It all started when Larry and Karen Barcot were searching for a specific recipe among the many they had collected in cookbooks and on slips of paper during the years.
The result of the Kennewick couple's Saturday morning search is TheRecipeManager, a program that allows people to add their own recipes, change them, share them and search for them on an iPhone, iPad or desktop computer.
Now, about eight years after the first version was sold, the Kennewick couple's program is available at Walmart, Office Max and Office Depot. An app also is available through iTunes.
Their company, TheDataManager, has several hundred thousand customers who use TheRecipeManager in about 46 countries, said Larry Barcot, a programmer. Measurements can be converted by the program from U.S. standard to metric depending on what people use.
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Karen Barcot said she never thought their effort to find recipes more easily would turn into a program that so many people are using.
She and her husband use the program frequently and said they have about 2,000 recipes filed away in their version.
"I would not live without it," Karen said.
They even have a desktop computer in the kitchen that they use when cooking, she said.
People can search for a recipe based on an ingredient or who created the recipe, said Karen Barcot, who has a marketing background.
The program allows people to change recipes, such as using different ingredients, she said. Recipes can be imported from websites, and photos can be added.
It even allows someone to make up a grocery list, Larry Barcot said.
"It is a valuable tool," Karen said.
The desktop version of TheRecipeManager has the ability to help people determine the nutritional value of recipes, Larry said. It uses the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutritional database.
The couple said it hasn't just been their crew of seven who has made the program work. Focal Point Marketing of Kennewick does the videos for TheDataManager, and Artmil of Kennewick has designed the packaging, which won the American Package Design Award in 2010. Photos are taken by Seattle photographers Lara Ferroni and Clare Barboza.
And PocketiNet of Walla Walla will help by making high-speed dedicated wireless available to the Barcots' home, which Larry said will speed up the downloads for users for items such as videos. The company's servers are in Larry Barcot's home office.
To add to what their program can offer, the couple also have produced five cookbook programs with national and world-renowned chefs called TheInformedChef.
TheInformedChef was recognized recently by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for outstanding technology use.
That is among the most prestigious awards given in the culinary industry, said Meredith Deeds, director of cookbook development for TheInformedChef and the executive director of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
While most people say they know what they need to know about cooking, Larry said they don't know as much as a professional would.
Chefs such as Deeds come to the Barcots' Badger Canyon home and demonstrate making the recipes in the couple's kitchen. The result is a cookbook app, such as Deed's Counter Intelligence.
Deeds, author of six cookbooks including The Big Book of Appetizers, said print media doesn't allow her to adequately describe techniques and sometimes ingredients. When she teaches cookbook classes, students only get the chance to see the technique once, and the number of recipes is limited.
Each program includes 25 recipes and videos and tips that go along with each recipe, Larry said.
For example, one video in Counter Intelligence shows how to make salted caramel sauce for an apple pecan cake, and another shows a quick way to slice a bell pepper.
With the app, people can get as much or as little out of it as they want, Deeds said. They can watch videos of techniques as many times as they want.
"I am not aware of any other app that is so dense in video content as TheInformedChef."
Deeds said that for Counter Intelligence, she picked recipes that were not only delicious, but also would include meaningful videos.
"I tried to pick those lightbulb moments," she said. Those are ones she has found while teaching cooking.
More of TheInformedChef cookbooks are planned, and Deeds said she would love to do another one herself.
Deeds and Larry Barcot have picked chefs to feature in TheInformedChef. Deeds said that although she loves all of the apps, Raghaven Iyer's Indian Flavors stands out.
"Indian food can be so mysterious for people," she said.
TheInformedChef is available through iTunes and theRecipeManager's website.
The program's website also includes free cookbooks such as one from the Washington Apple Growers Association. Larry Barcot said they hope to add more free cookbooks such as one from a Tri-City group.
TheRecipeManager is $5 on iTunes, and each TheInformedChef is $10. To find it in the App Store, search for TheRecipeMgr.
The retail price for the desktop version of TheRecipeManager is $29.95, but Larry said it is sold at different prices depending on the retailer.
For more information, go to www.therecipemanager.com.