Lately I have been totally obsessed with adding food apps to my iPhone. I am sucker for the low low prices and convenience of having a cookbook in my pocket.
While I am by no means a technical genius, I thought I might weigh in on the three I have purchased.
#1 Martha’s Everyday Food App
Price: $0.99 – Bargoon!
As a present a few months ago Homer bought me a subscription to Everyday Food and I love the magazine dearly. Small enough to fit in my purse, simple recipes, and a focus on budget shopping in addition to food trends.
The app is great for simple recipes. They have short ingredient lists and a limited number of steps, making it perfect for weeknight meals. Like all the recipes in the magazine the nutritional information is included at the end of the recipe, a god send for those of us concerned with such things.
While the stores function of the app does not work well for Canadian customers, I do enjoy the grocery list feature where you can add the ingredients for the recipe to a shopping list, and then customize the list for your shopping trip. I actually found the shopping list function easier to use than an app I bought specifically for that purpose. You can share the list via email, which I have never tried but it seems handy.
There so many recipes in the app, I don’t know how you would ever go through them all. You can customize your search by main ingredient, meal/course, method and holiday/season. At $0.99 you really can’t go wrong with this one.
#2 How to Cook Everything
Price: $1.99 (currently, but I understand this is a limited time offer)
I had sort of mixed feelings when I read How to Cook Everything. For some reason I felt like I was being talked down to, but I am not sure why. The app really does contain a lot of information found in Bittman’s book but for a fraction of the cost.
There is a lot of text in the app (as there in the book), along with lots of tips and reference information (such as which knives you should own and properties of different ingredients). It is all good stuff but I don’t know that I will spend the time reading all the information unless I am waiting somewhere with nothing to do. Perhaps for the iPad this app might be more useful.
You can either search for recipes by Key Ingredient, Cooking Technique, Flavour or Recipe Type (Fast, Make Ahead, Vegetarian, Essential), and you can see Bittman’s Picks, Quick Dinners, Most Popular or a Featured Recipe upon opening the app.
Like Everyday Food it has the ability to export the ingredients to a shopping list and the functionality is essentially the same.
What I don’t necessarily like about the recipes is having to “turn the page” from one step the next. With Everyday Food it comes as one long list, so when you are cooking it means you are touching the screen less, and therefore less chance of a messy iPhone.
A good buy for someone who does not own the book or another general reference cooking guide, but less user friendly than Everyday Food.
#3 Jamie Oliver 20 Minute Meals
Price: $4.99 (though when I bought it when it first came out it was $7.99!)
This was one of the first food apps out there (that I am aware of), and my goodness is it pretty! The reason for the higher price is, I believe, due to the video content on the app. Many of the videos seem to be culled from Jamie’s 20 minute Meal podcast as do the recipes.
The number of recipes on the app is much less than Everyday Food and How to Cook Everything. They are organized by Cooking Technique/Ingredient (eg. Easy Pasta, Tasty Stir-Fries and Classic Meat).
There is some difficulty with the conversions, and there are cases where I found neither Metric nor US imperial helpful. I think he expects you to have a kitchen scale (which I sadly do not). Many of the recipes can be customized to 2 or 4 people, a function that neither of the two previous app has. But like How to Cook Everything you are constantly scrolling through the steps, though each step includes a photo of how it should look (handy for novice cooks). You can also have the option to have Jamie’s voice on while cooking, which is cute for the first time, but then if you have to scroll back and forth fast becomes a little annoying.
Like the other two apps there is a shopping list function, which is easily customizable.
The recipes in the app are all quick, with some unique flavours, but some of the ingredients can be difficult to find at your run of the mill Loblaws.
I would say if you don’t already own any of Jamie Oliver’s books this app is a great buy. But with 3 of his cookbooks lining my shelves, I’ll turn back to those before coming back to the app.