The app store is alive with countless applications and programs to help any food enthusiast or corporate caterer out in the kitchen. But with so many options available it’s hard to know just which one will get the job done and be appropriate for your needs. Put out by Conde’ Nast Digital, Epicurious is at the head of the pack in terms of its huge data-base of recipes, user review integration and host of extra perks. Its debut onto the app store didn’t go unnoticed by experts and authorities in the field either. Upon its release date it was featured as both the app of the week in the iTunes store as well as the app of the week pick for The New York Times and has received the award for best mobile app from the National Magazine awards two years in a row.
Epicurious App Review
The name of the app, Epicurious is derived from the word “epicure” which means, “one who is devoted to the sensual pleasure, particularly that of food and drink”. The people at Conde’ Nast certainly live up to the entomology. The app boasts a staggering 30,000 recipes with more added every week. For a free download, the value that this gives the user is immense. You could almost plan meals for the rest of your life with its aid.
The app is laid out as an almost electronic cookbook. From the home screen you are able to select a variety of features and tools to either find a particular recipe with an ingredient you have in mind, look at what cuisine is featured this week or search Epicurious’s large database by a popular item such as chicken or beans.
This means you can finally use those spears of asparagus that have been sitting in your refrigerator for a few days. Just open the app up, type in your search term into the query box and voila! You’re presented with the entire collection of recipes all featuring asparagus in the starring role. This feature is also great for planning ahead. Want to make sure you have a fish, steak and chicken option for next week’s meals? Simply keying in those terms into the search box will give you all the recipes you could possibly think of.
When you do narrow in on a selection, the app presents you with all the relevant information in a stylish and easy to read format. Depending on whether you are using and iPad or iPhone the presentation varies a little bit (I used the iPad version for this review). The left portion of the screen is instantly transformed into a scrollable column of all the ingredients that will be needed make this particular recipe. On the right side you are given step by step instructions that perfectly detail each step of the creation process. Each portion of the screen has an independent scrolling feature that easily lets you move up and down to view the text presented there.
The right side’s instruction list also comes with a handy “bookmark”, a movable orange arrow icon that is capable of being moved to whichever step you are on. This makes coming back and forth to the screen easier as you will always be able to see just what section of the recipe you are on.
In addition to its large recipe database, Epicurious also comes loaded with the ability to read and write your own reviews. I found this particularly helpful as most users gave some great tips on how to tweak the recipes to make them a little bit more tasty and enjoyable. In the same token, if you make a recipe and notice an area for improvement, adding your own two cents is fast and easy.
Perhaps the most impressive feature on the app (or at least the one that I was most drawn to) was the ability to make a shopping list right from the recipe menu. For example, let’s say you come across a recipe for some raspberry chocolate chip cookies that sounds way too good to pass up. Simply press the, “add to my shopping cart” button in the top right corner and every ingredient that you need as well as how much of it calls for is added to an easy to read list.
This list becomes even more cool with its ability be select and de-select items that you may or may not need. Epicurious even categorizes each ingredient by type such as, “fresh vegetable” or “spices”. I found this a great addition to making my time spent at the grocery store more fluid and quick.
Epicurious is a free download but has a “syncing” option that is available for $1.99. This option lets you download and manage recipes from the Epicurious site. I didn’t use this feature as I found the free version of the app more than sufficient for my needs.
Even if you aren’t a food lover I highly recommend just giving the app a spin. It’s free so you have absolutely nothing to lose and who knows, you just might find a mouth-watering recipe that you just have to try.