Frequently Asked Questions About
Now You're Cooking!


Recipe Categories


What is the best way to ensure consistent categories across cookbooks?


Use Tools… Data Management… Categories tab… Manage Categories.  NYC will display an alphabetized list of the categories from all cookbooks in your user folder.   Suppose you find three categories that are the same but the category names are spelled or worded differently.  Select the three categories and enter the category name you want, then recipes in those categories will be mapped to the category you want, after which you can delete the three categories.


When I import recipes I get a lot of unwanted categories due to the way the recipes were originally categorized.  Can I turn this off so I can categorize them myself?


Yes.  In Tools… Options… Import/Export tab, uncheck “transfer new categories”.


I have a “seafood” category and a “cajun” category, and I want to see only those recipes that have been assigned to BOTH (i.e., cajun seafood recipes).


In the recipe selection window (Recipes… Recipes…), select your “seafood” category, then multi-select your “cajun” category.  To multi-select, hold down Cntl and click the “cajun” category.  This will narrow the list to only those recipes assigned to both “seafood” and “cajun” categories.  You will get the same result if you first select “cajun” then multi-select “seafood”.


Is there a quick way to assign all recipes in one category to a different category?


Yes, use Recipes… Cookbook Categories…, select a category (we will call this the selected category), then press the Map… button and select a category to map to (we will call this the mapped category).  This will assign all recipes in the selected category into the mapped category.   You can then delete the selected category if you no longer want it.  You can assign multiple selected categories to multiple mapped categories in one operation.


Can I create subcategories under categories in NYC?  For example, under category of "Desserts" I want to have "Cakes", "Cookies", "Fruit salads", "Ice cream" and so on.


No, NYC handles only primary categories.  You can do the analogous thing with cookbooks and categories that you would with categories and subcategories.

In other words, for your example, create a cookbook called DESSERTS with categories like "Cakes", "Cookies", "Fruit salads", "Ice cream", etc.


You should get used to using multiple, small cookbooks with NYC (about 5,000-10,000 recipes maximum in each).  With NYC power tasks across cookbooks (kill dupes, delete recipes, search, meal plan, export, print, etc.), there is really no reason to put all your recipes in one cookbook where the maximum 500 categories might not be enough.  NYC runs faster on smaller cookbooks (less indexes in memory), and each cookbook can gives you 500 different categories per cookbook, so with multiple cookbooks you have the categorization hierarchy you need.  So smaller cookbooks are better all the way around.


Why not make NYC’s auto-assign feature recognize all of the keywords from one category and apply them to another category when a category name is embedded in another category name?  (same question as below, just asked in a different way)


That is the way NYC used to work and it caused endless problems with bad categorizations.  It can be very dangerous and misleading -- here is an example to demonstrate why.  The recipe:


Chopped Steak


would get categorized in a user’s Beverages category if the user has "tea" as a keyword string under the “beverages” category string, because the substring "tea" is embedded in "Chopped Steak".  Thousands of such issues can occur because the user has complete flexibility in naming categories and setting up the auto-assign feature.  We got a lot of emails about how useless the feature was with all the bad categorizations when we had it programmed as you suggest, so we are reluctant to go back to it.  Thus, we had to abandoned "included in" in favor of the more certain “exact match”.


Suppose I have categories called 'Test Cat1' and 'Test Cat2' and in the Set Keywords for Auto Assign screen I set up these keywords:


Test Cat1

  -- fish

  -- pork

  -- beans

  -- eggs


Test Cat2

  -- lamb


After auto assigning, I expected to have recipes with fish or pork or beans or eggs to be in category 'Test Cat1'; fish or pork or lamb to be category 'Test Cat2'.  Instead I get only lamb in Test Cat2,  I presume because there is an exact match between the Category String in the Auto Assign screen and an actual Category.  My understanding was that the Auto-assign category string was used as a sub-string to search the actual Category list to find assignments.


