I was somewhat slow to come to the whole tablet, smart phone phenomenon, but since taking the plunge last year (actually we may have got a tablet a little earlier than than, but the phone was definitely more recent) I’ve really embraced the technology in lots of ways. I do have definite boundaries, like I NEVER have my phone in the bedroom and I don’t use it if I’m with visitors or friends or if Mr Good and I are out to dinner or something like that. But I do use them a lot.
The phone is great to be able to take a quick photo of the girls and share them with friends and family that we don’t see as often as we’d like. I take snaps of flowers or gardens that I like when we’re out and about. I also love the fact that I can take a quick note of something important, interesting or that I need to remember without having to carry a pen and paper everywhere and I can’t lose it. The tablet is great for trawling Pinterest boards (yes, okay, I might have a minor addiction to Pinterest, but I’m okay with that), pinning to my hearts content. I am in love with the ABC iView and SBS On Demand apps. I actually set the tablet up just above the sink while I’m doing the dishes at night and catch up on shows I never get to see otherwise .
But today I thought I’d tell you about my favourite cooking app, Pepper Plate….
It’s an app that allows you to import any online recipe to your own recipe index, either automatically if the site you’re importing from is supported or manually if not, which can then be accessed via a tablet or smart phone. In some ways that makes it sound a little like Pinterest, but it’s a lot more than that. Firstly, you import the recipe not just link to the site. This means that whatever happens to the site you will always have the recipes. It’s also, and most importantly, a great tool to cook from whereas following a recipe on a wedsite using a computer/laptop, tablet or smartphone can be problematic.
Pepperplate has thought about all the issues when using technology in the kitchen. When you’re ready to start cooking you simply select the recipe and hit the cook button. By doing this the tablet automatically knows not to let the screen go dark therefore you don’t have to keep touching the screen (with potentially messy hands) to stop it going to sleep. It also has multiple timer functions for cooking more than one recipe or component at the same time and for someone who has never had a reliable kitchen or oven timer this is great.
Pepperplate has the capacity to record menu plans as far in advance as you want to go. I tried using this but found I didn’t follow it because it wasn’t right in front of me. I also found that it was difficult to make changes if you needed to. I’m better with just writing my menu plan on the calendar and then using the tablet to bring up the recipe.
Where the planning part of Pepperplate does work well is if you’re cooking for a special occasion (like Christmas or a dinner party or child’s birthday party) with multiple dishes or courses. You can add recipes from your list to create menus and then use the app to plan the cooking process, flicking easily between the different recipes you’re using and having separate timer functions for each one.
The final feature is a shopping list. It’s much more simple than the shopping list features on the supermarket apps I’ve used being, just a simple list that you write manually rather than searching for specific items and then selecting the brand and size you want. However once the list is written you can sort it yourself into aisle, shop or recipe categories. To be honest I use the low tech version of shopping lists, writing it out manually on an old envelope after I had Miss Two delete my entire list on two separate occasions while we were in the supermarket. Also I find pushing the trolley holding an iphone somewhat awkward. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before trolleys come with smart phone holders and probably some sort of connectivity between the trolley/store and the list on your phone so it alerts you when you’re at the aisle/shelf you need. Now I could get on board with that, would save me having to walk the aisles TWICE as I go back and collect all the things I forgot the first time.
Of course I use my fair share of low-tech options, I have quite the cook book collection and a stand that always has something resting on it, waiting to become the next meal, snack or treat. But I do like my high-tech ones as well.
What’s you’re tip for using technology in the kitchen? Do you have a favourite app to share? Or are you a more traditional cook and stick with the paper/book copy of a recipe? Or are you one of those clever cooks that don’t need a recipe to whip up magic in the kitchen?