|Do you know where your variables are?|
From your description, I'd say that using PHP would actually make things more complicated than they needed to be.
Although PHP can be used from the command line, that isn't really what it was designed for. In other words, you'd have to set up a Web server on your machine as well as PHP (and possibly MySQL).
Perl, on the other hand, is equally at home being called directly, or via a browser.
1000 recipes shouldn't be a problem using flat text files to hold the data, so you could keep things simple while you're learning, and then transition to a dedicated database system when you were more confident about doing so.
If installing and setting up Web server software doesn't worry you, I'd recommend using Apache (even on Windows) regardless of whether you choose Perl or PHP.
You might also want to look at Gossamer Threads' DBMan which is a Perl based database manager that uses flat text files and a browser interface. It is also available in a MySQL version, although that isn't particularly cheap.
It would give you a head start when designing your own system either way.
Oh, one last point. The PHP dev team seem to enjoy changing built in functions and/or default settings on a regular basis, thus breaking existing programs when the version is upgraded.
In reply to Re: "cook-ebook" - Should I use Perl or PHP/MySQL?