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Food  App Review ~ Mark Bittman and  How to Cook Everything

The Internet Chef in association with Culinate is giving away 5 copies of the Mark Bittman Food App  ”How to Cook everything”  for Iphone, Ipad or Ipod touch. Simply tell us below what your favorite ‘go to’ meal is when you’re in  a hurry and you go in  the draw to win!

**This competition is now CLOSED**

Food App: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman optimized for Ipad

Platforms available: Iphone, Ipod Touch and Ipad

Cost: Iphone and Ipod touch $4.99 USD and Ipad $9.99 USD

Who? Mark Bittman is a Professional food journalist. He will be the first one to point out that he is not a chef, but what he lacks in formal qualifications, he makes up for with a doctorate in the cooking school of life. Mark Bittman is a food legend in his own right and is responsible for some wonderful writing and musings including “The minimalist” column in the New York Times which only recently he has given away. Mark Bittman is  a cookbook author, columnist and appears regularly  on television including The Today Show where he hosts a regular cooking segment.  You can also find Mark Bittman  on twitter ~  @bittman , watch web cooking videos of his minamilst column or stay in touch via his website Mark  Bittman. com. Where does he find the time?

What? There’s an app for that… and this is the app for the hugely popular Mark Bittman cookbook of the same name  ”How to cook Everything” . A 1000+ page behemoth that some refer to as there cooking bible.

Will this app help me to cook and eat better? Most likely. It has over 2,000 recipes and 400 illustrations. Every single recipe and variation by Mark Bittman that are in the book can be found in the app. The recipes are in depth and the collection inspiring. Click on a recipe and instantly view how many times its been liked by other app users with a big blue thumbs up, as well as time it takes to cook, variations on the theme and an overview of the dish.  There are sections here specifically designed for “lessmeatatrians”, those in a rush and those who would like some recipe inspiration.

Look and Feel: This app doesn’t lead with graphics. Its a lot of writing with no accompanying photos. Considering the platform that I am viewing this app on, it would be nice to see the app  making the most of its environment with stunning photos and visuals.  As they say, a picture says 1,000 words.  The feel of this app is that it’s a book that is now an app with some cool features thrown in. It lacks wow factor visually and is better suited for the readers amongst us.

Usability: There is so much going on with Mark Bittman’s app that at first I was  a little lost whilst learning how to negotiate my way through it. There is just so much happening that it does take a little getting used to. Unlike a book that starts beneath the front cover, with the app you can tap your way all over the place and since there is so much in here I wasn’t sure where to start. Its practicality lies when you have a food question gnawing away at you. What should I cook for dinner? I have all these zucchini, what should I do with them? How do I make a mayonnaise? The answers are definitely within this app as well as a multitude of variations to keep you entertained.

Functions: This is what sold me on this app. The functions are seriously cool. I’m still a little lost without  pictures, but the functions do make up for it.  Under Mark Bittman’s own special picks you have recipe inspirations with titles like 22 perfect picnic salads, 10 soups to eat hot or cold or 12 classic pasta dishes.

Not sure what to cook and need a little help? The search function allows you to enter your key ingredients say chicken and leafy greens, what cooking technique you would like to use, like  steaming  or roasting, and what flavors you would like to see in the recipe ~ maybe Spanish or Asian. Using your search parameters, the app then finds the closet recipe match to your cooking conundrum. I don’t know any cookbook that can do that! The app is also available in metric or imperial measures, has a shopping list functionality and comes with a handy built in timer in the recipe. if the recipe instructs  you to bake for 30 minutes, Tap on the 30 minutes and the timer starts to count down for you. Handy!

The home screen consists of the following tabs

Browse recipes

Tap on this tab and you are taken to a comprehensive break down of recipe groups. From poultry to eggs, breakfast and dairy through to desserts and salads . These sub sections are then broken up again into sub sub sections  like essential recipes and more precise recipe groupings.

Kitchen basics

This tab is like your ‘how to’ section with kitchen equipment lists, basic  cooking techniques explained and ingredient list explanation. the ingredients are explained simply and accessibly and also includes tip on buying, storing and preparing. There’s also handy ingredient substitutions which is one of my favorite aspects of Mark Bittman’s writing.

