preloaded although you can easily view the ‘cloud recipes’ and, if you’re upgrading from Yum 3, there is an option to import your existing recipe collection.
Working With Your Recipes
At the core of Yum is its ability to help you save and organise your recipes. The recipe entry screen lets you add information such as rating, tags, category, preparation time and yield (number of servings) in addition to the ingredients and preparation details. You can also add a picture of the dish.
All these features make it easier to find individual recipes that match your needs when you have assembled a large collection.
Once you have either entered or downloaded a collection of recipes, they are shown as pictures on a cork board background. As well as scrolling through your collection to spot a recipe that takes your fancy, you can search by any combination of categories, ingredients tags or notes.
You can also set up smart folders that will automatically include every recipe, for example, that uses fish and is rated easy to prepare.
The cork board view looks attractive but if you don’t have a photograph for each recipe, the lack of an alternative text listing means you will probably rely on searching rather than browsing (as reading through the photo captions rapidly becomes tedious).
When you’ve chosen a recipe and you’re preparing a dish, Yum offers a useful full screen mode. This lets you see your current recipe without screen clutter and displays it large enough to read across the kitchen as you work. A floating tool bar lets you zoom in or out.
When working with your recipes, if you find the need to feed a different number of people, provided you entered the yield information in the recipe, the scale button lets you adjust the ingredient quantities for any number of servings.
As each recipe has a button which generates a shopping list, scaling a recipe before creating a shopping list from it makes sure the right quantities are included. Shopping lists are for each individual recipe; there is no easy way to create a list for an entire meal.
One of Yum’s strengths is its support for sharing recipes. As well as being able to print, export or email a recipe from within Yum – each of which creates a PDF of the selected recipe – there is a share button which uploads your recipe to Yum’s recipe cloud for other Yum users to see, comment on and rate.
Discovering recipes from other people is extremely easy. If you choose Cloud Recipes in the interface, the search and browse controls are the same as when you are working in My Recipes
If a shared recipe takes your fancy when you are browsing the recipe cloud, you can download it to your own collection with a single click.
Yum on Your iPhone
Yum users can download a free iPhone app that shows recipe ingredients and preparation details. These are ‘read only’ views so you can browse but not modify or add to your recipes.
In addition to making your recipes portable, the app can build shopping lists from your recipes, thus making it easy to take your shopping lists with you when you buy ingredients or allowing you to decide what to cook while you’re in the grocery store and immediately listing what you need to buy.
The app syncs with Yum on your Mac via WiFi – there is no cloud service or account involved – so your iPhone or iPod and Mac must be connected on the same WiFi network.
Although the instructions in Yum’s help are correct, the on screen guidance in the app incorrectly refers to what was, presumably, a previous method of syncing that has been changed in Yum 4.
Yum is an attractive looking program that is focused on collecting and organising your recipes. The iPhone app is a useful addition to carry your shopping list with you and, if you are keen on sharing recipes, Yum makes it easy.
However, there are so many different cooking web sites for recipe sharing, Yum doesn’t yet have a wide enough range of recipes in its recipe cloud to compete with them (although this could improve over time).
Yum’s exclusive focus on recipe management also puts it at a disadvantage when compared to other, similarly priced, cookery management programs such as SousChef and MacGourmet which offer additional features like menu planning and suggesting recipes based on the ingredients you have available.
Nevertheless, if your primary concern is bringing order to your recipe collection, Yum is worth consideration and you can download and try it free for 14 days to see how well it meets your needs.