Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tools and Tips: 6 Food and Cooking Apps You'll Use



This whole app thing is way over-hyped. Apps for everything and for nothing. Apps just to have an app. Free, paid, subscription based. Apps, apps, apps. You can spend hours just sifting through the countless apps without ever finding what you really want.

But what I want are GOOD apps! Apps to simplify my life, to help me get organized, to inspire me. And I want intuitive, simple, fast apps without any glitches or bugs or crashes. And I don’t want a bazillion different niche apps for every brand and company on the planet - just give me a few good apps that actually WORK.

And make them free. Because I won’t pay for them. Because I don’t need them.

The same applies to food and cooking apps. I could really care less about most of them. Many are restricted to an individual chef, personality, brand or limited database of recipes. Or they cost money. Or they’re chock-full of glitches. Rather than simplifying my life, these apps force me to learn new interfaces for every single limited experience. And that’s just a colossal waste to time. At least for me.

Yet hope remains. There are a handful of awesome food and cooking apps I do love. They’re not trendy or hip. They’re not the newest. But they work. They’re intuitive and easy to use. And they’re all free.



Pinterest
Ok, this isn’t technically a food or cooking app, but I think Pinterest is the best tool for discovering food online. It’s not just pretty photos or editors’ selections - you get everything! You become the editor by following favorite users, organizing must-try recipes onto different boards and browsing food to your heart's content. The phone app keeps you connected to your food wherever you roam.

Browse, search and pin favorite recipes

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Keep it all organized - your way on your boards

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Feedly
Yeah, yeah, not a food app, I know. But if you follow food blogs, Feedly is the best app for keeping tabs on the latest posts from your favorite foodies. You can easily subscribe to new content, organize your subscriptions into logical categories and browse for new inspiring food blogs. Even better, the app and desktop versions of Feedly sync in the cloud, so your saves and changes are always reflected in real-time. Just an overall awesome app.

Read, save and organize blog subscriptions

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Discover and share new content

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Big Oven
If you want to do more than look at pretty pictures, you want Big Oven. With a database of over 250,000 user recipes, you can quickly find a reliable recipe for whatever the occasion. I love the built-in user reviews for each recipe - real tips and feedback from real users who have actually made the recipe. That’s powerful stuff. But there’s so, SO much more to love - a real time-saver and kitchen hero.

Search and browse over 250,000 recipes

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Read recipes and real user reviews; easily convert measurements

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Find recipes based on what’s in your fridge

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Buycott
Are you passionate about organics? Or GMO labeling? Or eating local? Or humane treatment of animals? Then Buycott is your new best friend. No matter what your convictions and priorities, this intuitive app can help you be more effective in channeling your dollars to causes you support. Just pick your priorities, scan food items before buying and Buycott checks for any violations. Pretty awesome, right?

Evaluate products against your priorities before buying

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Learn more about the brands you buy from

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Yelp
I can leverage other people’s experiences to help guide me to delicious new restaurants - that’s the power of Yelp. It’s not foolproof and you’ll need to invest the time to read reviews and study menus, but it’s more comprehensive and reliable than the alternatives. With a little legwork, Yelp can make you feel like a native in no time.

Discover new food options no matter where you travel

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Explore menus, read reviews and get directions all in one place

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Grocery IQ
I love it because it works. Period. There are a bagillion list apps available but most are rigid, lack depth of detail or force me to re-type the same items every time I create a list. What an utter waste of time. Grocery IQ is powerful, flexible and a real time-saver once you do some initial legwork. It can even sync your data in the cloud so you can share lists with other Grocery IQ users. Perfect for those moments when your other half is already at the store and texts you: “I’m here - what do we need?”

Search from thousands of available products or create your own

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Customize and organize by store, isle and more

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Filter list by store and dynamically check off items as you go

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What have I missed? Share your favorite food or cooking app


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