Mark Bittman’s picks

Mark gives his Top 100 recipes for his prescribed essentials, fast recipes, make -ahead recipes and vegetarian recipes in case you were having trouble deciding what to cook. Not sure whether this comprehension section would answer that question though as the options are endless!

Most popular

This is a great section as the most popular recipes are chosen by the readers and users of this app. If you like a recipe then you are welcome to give it a big blue thumps up and you can view what everyone else finds useful and tasty too.

Quick dinners

These meals are 30 minutes and under.. ready, set, GO!

How to

Tap on this tab and be taken to a screen of black and white illustrations where you can click on a picture and be taught how to core an apple, make tortellini, Remove fins from a fish or string a pea.  Once again photos would have been nice here despite a very through written explanation.

Search

As explained above, the search function of this app is very handy, provided of course that there is a recipe amongst the 2,000+ that fits your search parameters. I had to challenge the “How to cook everything” by searching for Sea urchin recipes, a delicacy where I’m from but not one that fits into what Mark Bittman describes is the ‘how to cook everything’ basic cookbook. Sadly, there was no recipe for sea urchin to be found. A slightly esoteric search but had to see if sea urchin was there. It would’ve been interesting to see what recipes this app would’ve brought forward.

Overall: If you liked the book, you can now carry it anywhere you go. If you haven’t got the book, this is a nice way to introduce yourself at the Mark  Bittman party. It’s full of lovely, tried and true recipes that have made Mark Bittman a household name. My only nag is the lack of graphics, but I am a visual learner so prefer things with pretty pictures. It’s a serious cookbook for hungry people and will be a welcome addition to your “cookapp” library.

Keep an eye out for: Mark Bittman Vegetarian How to Cook Everything and Mark Bittman Video and cooking channel coming to a computer near you soon!

Want more Food app reviews? Check out the review for Poh’s Kitchen here.

Win your own copy of the Mark Bittman How to cook Everything app here!

The Internet Chef in association with Culinate is giving away 5 copies of the Mark Bittman Food App  How to Cook everything  for Iphone, Ipad or Ipod touch by Simply telling us below what your favorite go to meal is when your in  a hurry,  you go in  the draw to win!

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92 Comments

  1. Christina said…

    Lately the go to meal in a hurry at our house is fish from the freezer, quick thawed under cold running water, then roasted in the oven. Rice in the rice cooker and salad!

  2. Dustin said…

    Go to meal is 90% lean burgers with grilled vidalia onions.

  3. Susan said…

    quickest go-to meal is frozen organic wild mushroom ravioli sauced with a jar of our lovely homemade pasta sauce made last summer from our own tomatoes. Add a side salad and some bread and call it dinner.

  4. Diane Chua said…

    My favorite go to meal in a hurry is spaghetti with meat sauce.

  5. stephanita said…

    My fav is frittata utilizes leftovers and always different!

  6. rachel m said…

    eggs and salsa :)

  7. Franko said…

    pasta, tossed with chopped baby spinach, a handful or two of gruyere, and a dash of nutmeg.

  8. Ryan said…

    Chorizo-Potato soft tacos with guacamole!

  9. Ada F. said…

    My go to meal is anchovy pasta. Heat olive oil, add rec chili flakes andmash lots of anchovies in, add spaghetti or any kind of long pasta and a cup of past water. Toss with loads of parsley, breadcrumbs and parm. Yum!

  10. Mike said…

    hummus in a pita with any raw vegetables around and a piece of fruit.

  11. Jackie said…

    Chicken and broccoli stir fry.

  12. Yokeko said…

    Salmon du jour!

  13. Gillian said…

    Breakfast for Dinner is the best! A "clean the fridge" omlette -- one night roasted red peppers and leftover flank steak, another sauteed spinach, bacon and feta. Everyone loves them, no trip to the store AND it uses up the leftovers -- a closed loop system for dinner :)!

  14. elizagirl said…

    My go to meal is always ratatouille, loaded with veggies, which I roast in the oven to concentrate their flavors and to get rid of the some of the wateriness. Mix with onions, tomatoes, and garlic that have been cooked down on the stovetop; add in some briney black olives and some thyme — served on a bed of polenta — mmmm, makes my mouth water just thinking about it! OK, so it's probably not the quickest dish to make, but when I make it I tend to make enough for about a week's worth of meals, making it an easy "go to". And so tasty, and good for you!

