Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cooking With Your iPad

Cooking With Your iPad

When you're working long hours and then coming home to cook at night, you probably don't have time to copy down recipes. I know, there have been many times I've found a recipe online and lugged my laptop into the kitchen to work from being careful not spill anything on it. Apparently I'm not alone and now iPad owners can turn their new gadgets into virtual cookbooks with a couple of new apps. The New York Times recently took a look at some of those apps and they chose two that stood out above the rest.

First of all, the Times' Test Kitchen says the iPad is so much easier to cook from than your laptop and or cell phone and in the beginning it offered, at least ten cooking apps, with more being added weekly. But the app they chose as the best one is BigOven Pro. The BigOven Pro app is free for iPhone but you have to pay $9.99 to get it on your iPad. The 170,000 recipes are a group effort, entered by the app's 800,000 registered users. The second runner up to BigOven Pro is Epicurious, which features over 28,000 recipes from Conde Nast publications such as Gourmet and Bon Appetit. Epicurious is free.

So how do the two compare? The two apps have lots of similarities. Both apps offer duplicates of the same dishes with slight variations, which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who you ask. If you put your iPad in a horizontal position, the search and navigation controls on both apps move to the left side. With both you can email recipes or compile a grocery list based on the recipes you choose.

According to the New York Times, BigOven's grocery list feature is easier to use. In addition, its Use Up Leftovers feature is another cool thing to take advantage of. You can take three ingredients from your fridge or cabinets and type them in to get a list of recipes you can create with them. As the Times points out, this is especially great when your brain is fried from work and you're not in the mood to get creative with recipes. Big Oven also has a nice, if not always helpful glossary.

Another cool feature of BigOven is What's Cooking Around Me? It shows you the recipes people in your geographic area are cooking. The New York Times calls it "strange" and "creepy" but I think it sounds kind of neat and like a great way to find recipes you may not find otherwise. Then again, do you really need to know if your neighbor is making spaghetti that night?

Epicurious is said to be better for "those who like to browse" and of course if you don't want to dish out the $10 for BigOven, Epicurious is free. But hands down, BigOven is considered the better option due to all of its extra features.

Read more about the two apps at the New York Times.

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