Cooking App

There is no shortage of cooking apps out there designed to provide a variety of tools for every chef, from those just learning to cook to seasoned professionals looking to bulk up their repertoire. Some feature a library of recipes for your perusal while others allow you to build your own recipes based on ingredients found in your cupboards. Some help you to create grocery lists or even offer healthier substitution suggestions for the items you regularly purchase. Some have barcode scanners that give you instant nutritional information or tell you where you can buy items cheaper at nearby stores. But if what you really want is a way to find new recipes, take them with you wherever you go, and share them with friends, you should definitely check out the BigOven application for your iPhone or iPad.

This app comes in three stages, starting with a free download. In this version you’ll have access to over 250,000 recipes from the BigOven database, giving you plenty of options for family meals. Heck, there’s even a feature that lets you peruse complete menus, broken down by everyday cooking or special occasions. The search functionality is simple, yet thoughtful, with filtering options that include the course you want to serve, an ingredient you’d like to use, or keywords. Handy tools will help you to make conversions, scale your recipe size, and access reviews of any recipes you want to try. And a recipe builder feature provides you with menu options based on up to three ingredients that you enter, allowing you to use up items that are sitting in your fridge or pantry in peril of expiration. Of course, you can also share your faves at this level via Twitter, Pinterest, or email.

The next stage requires you to sign up for a BigOven account, but don’t fret – it’s free. At this level you can start to add your own recipes by typing them in or uploading them from elsewhere on the web, and you can even send in three handwritten cards for the folks at BigOven to type up and add to the database for you. Plus, you’ll enjoy the many planning tools, such as the ability to populate a grocery list from any recipe (complete with aisles where you’ll find ingredients) and a calendar that lets you drag-and-drop recipes so that you can plan your meals for the week, the month, or beyond. You can also share recipe via Facebook and access any recipes posted by your Facebook friends. At this stage you can start to save your faves or set up a folder for recipes you’d like to try soon. So if you’ve always wanted to try making Swedish raclettes or Spanish paella, you won’t have to go searching for the recipe when you’re ready to start.

Finally, you can sign up for a Pro membership at a cost of $19.99. Although it’s a bit pricy, you won’t have to deal with annoying ads, which is a good place to start. For the money you’ll also get to add private notes and changes to any recipe and you can upload 25 handwritten recipes to be typed. You’ll get tools that offer nutritional information related to your recipes and access to special menus based on dietary restrictions such as shellfish, dairy, or gluten allergies and vegetarian or vegan sensibilities, just for example. And you can start to filter search results by exclusions, as well. Also, you’ll be able to use your account on any device. So there’s a lot to love about the BigOven app. The only question remaining is if your oven is big enough to handle the new demand you’ll place on it.

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