Are you a fan of famous NY Times food columnist Mark Bittman’s work? Do you enjoy cooking? Or maybe you just enjoy the concept of cooking and you’re looking for an easy, how-to cookbook with delicious recipes to help you get started. Look no further! Even if you haven’t heard of the Bittman name, you should check out the app version of his book “How to Cook Everything”, brought to you by Culinate. The app contains the entire contents of his book–all 2,000 recipes–at less than half cost of an NY Times Sunday edition.
But wait, there’s more! Not only does it offer all the cooking instructions, but there’s also search, filter, favorite/bookmark, timer, and shopping list creation capability. Even the 400 how-to illustrations are included for everything from how to stuff and seal pot stickers to quartering a roast chicken. I absolutely love how they packed everything from the 5 lb book into one app so that you can bring it with you to the kitchen and the market.
Now I could tell you all day about the app, but I’ll offer up the highlights instead. I think the best part about this app is how easy it is to plan, shop, and create a meal. Planning is easy-as-pie with the built-in bookmarks and shopping list feature. You can save the recipes you love to your favorites folder. You can also add all the recipes you want to your grocery list and the app will do the math for you. No more having to total up how much butter, sugar, and flour you’ll need to have on hand. And when you’re at the grocery store, you can pull out the app and check off the items on your shopping list as you purchase them so you won’t forget a thing. You can even e-mail yourself the grocery list with the built-in e-mail feature.
How To Cook Everything is beautifully minimalist. The interface is intuitive and perfect for the home cook. The start page is styled after Bittman’s revised, 10th anniversary edition of “How to Cook Everything” with yellow and white font against a red background. The graphics are the same hand-drawn, black-and-white versions you’ll see in Bittman’s book. Audiophiles may be disappointed because there isn’t music to go along with their browsing experience, but for an app of this type they’ll be able to survive.
This app makes me positively gleeful, but I still have a short wish list. I’d love to see a few changes with future updates. First of all, I’d like to be able to easily access all the illustrations (with their instructions) from one place. Developers could group it on the search page and just call it “Illustrations”. Great, detailed illustrations are one of my favorite parts about a cookbook and making them easily accessible would really enhance the cookbook enthusiast’s viewing experience. Secondly, I’d like it if I could add the ingredients for the recipe variations directly from the recipe page. As is, the only way for me to add extra ingredients is to do it manually from the shop/groceries page. Finally, if the app is capable of calculating in standard U.S. measurements, there should be a button or setting that will convert ingredients for metric measurement fans if Bittman wants to make his non-American fans happy.
The app was on sale for $0.99 for a limited time which was an absolute steal at that price, since the cookbook usually goes for $35 retail. If you already have the paper copy, this app version is still worth purchasing. If you happen to miss out on limited time price, the app is still worth getting because it offers so much reuse value.
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