We used to have NYC coded to work as you expected (perhaps we need to fix the docs somewhere since you still expected it to work this way).  But we found that NYC cannot work like this, and here is why:


Assume you have categories Cakes, Cheese, and Cheesecakes, and in the Set Keywords for Auto Assign screen you set up



  -- chocolate

  -- lemon



  -- cheddar

  --  gouda



  -- chocolate

   -- lemon


Now if you have a recipe called Cheddar Dip, by your logic it would not only get auto-assigned to Cheese, but it would also get auto-assigned to Cheesecake (because of the Cheese in Cheesecake)! So, alas, the category string (or its plural) must match the actual category name exactly.  It is unfortunate to have to do this, because it really cuts down on the number of assignments, but all manner of wierd category assignments could result if we left it the old way.


In the auto-assign feature, why ask for a Category string to assign keyword to?  Would it not make more sense to list the existing Categories and just allow keywords to be assigned to them?


Only if you diligently used the same categories for all cookbooks.  But each cookbook can have a unique set of categories, and the auto-assign category strings must cover all your cookbooks (the same list of auto-assign keys is used globally for any cookbook you have open).  Thus, you must put all possible category strings in your auto-assign category strings. 

Is there a way to print the recipe names in each category (i.e., an index)?

Use File... Print... recipe names… to print recipe names. 

You can also print categories with recipe names. When you are asked whether to include the recipe names in each category, answer "yes". This will print all categories and the recipe names in each category.

When I delete a category, does NYC delete the recipes from my cookbook?

No.  When you delete a category, recipes are no longer assigned to that category, and the category is removed from that cookbook's category list.  Recipes are never deleted from your cookbook unless you select them and press the Delete button in the recipe selection or search results window, or you perform a dupe kill operation, or you perform a Move operation and delete the recipe from the cookbook it was moved from.  If you delete a recipe from the recipe select or search results window, you are always prompted to confirm your desire to delete.

I imported a bunch of recipes with the categories like:  “fruit, apple”  “fruit, peach”  “fruit, lemon” and so forth.  How do I now assign those recipes to my “fruit” category?


Use the Map Categories feature (Recipes... Categories... Map Categories button) to map your "fruit, apple", "fruit, peach", “fruit, lemon” categories to your "fruit" category.  For more details on how to map a category, see our answer to the FAQ question just below this. 


When you map a category to another category, NYC assigns every recipe in the "map from" category into the "map to" category.  NYC will not unassign the recipes from your “fruit, apple” etc categories.  You can delete the "fruit, apple" etc categories if you wish.  Note: NYC will of course unassign recipes from any deleted category.

How do I consolidate my “fish” category and “lobster” category into a single “seafood” category?

Use Recipes... Categories..., select “fish” and “lobster” categories, press the Map... button, select the “seafood” category in the "Map to:" window, and press OK.   You can also simply map one category at a time, repeating the operation for “fish” and “lobster” categories.

How do I remove a recipe from a category (i.e., remove a category from a recipe)?  I only see the option to unassign all recipes.

You are in the Categorize Multiple Recipes window.  When you open this window, you will see the categories on the left, the recipes in the selected category in the middle column, and any unassigned recipes in the right column. Select a category, then click on a recipe in the middle column, then press Unassign from Category to unassign it from the selected category. When you press Save, it will appear in the right column as an "unassigned" recipe.

You can also edit the recipe (Recipes… Recipes… and double-click the recipe), then press Categories... button from the edit window.  Then uncheck categories in the Categories window to unassign the recipe from those categories.

Is there a way to take a group of recipes and put them all into a category at once?


Yes.  To categorize multiple recipes at once, you must use Recipes... Categorize Multiple... Recipes...  (a very handy window for what you are wanting to do).  In this window, click a category, then select recipes in the right hand list and press the < button to assign the selected recipes to the selected category.

I just converted over a thousand recipes and imported them into NYC , but some of them are not categorized.  Do I have to individually categorize several dozen recipes now?

No, this is where you can take advantage of a NYC’s unique time-saving feature called “auto-assign”. You can ask NYC to auto-assign the new recipes to multiple categories for you. It does this with a fairly elegant system that has proven to be quite accurate. To activate this feature, select Recipes... Categorize Multiple Recipes... from NYC's main menu, and then press the “Go” button in the Auto-Assign recipes frame.  Experience has shown that in most cases, the auto-assign feature will dramatically reduce your list of unassigned recipes. You can customize the auto-assign feature using your own keywords in case the defaults don't suit you. With this feature, the more you teach NYC about your category preferences the better it performs the auto-assign function the way you would do it yourself.


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Last Updated:  12/2/2013 

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