Kitchen Computer

Wednesday, July 07 2004

Carrie and I were sitting around talking the other night, with absolutely nothing better to do (note: extreme sarcasm) when the idea to put a computer in the kitchen came up. We thought it would be cool to be able to scan our groceries as they arrived, and keep an inventory. Then we could link that up to a recipe database, and have the computer suggest recipes based on ingredients we had on hand. We reasoned that we’d waste less food, probably eat in more often (sometimes the hardest thing about coming up with dinner is ideas of what to make) and ultimately save money.

So I’ve really been putting some thought into it. I have a very old Toshiba laptop that could be paired up with a bar code reader that could handle just the data entry. I could send the data to my more capable server in the garage, and put it all into a database and build a web interface to it. Broken down, it would only take a few simple pieces of hardware and software to make it really effective.

The question is – does anyone know if super cheap barcode readers (like, around $20.00) and also, any sites or software that I can feed ingredients to and get recipes back?