If you’re a smartphone user, you know there are a LOT of foodie apps out there. I have a whole folder on my iPhone dedicated to food apps- everything from recipe finders, meal planners, barcode scanners and takeout order sites. It can be a little overwhelming to figure out which ones are useful, inspiring, mouth-watering as well as which ones are not-so-great or just plain silly.
Today on the examining table is an app inspired by one of my favorite cookbooks of all time: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.
App Name: How to Cook Everything
Platforms supported: iOS only (iPhone and iPad)
Cost: Free (lite version), $4.99 (iPhone), $9.99 (iPad)
Basic Functionality: Think of this app as the cookbook re-constructed, in a digital world. Literally every recipe from the original book is included
What I love about this app is how comprehensive it is in terms of functionality. Recipes are easy to search for- you can search by main ingredient, type of meal, technique (braising, roasting, stir-frying, etc), or popularity. The app also includes information on choosing the best equipment, background on types of ingredients, tips for storing and preparing foods, and more.
You can mark recipes as favorites and access them through a special Favorites button, add items to your virtual grocery list, and if you are familiar with the original book, you’ll also know that Bittman always includes examples of variations off a certain recipe. All of these are included within the app as well.
I sprung for the full $9.99 version so that I could use it on my iPad as well- which is way easier to use in the kitchen if you’re cooking off a recipe straight from the app- but the text is big enough and functionality is easy enough to cook straight from on the iPhone as well.
That li’l extra something: I have a few favorite things about this app, actually enough that I think this warrants a bulleted list:
- Built-in timer: This is pretty awesome in my opinion. While you’re reading a recipe, any cooking times are highlighted and are clickable, taking you to a pre-set timer for that duration. For example, if a recipe calls for you to boil pasta for 8 minutes, just tapping on the “8 minutes” takes you to a timer already set for that time. All you do is click “Start” and your timer starts counting down. Check out this step-by-step recipe for Quick-Braised Fish Fillets:
- Focus on technique: This isn’t necessarily unique to the app itself, but I think it deserves notice. Bittman puts such an emphasis on making better home cooks- and this app is a great tool to use if you aren’t quite sure the best way to separate a whole chicken, or the best way to chop an onion, or which breads make for the best sandwiches. These are all actual articles within the app!
- Weekly featured recipes: The app will actually send you push notifications for new weekly featured recipes. The latest I’ve seen have been pretty bomb-sounding- including Warm Spicy Greens with Bacon and Eggs and Caramel Fish Filets.
Honestly, the only negative thing about this app is that there are no pictures, which is the same deal in the printed version. I think the thing I like best about most cookbooks (and food blogs) is that initial mouth-watering photo that draws you in and makes you want to get down and dirty in the kitchen. But as with the original book, Bittman’s writing style is so clear, informative, and friendly that you can easily understand how to put together a great dish without a visual.
Bottom Line: This app is well worth the investment if you love the How To Cook Everything series of cookbooks and want an app that really does it all from teaching technique, inspiring home chefs with new recipes, and making the cooking process just a little bit easier. Grade: A
I want to make this app review section a weekly recurring segment- and although I already have a ton of food apps already installed and ready for reviewing, I’m always looking for more. If you have an app you think I should try out, please shoot me an email at totalnoms (at) mallorydash (dot) com or just leave a comment here!