The internet can provide many sources of inspiration for cooking just about anything, but what if you can’t drag your computer into the kitchen? What if your printer is on the fritz – again! – and you can’t print out the recipe? What if you have an Apple iPad, just sitting there, doing nothing…?
When it comes to cooking resources, there is definitely an app for that! I chose to load the allrecipes app, made especially for the iPad. Although there is an “upgrade” version you can pay for – the free version has enough bells & whistles to be a very satisfactory resource. How much do I love the “allrecipes.com” app? A LOT! It’s like having a portable version of the website (which I also LOVE)!
Features I Particularly Like:
- Search: Just type in an ingredient or recipe title and a list of recipes from the website appears with a photo (if available), the star ratings, the cook’s name and a part of the description (if it’s long). Touch one of the versions that grabs your interest and a new screen appears with the ingredients list and directions, as well as reader/user reviews.
- Inspire Me: At the top, left corner, is the Inspire Me button. Touch this and 6 food pictures floats to the center of the screen – from sauces to main dishes; breakfast to dessert! Touch one of the photos for a quick preview that will give you the recipe title, ratings, cook and short description. You then have the option to see more details, look for similar recipes or review later. Or just touch outside of the pop-up and it will go away. After a few moments, one of the pictures will slide away and be replaced with another. If you decide you want to see just chicken dishes, for example, swipe it to the bottom of the screen and all the current choices will go away, followed by 6 choices in that category. You can now go through them in the same manner as before. I could play with this feature for hours!
- Start Cooking: When you have chosen a recipe and assembled your ingredients, ready to begin cooking, touch the orange circle, labeled “Start Cooking” and your screen will change to a “landscape” view (the above graphic shows a “portrait” view) with a timer on the right side, ingredient list below that. Most of the screen has the instructions listed, with the first step enlarged. The top of the screen has a number for each of the steps which, when touched, will enlarge that step in the cooking process. Or – I guess if you’re not good with numbers… – you can touch “next step” or “back step,” also at the top of the screen. You can change the font size by touching the little box with a big A and a little A – both in upper case. Select the size that is best for your visual acuity.
- The Timer (in the above feature): The orange timer is set for the number of minutes needed for cooking each recipe. You can start the timer by touching the little arrow and you can also enlarge it by touching the button with the two arrows pointing in opposite directions. If your iPad is not on mute, it will beep at you when the cooking time is finished!
- Expand: When you pull up the recipe page, you can use it in this incarnation to shop for and prepare your meal, but you have to remember to scroll through the ingredients if they don’t all fit into the default sized window. By choosing “expand” – the two little arrows pointing in opposite directions in the upper right-hand corner of the “recipe book” – all the ingredients are on the left page and all the instructions on the left. If the recipe is complicated, you may need to scroll through the instructions or use the Start Cooking feature instead.
- Featured: By choosing this option at the top of the home screen, you can see the featured recipes for the month, similar to the home page for allrecipes.com.
Inspired yet? I know for a fact I haven’t used all the features on the free version of this app and know I will discover more as I continue to play with it. The “upgrade” features include “Recipe Box” and “List.” I assume that recipe box is similar to the website and is a place for bookmarking recipes you want to save and I’m guessing that “list” will set up a shopping list for a particular recipe. Do I need them? Eh! Not so much! Am I saying you should rush out and get an iPad? Not really, but if you’re looking for an excuse, there are worse reason to get one! If you already have an iPad, you’ll find this app to be a very effective tool.