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A Kitchen Reference Phone App


IndyRob
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I've decided to try my hand at developing an app for Windows Phone 7. It will be a Kitchen Reference app targeted at intermediate home cooks, with a battery of kitchen timers, a page for unit conversion and scaling, and some other features. I'm in the process of deciding what else it will do, and perhaps more importantly, what it won't.

What I'd like to specifically avoid are recipe collections. I already have, for instance, a free Epicurious app that can serve up better content than I could ever come up with. I don't think I want it to manage one's personal recipe collections (perhaps that's a separate app).

I would however, like to include a number of quasi-standard recipe ingredient proportions for American kitchen staples. For instance, I don't make crepes often enough to have memorized the ingredients and proportions. But when I do make crepes, I don't need full instructions, I just need the proportions.

Another feature will most likely be time & temps. A list of charts showing rare, medium, well temps, along with rule of thumb roasting times. Perhaps a list of meat cuts and recommended cooking methods (roast, braise, etc.)

And what about an Ad supported free app versus a $0.99 or $1.99 app? For me, a free app is much more likely to get installed, but I know I'm not a typical consumer.

Does anyone have any other ideas and/or opinions?

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Uhhhh...........

I'm not a Iphone user. Matter of fact I don't have a phone--well I have a land line.

But-tum....aren't Iphones kinda small? And prone to water and temperature damage?

And aren't the screens kinda tiny?

And wouldn't you have to wash and dry your hands every time you wanted to scroll up or down or use any buttons ?

I'm not really sayin, but I'm just sayin....

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Uhhhh...........

I'm not a Iphone user. Matter of fact I don't have a phone--well I have a land line.

But-tum....aren't Iphones kinda small? And prone to water and temperature damage?

And aren't the screens kinda tiny?

And wouldn't you have to wash and dry your hands every time you wanted to scroll up or down or use any buttons ?

I'm not really sayin, but I'm just sayin....

Ummm. You definitely aren't an iPhone user. :) I use my phone and/or iPad in the kitchen all the time. there's a thread around here somewhere about it. Some people use a ziploc for their iPad but I don't usually bother. I just set it on a counter I am not working at. When the side of the fridge was exposed, I hung it there - the cover is magnetic - but now the fridge is enclosed.

I agree with Kerry. I want to be able to convert to weights.

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I also use my iPhone and iPad in the kitchen all the time - IndyRob is talking about Windows Phones specifically here though.

Something that would be good for a kitchen reference app is the basic ability to make notes. For example, I have a couple of cooking apps but if I want to note something about temperatures (example: that 200C listed in a recipe works best as 210C in my cantankerous oven, and no, it's not a consistent margin at different temps!), I have to come out of the kitchen app and make a note of that in iPhone Notes. It may be out of scope of what you're intending, but a very basic note editor in some of these reference apps would be invaluable, IMO.

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I'd include something that allows me to convert to weights - for example the weight of 2 tbsp of sugar, or the weight of 9 tbsp of butter.

Definitely agree with this one. An app that incorporated something like onlineconversion.com, which bases its weight<>volume conversions on ingredient density, would be a great idea (accuracy of the ingredient density database would be crucial, of course).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I second the weight conversion suggestion. I just did some baking at our cabin where I don't have a scale. As much as I bake, I still couldn't tell you what 220 grams of flour looks like.

You might find it useful to look at The Fresh Loaf bread baking site. A lot of people create spreadsheets designed to help with baker's math, scaling dough formulas,etc. It will give you an idea of the questions folks have and the sort of formulas they find useful. Just type in "spreadsheet" or "calculator" in the search engine.

I would pay .99 for a user friendly cooking app.

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I regularly use Kitchen Calculator Pro for conversions. Take a look at it, it's easy to use.

http://www.kitchencalculator.net/

It handles weight to volume conversions nicely, with a long list of ingredients to help you out.

What I want is a baker's math app....add the percentages into a formula, put in the amount of dough you want, and it calculates the weight of each ingredient needed. Sure, it's not so hard to do this with a calculator, but an app might be fun.

Edited by HungryC (log)
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Common substitutions would be helpful too. Don't have milk, use this, don't have semisweet chocolate, use x cocoa + x fat + x sugar, etc.

I have an iphone and might buy an app like that. I have the epicurious app and use that occasionally, otherwise use bing to search for information. So your app would have to be faster & more reliable than a web search.

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Thanks, all. Some good ideas. I had planned volume to weight conversions. My only question there is how comprehensive I try to be with an ingredient density database.

With my current plan I should be able to trump KichenCalculator in at least a couple of different ways. But I'll remain a bit cagey for now.

Substitutions are something I thought of originally but forgot, so thanks for that.

Baker's formulas are a great idea and I can already see how it can fit in.

I'm also thinking about links to eGullet, pizzamaking.com, The Fresh Loaf, etc. I'm not exactly sure why, other than wanting to promote good sites. I'm still trying to figure out what my criteria would be and why. I don't really see a need to link to say, foodnetwork.com or epicurious, but then again, why wouldn't I? Maybe if I come up with a categorization scheme....

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