Thursday, 26 April 2012

Speaking From Experience Cooking Apps.

'How to Cook Everything - Based on Mark Bittman's legendary cookbook/kitchen guide of the same name, How To Cook Everything holds a new cook's hand through embarrassing basics, and give them plenty to work with once they've found their feet. $5, iPhone only.'

'Epicurious -  Arguably the iPhone's first serious recipe app, and by far its best. First and foremost, Epicurious is a front-end for a bogglingly huge library of recipes lifted from the pages of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and other generally reputable sources, most of which are accompanied by delicious photos. Recipe choice is effectively endless, the iPhone interface is straightforward and functional, and the iPad interface is kind of gorgeous. The included shopping list tool is (baby raspberry) icing on the (flourless espresso) cake. Free, Universal.'

'Ratio - Michael Ruhlman's app is equal parts introduction to a cooking philosophy and tool. Luckily, this philosophy—cooking by ratio—is fascinating. $5, iPhone only.'

'Jamie's Recipes - a free app, where you'll get a welcome pack of dishes for free (each with step by step instructions) as well as a few tutorial videos on using knives properly and the like (to cut vegetables, not people). There's also a load of premium packs you can buy, each containing around 10 recipes and one or two vids. These packs are in-app purchases and, until 14 August, are at a cut price 69p - they're usually £1.49.'

'Cook Mate - will sort you out if you're a little bit slack on the old shopping. Can't be bothered to nip down to Safeway? No problem, just select the ingredients you do have, yes you will need to have some, and Cookmate should come up with a selection of recipes geared around your leftovers.'

'Cook's Illustrated - a great iPhone cookery app that brings you tried and tested recipes, meaning that if you do decide to attempt one, it should work a treat. This is because each recipe has had to endure the rigours of the Cook's Illustrated test cooks where each recipe is tweaked to perfection, hopefully. As the blurb goes: "We make the mistakes so you don’t have to."' 

'Big Oven - On the whole, the free cookery apps are not as good but when of the ones that really can compete is BigOven. You still get features like automatic unit conversions between metric and imperial, shopping lists and recipes based on ingredients you have but where it suffers are things like adverts and a slightly slow, connected-only experience.'

'Cooking Light - The star feature of this app allows users to easily put together a meal: Pick a protein, then you may choose their suggested menu or customize your own from over 300 options for entrees, sides, and desserts. The in-app calculator will tell you how many calories the whole meal per serving. Cooking Light, iPhone, $4; $0.99; iPad, $4'

'Do Eat Raw - This one goes out to the raw vegans in the house: Three hundred recipes are organized by course and ingredient, and available on your iPhone, internet or no, rain or shine. We're not exactly sold on their raw vegan brownies, but good to know there's an app for that. Do Eat Raw, iPhone, $1'

'Good Food Healthy Recipes - In addition to 150 beautifully photographed dishes, this app from the BBC has everything we look for: easy-to-use search, full nutritional information for each dish, ingredient info, a timer, and videos to teach core cooking skills. Bonus: British favorites like butter chicken and puddings are given healthy makeovers. Good Food Healthy Recipes, iPhone, $3; iPad, $4'

Whole Foods Market Recipes - The behemoth of organic grocers has done us well by this app. From an easy to use shopping list (makes sense, eh?) to a special diet search filter, this app wins most likely to revolutionize your weekly trips to any market (even if it's not Whole Foods). Whole Foods Market Recipes, iPhone, free; iPad, free'

 'Recipes4us, Student Edition - This is a series of articles offering advice to students on subjects such as cooking on a budget,  shopping for food, store-cupboard staples,  cooking tips,  kitchen equipment,  basic kitchen and food hygiene plus lots of easy, nutritious and delicious recipes which won’t break the bank. This collection of 60 recipes has been put together especially for students. Most are economical, quick, easy to make and nutritious, however we've also included some "treats" for when you've done well with your budget and have a little extra to spend. To make it even easier, you can also choose the serving amount on many of the recipes - from cooking for 1 to feeding the house (8) - and the recipes are listed in clearly defined sections in order of preparation/cooking time.  You can even email your favourite recipes to friends directly from the app.'

 'The Food Book - The most recent bit of news to come out of Australia is a new cookbook iPad app for students–and not culinary students, but all kinds of secondary education students–put out by Oxford University Press. The interactive app is part of an educational series called The Food Book suite, which was designed for secondary students. You have to be a student at a registered university (with a username and password to log in) to see all the content on the website, although one recipe per day is available for anyone to preview; see Even without access to the full recipes, the photo carousel on the homepage provides a glimpse of  how much Australia’s culinary profile is influenced by the flavors of Southeast Asian countries and the techniques of Western Europe.'

After looking through these current examples I have found that a lot are mostly aimed towards older audiences that are maybe already quite comfortable with cooking, the menu choices are also not as suitable for students skills and tastes. The 'Recipes4us' app seems the most appropriate for my chosen audience but the design aspect I feel is very inappropriate and uninspiring which is something I could develop further for my product.

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