The iPhone, it turns out, is an ideal medium for cooking from recipes—or, perhaps, Culinate, the creators of this app, found an ideal source for iPhone cookery in New York Times food columnist Bittman’s 1,046-page original.
Some won’t easily give up the pleasures of working from a recipe on the printed page. But for gourmets who value efficiency and their time more than the need to sustain the printing industry, this is a near perfect app, awesome in its comprehensiveness, elegant organization, ease of use and lightning-fast operation. The search-and-filter function makes it easy to find recipes based on styles, ingredients and modes of preparation, but browsing with no destination recipe in mind is surprisingly pleasing in this format, as well. Bittman uses a four-letter code (FMVE) to signify whether the recipes are Fast, require to be Made ahead, are Vegetarian or Essential to the culinary canon, and you can use any of these as a filter on the search page—useful when looking for, say, a vegetarian dish that can be made in 30 minutes. All recipes are divided into steps, and each step is given its own screen. Steps that require careful timing link to a pop-up timer preset to go off for the mentioned number of minutes in the recipe. You can add ingredients from a recipe to an editable shopping list, which can also be shared via e-mail. If you like a recipe, you can note it on Facebook or Twitter, or you can rate it and your vote will register on other uses’ phones. All this is in addition to the clearly written, near-encyclopedic array of articles that instruct cooks of all abilities in how to cook practically anything.