How to Cook Everything paves the way for the iPad’s regular use in the kitchen. The iPad version of Mark Bittman‘s popular cookbook maintains the impressive breadth of the original format, while adding functions that take advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen and generous screen size.
How to Cook Everything’s main screen allows a user to access the recipe archive, Bittman’s picks, and Quick Dinners, as well as the recipes that the app’s users voted as their favorites. Users can also access useful lists of basic kitchen equipment and graphical how tos for everything from using a chef’s knife to semi-boning squab. In addition, users can reach the relevant tutorials from inside a recipe, as well as see variations on a recipe (a carryover from the original cookbook), or make a comment in the notes section. Recipes can be sent to the iPad’s Calendar app, or shared via facebook and twitter.
How to Cook Everything gets the big stuff right, but it’s the app’s attention to detail that makes it such a pleasure to use. To begin pick any of the app’s 2000 recipes, for example, Pad Thai. It should be delicious because it has more than 1000 thumb’s up votes from the app’s users. Once inside the recipe, users can add the recipe to favorites or add the ingredients to a grocery list.
Users have the option to customize the ingredients within each recipe by checking boxes. When making Pad Thai, for instance, you may choose peanut or grapeseed oil. Next choose ketchup or tamarind paste. These changes will be reflected in the grocery list the app creates.
And How to Cook Everything’s grocery list is beyond ordinary. The list can be sorted by grocery aisle or alphabetically, and the app tells you what recipe you need the ingredients for. It’s easy to add new items as well if a user were inclined to create an entire shopping list through this app. The list can be e-mailed or printed. Plus the app lets you create more than one list at a time. I don’t think shopping while carrying one’s iPad would be very practical, however, the list could easily be sent to an iPhone or other handset.
Bittman’s recipes are generally straightforward and easy to follow. There are usually no more than four steps in most of the recipes. The recipes include timers that the users can set from within the app, with just one touch. Users also have the option to bookmark steps within a recipe as well as to keep the iPad from automatically dimming, by touching a button in the lower right.
What Joy of Cooking was to the home cooks of the Mad Men generation, How to Cook Everything, particularly in app form, is sure to become, for it’s a solid culinary reference for cooks of all skill levels that fits our digital age. This essential app is available for download in the App Store for $9.99.
What I liked: It is very important to me to be able to locate the “fast and easy” section of any recipe source, so I was pleased the app breaks out its Quick Dinner section. I liked being able to access both the recipe variations and the tutorials from within the recipe. If I were using the book version I would have had to flip through a number of pages to access the same information. The in-recipe timer is brilliant and convenient.
What I didn’t like: Currently the limit on e-mailing recipes to oneself, or others, is set at 10 recipes per month. Most other cooking apps that I have used do not set a limit.
To buy or not to buy: $9.99 is expensive by App Store standards, but How to Cook Everything is a worthy investment. Many cooks may find it is the only cooking app they need, while others will discover that this is the app which finally opens up the possibility of cooking with an iPad.
- App Name: How to Cook Everything
- Version Reviewed: 1.6.2
- Category: Lifestyle
- Developer: Culinate Inc.
- Price: $9.99