Since many of you will be unwrapping iPads and iPhones for the holidays, we put together a list of food-themed apps and accessories we use regularly. Please chime in with other recommendations!
1. Epicurious, (Free): This was arguably the first serious recipe app, and still one of the best. Epicurious has grown fat from the bountiful recipes of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and an increasing list of cookbooks over the years. In the latest edition of this app, you can sync your online Recipe Box at Epicurious.com with your Favorites list in the app. Mine through the expansive library, read the user reviews, make grocery lists, and check out photos in the well-designed and easy-to-use interface. Say there's fantastic fennel at the farmers' market—search fennel and you can bring home all the ingredients for Gourmet's Carrot Fennel Soup. —H.S.D.
2. Ratio ($4.99) Michael Ruhlman's unique cookbook Ratio changed the way that many home cooks think about food. His theory: with just 32 "critical ratios" you've got everything you need to produce thousands of dishes without a recipe. For example want to make cookies? That's 1 part sugar, 2 parts fat, and 3 parts flour. It's guaranteed to wean you off the recipes and have you baking with confidence. —J.K.L.A.
3. How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman ($4.99): A full $35 hardcover book for under $5? Yes, please! The app version of Mark Bittman's (of the New York Times) encyclopedic homage to simple cooking contains every recipe from the tome (over 2,000 of them!), all of the hand-drawn illustrations, and a number of neat touches like a shopping list generator and an automatic timer that clicks on and off as you work through the recipes. Thoughtful features like the ability to search recipes by ingredient or preparation time make it one of the most useful tools for putting a hot home-cooked meal on the table, even on a busy week night. —J.K.L.A.
4. Gourmet Live (Free, just available for iPad): Still nostalgic for Gourmet magazine? And you have an iPad? This app is a mix of new and old: longer features about tailgating and New York street food, mixed with recipes from the magazine's archives, and the same level of drool-inducing photography. "Unlock" additional free content the more you read, or purchase additional collections including Gourmet magazine classics for just 99-cents. —H.S.D.
5. CookIt (99-cents): How many times have you forgotten about the potatoes roasting in the oven because you were paying attention to the sauce simmering on the stovetop? Well no more. CookIt's simple interface allows you to run a separate timer for each item you are cooking with an audio/vibrate alarm. It'll also calculate exactly when you need to start cooking each item in order for them to arrive at the table all at the same time. Sometimes the most useful tools are the simplest. —J.K.L.A.
7. Pepperplate ($9.99, iPad only) and Paprika ($9.99, iPad only): Pepperplate and Paprika two new iPad apps for managing and organizing your recipes. Both apps allow you to manually add your own recipes and import recipes from your favorite websites. Pepperplate also includes menu planning and a cooking mode that puts your menu's recipes at your fingertips, plus a handy remote cooking timer app for the iPhone (99-cents). —A.B.
8. Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Guide (Free): These days with all the problems our fish stocks are facing, going out to a seafood restaurant can be a crapshoot. Am I potentially destroying the ocean's ecosystem with each bite of this delicious sashimi? The Monterey Bay Aquarium's guide is fast, simple, and intuitive to use, providing sustainability information on every type of seafood imaginable, ranked as green, orange, or red, depending on how threatened they are. With automatic updates, it's the most authoritative guide on the market. —J.K.L.A.
9. Foodspotting (Free): Instead of searching for restaurants, search for specific dishes, and get instant food-porn gratification with pictures uploaded from the ever-vigilant food paparazzi community. —H.S.D.
10. Weber's On the Grill ($4.99): It's a little chilly to think about grilling right now, but your future burger-eating self this summer will thank you. Search by red meat, pork, poultry, seafood—there are over 250 tried-and-true grilling recipes. The app also includes helpful how-to videos and tips. Enter the thickness of the meat and the weight, for example, and it will tell you how long to cook it, and roughly when to flip. The new iPad version has more than three times as many videos as the iPhone version (27 in total). —E.Z.
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