App Name: Allrecipes Video Cookbook for iOS
Available Platforms: iOS 4.3 or later, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
What does this app do? Imagine you've just landed an exclusive interview concerning one of the most significant legal cases of the year, all the while winning the admiration of a rich and handsome admirer. Emboldened by your recent success and soon-to-be requited love, you naturally assume you'll be just as talented and lucky in the kitchen and confidently set out to make a daringly exotic dinner for said love interest plus a few close friends. Fresh ingredients in hand, you embark on your culinary voyage, only to end up with watery blue soup and a heap of other blasé dishes cobbled together from leftovers.
Yes. Yes, I did just describe the calamitous scene from "Bridget Jones's Diary" in which the lovable singleton attempts to impress her peers with her sub-par cooking skills and here's why: Not only does it poke fun at a universal hubris many share when it comes to overestimating our ability to master talents or otherwise hard-earned skills in the amount of time it takes to edit together a snappy movie montage, it's also an enjoyable transition into mentioning that Bridget, in that scene, could have used a visual guide on how to prepare and cook that meal.
And now… there's an app for that.
Specifically, Jones might have benefited from the Allrecipes Video Cookbook app for iOS, released earlier this month from allrecipes.com. This free app provides a comprehensive catalog of recipes paired and synced with videos to help you along, step-by-step.
From your iPad, tap the key in the upper-left corner and the app reveals a two-paned screen, one with categories you can search, such as appetizers and main course, and the other displaying thumbnail images of recipes corresponding to your selected category. Select a specific dish, Quinoa and Black Beans, for example, and the app provides a video alongside instructions and ingredients for that dish. The app displays estimated prep and cook times as well as calorie counts for the meal you wish to prepare. While you are in this view, swipe up the screen to read user reviews of the recipe you've selected.
The Allrecipes Video Cookbook app provides several different categories to search through - nine by our count. If the category you choose doesn't yield a result, you can search by typing in keywords. We tried "roasted chicken" and the app presented available recipes, as well as related suggestions. For example, I was also given "Black Lemon Chicken" and "Kung Wow Chicken."
Is it easy to set up? Download this app from the iTunes store. The 1.3 MB app installs quickly and launches seamlessly.
Should I try it? Allrecipes.com mobile apps claim a strong following - with more than 15 million downloads worldwide, according to an allrecipes.com representative - but food lovers can alternate food and drink apps. The Epicurious app or the Whole Foods Market Recipes app are strong resources, too, and organized just as well. Epicurious's bright navigation buttons and sharing capability make it easy to find meal ideas and pass them along to friends. And the Whole Foods app considerately displays special dietary information with clever iconography. Still, the Allrecipes Video Cookbook app boasts a hefty library of more than 40, 000 recipe ideas and 700 videos, according to its website. If that's true, surely Jones, and those of us like her, would benefit from an app like this one.