So as you probably know (or at least you've heard,) there's an "app" for everything.
An app is a small application to install on your iPhone that helps you organize your life. There is an app to helps you (and your pet birds) destroy mean pigs - or perhaps save your virtual home from zombie invasion? I confess to enjoying both - and the Osho Zen Tarot Deck, too.
But don't even get me started trying to count the number and variety of apps out there to help you in the kitchen. I tried the Cooking Light app recently.
I used to subscribe to Cooking Light years ago, when one would actually subscribe to a magazine. With the internet, that doesn't happen much anymore. I can Google for just about anything, and most recipes from magazines are available online either before or shortly after publication. Still, I always liked most recipes I tried from Cooking Light, so I figured it was worth testing.
Despite being challenging to navigate on an iPod touch, browsing on an iPad would be no trouble as with a simple swish of a finger you see one glorious mouth-watering photo after another. I was entranced by the Halibut with tomato relish. I selected Brown-Butter Green Beans and Baked Apples with Chai Syrup as accompaniments.
|Screenshot of Halibut with Tomato Relish|
There was no halibut in my local grocery store, so I substituted fresh cod. While at the grocery store, I figured I would receive a tomato or two in this week's CSA package, so didn't buy any. But after I got home, I decided to make the fish immediately so improvised with avacado, shallot, lemon, pepper, garlic, cumin, olive oil, and a little sesame oil.
I reviewed the recipes, decided to not have the iPod on the counter while prepping and quickly wrote vague directions for all recipes. I taped them to the overhead cupboard, and winged the rest of the meal.
|Hand-written vague directions|
With the app, it's nearly impossible to know what needs to be prepped unless you've got all of the recipes in front of you.
With an archaic piece of paper, though, I could easily see that I needed to have the apples in the oven first, then prep the green beans, followed by the avocado mix for the fish. Only after those were prepped and the apple was in the oven did I begin to cook the fish and beans.
And while there is a menu feature, the app doesn't give suggestions for preparing a meal in a timely and efficient manner. And that is one huge strike against the app as time and efficiency are crucial for the modern cook. I stuck to my piece of paper and carried on.
The water came to boil, I dropped the green beans in, and the fish went into the pan to saute. A short while later the green beans were drained, shocked in cold water, and combined with browned butter, lemon, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. The fish finished shortly, flaking apart perfectly in the pan, and onto the plate they both went. About that time the apples were coming out of the oven, and I was ready to eat.
|Browned-Butter Green Beans with Lemon|
|Cod with Sesame-Avocado Relish|
|Baked Apples with Chai Syrup|
With all of the potential liquids to invade the delicate interworkings, I just didn't want to chance an iPod disaster in the kitchen. And besides, have you tried to read and follow a detailed recipe from an iPod? It's a tiny screen. No way. Maybe on an iPad with a stand...and waterproofing.
There was, however, one app I did use while cooking - and I use it often when preparing multiple dishes. Kitchen Pad Timer kept track of cooking times for all items; in fact, it can manage up to four items on the stove top and four items in the oven. I wonder if the Cooking Light app will improve with a second use? We'll see soon.