Video and photography are what this app is all about, including the one-minute video introduction you’ll have to watch before you get to the app itself, plus an excellent color photo for each recipe.
One disappointment is that there aren’t videos showing how to cook each recipe. Yet there are about a dozen and a half videos on generic topics like chopping onions, making pasta, and caring for your knives. You can easily move the ingredients for an entire recipe to the shopping list.
There’s also a video in which the star, Jamie Oliver, shows you the cooking equipment he recommends.
The overall premise, of course, is that any of the recipes in this app can be cooked in just 20 minutes. They’re organized in categories like Classic Meat, Quick Curries, Vegetarian and Desserts. The cooking instructions themselves have a nice layout, like a Rolodex-style cookbook with each step on a separate card.
This attractive-looking app offers a unique feature that I doubt anyone would really use. It looks very cool, though. If you shake your iPhone, the “spinners” will randomly select dish categories for you to cook, much like a Las Vegas slot machine.
The more normal way to use this app is first to select a dish type (beverage, salad, main dish, side dish, etc.), then an ingredient (yes, just one main ingredient the way this app works) and finally the cooking time (expressed as a limit, such as up to 45 minutes). Then you view the matching recipes.
Fortunately, unlike some other recipe apps, there are many, many choices. I entered main dish, pork, and 45 minutes, for example, and over 50 recipes appeared. There’s only minimal pressure to upgrade to the Pro version ($2.99), which adds a shopping list function and an online recipe box.
In the Kitchen With David
At first glance this recipe app seems like a breath of fresh air in that — unlike many of the other recipe apps — there’s no upsell to a premium version. But then you realize the entire app is a front end for the QVC TV channel, in more ways than one.
You can order ingredients like Omaha Steaks and cooking equipment like frying pans directly from the app. You can watch the live TV network, if that’s your taste. The recipes are in standard categories like beverage, breakfast, appetizers/snacks, soup/salad, entrees and desserts, and there are several dozen to choose from in each category. Each recipe includes cooking tips along with basic instructions.
Despite the QVC connection, the recipes themselves are quite useful and free of sales pitches. So if you’re looking for a free basic source of recipes, this is worth the download.
With such an ambitious title, you’d expect more from this very humble free app (with no upsell, thankfully!). Cooking has five main features, all intended as aids in the kitchen. There are no recipes; this is truly an “accessory” app.
The first section of Cooking deals with yields and tips, providing advice on how much of an ingredient to cook to serve how many people. The second deals with substitutions. Look up maple syrup, for example, and a concoction based on brown sugar appears. There is a terms section with several hundred cooking terms like blanch and dice.
The measurements section offers the usual conversions you’d expect, plus some more obscure ones like ice cream scoops. Finally, the high altitude section gives you a special set of tips for boiling, poaching, baking, frying, and other forms of cooking at high altitude.
Kitchen Calculator Pro
Another rather basic accessory, Kitchen Calculator Pro does indeed include a calculator. More to the point, however, it will convert between a wide range of units of weight and volume, as well as between English and metric measurements for temperature and distance/length.
Perhaps its most useful conversion is between units of volume that are unique to cooking. For example, did you know that 50 drops equals half a teaspoon? Or that one pinch equals half a dash? It can also convert from weight to volume measurements, based on the ingredient. A distinct advantage over using a standard calculator is the ability to enter amounts and see results as fractions, such as one third of a cup.
Let’s say you have a recipe that serves six people but you want to cook it for fourteen. Such “kitchen math” calculations are easy for Kitchen Calculator Pro, and it remembers the ratio you need so you can conveniently scale the recipe for a long list of ingredients.
If you own an iPhone, who needs old-fashioned cookbooks? While you’ll probably want to hang on to some of your old recipes, using your iPhone as a kitchen helper can let you clear your cupboards of a lot of cookbook clutter while giving you new cooking capabilities you’ve never had before.
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