Part of PadGadget’s continuing series Get Cooking with iPad
Appetites differs from most other cooking apps because it’s powered by food bloggers, who are, after all, just regular folks who really love to cook. These D.I.Y. foodies may not be classically trained, but they are never callow, for if they lack any particular skills (or refuse to wear gloves while chopping a habanero chili), they remedy any holes in their backgrounds with enthusiasm and determination.
With Appetites the number of chefs seems not too spoil, but rather enhances, the user experience. Appetites includes a broad range of recipes from starters to desserts. A recent update eliminated the requirement to purchase 30 additional recipes in-app for 0.99 each and introduced several new bloggers into the mix.
Once the app is open the chefs stare back at the user from moving picture frames, like how I imagine the portraits in Harry Potter, but less ghostly. If you touch a snap shot, the chef will chat you up, sharing a bit about how his or her blog came to be. The app includes links to each blogger’s website as well as to individual facebook and twitter accounts, so users can follow their favorite chefs outside Appetites.
After choosing a specific recipe, the video lesson fills the frame, but there are tabs on either side of the screen that read “steps” and “ingredients.” Touch these tabs at any time to bring up the recipe in its more traditional form. Users may also send ingredient lists from the app via e-mail.
Appetites is one of the first apps to bring the democratizing forces of the blogosphere to the App Store, where users may download it for $4.99.
What I liked: Appetites is innovative and and entertaining. As a whole the bloggers were endearing and talented, like Top Chef contestants minus the blinding egos. The well-designed UI offered up a fetching mix of hardwoods, gingham, and colorful plates which helped to tie all of the recipes together, as if it were an amazing pot luck dinner. I liked that I could skip steps within a recipe, or back up and repeat something if I needed to do so .
What I didn’t like: As much as I loved Appetites concept, I didn’t always love its execution. Although one can skip steps, it seems unnecessary to watch a cook chop an entire onion or take time to measure and then empty yogurt into a bowl. Perhaps they could have shown just a moment of two of these oft-repeated tasks? They did edit out some portions of longer steps, such as filling a pot with oil, but I believe they should shortened the video clips even more. Also, if you allow a step to run to its conclusion, instead of pausing automatically, the frame will continue to repeat ad-nauseum until you manually advance to the next step.
To buy or not to buy: Appetites’ unique concept will appeal to some users innately more than others. Fans of food blogging, or the cooking instruction shows will probably enjoy the app, but users who are looking for a famous name behind their recipes won’t find find it in Appetites. The recent update’s inclusion of additional recipes for free adds value to the app, making $4.99 a reasonable price for what you get.
- App Name: Appetites
- Version Reviewed: 1.2
- Developer: Clear-Media
- Price: $4.99