As I feel the first rumble in my belly, I instinctively reach for my iPhone—not to order out, but to fix myself a delicious meal. With an iPhone app for nearly everything, there is no shortage of cooking apps. Even after I did some spring-cleaning on my iPhone, I still have 2 pages of cooking apps. Here are my favorites—put on your aprons and let's get cooking!
Step 1: Plan your meal
Mise En Place
I love planning meals, and Mise En Place helps me do it. You can plan your meals for the day, week, month, and even months ahead for those special occasions. The great thing about Mise En Place is that it's not just a meal calendar; it helps you manage your cooking and preparation tasks. The app enables you to set tasks that you need to carry out prior to the meal—for example, to boil potatoes for half an hour before the scheduled mealtime. The "Check" feature allows you to view tasks and menus by date.
Step 2: Shop for your ingredients
Shopping List Free (Grocery List)
Shopping List Free organizes items according to food categories, which makes efficient aisle-by-aisle shopping possible. In addition, you can select either US or metric measurements and enter items by the product name instead of having to look through a long, and often incomplete, list of products to find the closest match. If you require additional features such as calculating amount spent, store information, syncing between devices, and managing several shopping lists, you can upgrade to the full version of the app for $2.99.
Step 3: Get some tips and tools
How to Cook Everything
This app has recipes, shopping lists, illustrations, a search feature, and much more. What I really like about the app is its "Kitchen Basics" section, which provides concise tips on culinary equipment, techniques, and ingredients. The paid version has over 2000 recipes and provides tips related to the dish you are cooking (for example, how to season fish well). The app even comes with a built-in timer.
Step 4: Get cooking!
I am partial to Jamie Oliver's recipes because I love their simplicity and tastiness. Jamie's Recipes is a free app that comes with 13 free recipes and 3 instructional videos. In-app purchases allow you to add different recipe theme packs such as breakfast foods, slow cooking, and vegetarian meals. His videos are entertaining yet informative, and each recipe comes with pictures to guide you through each step of the cooking process. Step 5: Add the finishing touches.
I'm still looking for an app to help me with such finishing touches as how to set the table, decorate dishes, arrange food on the dishes, etc. Until some enterprising developer comes up with one, I'll have to rely on a book like Dishing with Style by Roro Trovato (available from amazon.com).
If you're an aspiring chef, you'll want to check out the Lifestyle section of the App Store, where most of the cooking related apps are found. An App Store search on "cooking" or "recipes" will help you narrow down the field. Check back frequently; new cooking apps are being introduced all the time.
I hope this short article helps you have more fun in the kitchen… bon appétit!
by Yvonne SohThe best apps for each stage of the cooking processMay-June 2011Lifestyle168