Using What Can I Make

The "What Can I Make" feature of the Pantry (under Shopping) and "Search for Ingredients in Pantry" (under Search) match ingredients in the Pantry with ingredients in recipes. Only the recipes in which all ingredients are found in the pantry will be returned by the search. Only pantry entries that are found in the MasterCook ingredient list are considered for the search. If an ingredient in a recipe is nutritionally linked to an ingredient in the MasterCook Ingredient list, the pantry must contain the name of the MasterCook Ingredient list item, NOT the ingredient named in the recipe.


Q: I have crackers unchecked in my pantry and shopping list, and yet, when I search ingredients in the pantry, I get results including the unchecked pantry items. That doesn't make any sense.

A: This sounds correct. Search does not look at your shopping list at all, and looks only at the ingredient name in your Pantry. It apparently doesn't look at whether there is a checkmark in the "have" column.

Q: I performed a simple search where I simply typed in the ingredients in a recipe and I received no results, even though the recipe was in the cookbook.

A: The keywords should be typed in with just a space in between them. If you include punctuation, like a comma, the search will look only for those recipes where the keyword is followed by a comma.

Q: I searched a selected cookbook that I had downloaded with my pantry and found nothing. There is a recipe in it I could make with the ingredients in my pantry (zucchini, sugar and water). Why didn't the search find it?

A: I set up a test pantry and test recipe using the information you provided. In the recipe, I entered the amount of sugar required as 1 1/2 teaspoons (volume). Then I "searched" two different ways.

I set up advanced search to search on "Ingredients in Pantry," checked the box for "use Pantry Only" and selected the test pantry. Then I clicked on Search -- in All Available Cookbooks. The search results included the test zucchini recipe (and some caramel recipes, too). I got the same results when sugar was listed in the pantry as a volume on hand (in cups) or as a weight (5 pounds). So this search was focused on the ingredient name alone -- not on any quantity information.

Then I switched to Pantry's "What Can I Make?" and searched in All Cookbooks. When the amount of sugar in the pantry was listed in weight (pounds) rather than in volume (cups) I did not get any recipes in my search results. When I changed the amount of sugar in the Pantry to be cups of sugar, "What Can I Make?" returned the names of the test recipe (and the caramel!).

So the "What Can I Make?" was looking at the amounts of the ingredients as well as the ingredient names, and was not translating weights into volume equivalents. So -- to use "What Can I Make?" you will need to enter the amounts in your pantry by whatever unit your recipes most frequently call for, either volumes or weights.

If you want to experiment with these functions, I suggest you save your pantry list after changing units, and then exit the program and restart it. I may have been doing something odd myself, but I found that the "What Can I Make?" function did not reset itself immediately after I changed items in the pantry to reflect volume rather than weight. I got consistent results as outlined above if I made the pantry changes, saved the pantry, then exited the program and restarted before using "What Can I Make?"

TIP: To maximize the number of recipes returned when you use What Can I Make?, enter Pantry items using the "Index name" of an ingredient. (The Ingredient List has a Indexed As column that links several types of the same ingredient.)

For example, if you enter "corn" in your Pantry, you will get back recipes using "corn," "frozen corn," and "frozen corn kernels."

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