  15. Catherine said…

    Pasta with pesto that I made this summer and froze.

  16. Jennifer said…

    Chicken scallopini is my go to… super fast and I always have the ingredients in the house.

  17. lozza said…

    Farm fresh eggs soft scrambled in olive oil, topped with sea salt, cracked pepper and a drizzle of white truffle oil. You can make it really smart by adding some goat cheese and chopped chives or sauteed mushrooms and spinach ( if you have them in the house). Delish on a slice of toasted rustic bread. Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner!

  18. Amy said…

    Pasta -- whole wheat spaghetti topped with a mix of whatever I have on hand -- caramelized onions, sometimes bacon or sausage, fennel or any other vegetable I have that would go, olive oil, and Romano cheese.

  19. Jessica said…

    My go-to weekday meal takes 30-40 minutes and is 1) a salad with lots of market greens, toss in apples, walnuts, golden raisins, goat cheese and Bittman's recipe for basic vinaigrette (http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/recipe-of-the-day-basic-vinaigrette), 2) quinoa with black bean, corn, scallion, red onion, lime-cumin-evoo OR with seasonal roasted veggies (cauliflower, sprouts, whatever is at the market) and a handful of nuts, 3) side of blanched spinach or roasted mushrooms. I'm always in a hurry and eat mostly vegetarian on the weekdays, so I need more ideas!

  20. Jessica said…

    My go-to weekday meal takes 30-40 minutes and is 1) a salad with lots of market greens, toss in apples, walnuts, golden raisins, goat cheese and Bittman's recipe for basic vinaigrette (http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/07/recipe-of-the-day-basic-vinaigrette), 2) quinoa with black bean, corn, scallion, red onion, lime-cumin-evoo OR with seasonal roasted veggies (cauliflower, sprouts, whatever is at the market) and a handful of nuts, 3) side of blanched spinach or roasted mushrooms. I'm always in a hurry and eat mostly vegetarian on the weekdays, so I need more ideas!

  21. L Takawolffie said…

    Our go-to meal is a saute of lots of kale with sausage served with starch of choice (rice, bread, or potato).

  22. Julie Rae said…

    Our go-to is one of Mark's favorites: stir-fry! There are so many different combintions of flavors and ingredients that it never gets old. On one of these particularly cold evenings we've been having lately, I love some lean chili and a baked potato!

  23. Kenya said…

    My go to meal is eggs over easy and toast.

  24. Jennifer said…

    Any whole wheat pasta or quinoa with any chopped seasonal green veg (currently kale or chard!), sautéed with a little garlic/onion/EVOO, some lentils cooked in stock, and whatever other veggies I have on hand thrown in. Little drizzle of oil at the end, little sprinkle of parmegiano-reggiano, some grinds of black pepper and I’m GOOD to go

  25. sailcocktail said…

    Seared sea scallops on couscous.

  26. Patria said…

    I literally learned about many of this, but however, I still thought it had been beneficial. Nice work!

  27. prettyPeas said…

    Spaghetti with garlic fried in olive oil and topped with a fried egg, pepper, pecorino romano and parmesan. The whole thing can be cooked in the time it takes to make spaghetti and the sum of the parts is more than you'd expect from the ingredient list.

  28. Margaret said…

    Our family go-to meal is a quick homemade pizza. Just throw the veggies that you've got left over in your fridge, some cheese and tomato paste and you've got a great pizza. The dough is super easy!

  29. Catherine said…

    I'll cook whatever I happen to have in the fridge or pantry: fresh pasta, japanese noodles, polenta, kasha… Saute a few veggies like baby bok choy or kale, and whip up dressing for a green salad with pecans and or feta/blue cheese. Voila! A healthy meal in a pinch.

  30. Grimalkin said…

    our go to meal: frittatta using whatever meat & veg. leftovers happen to be on hand, topped with parmesian. easy, tasty & pretty healthy.

  31. Josh said…

    Hamburgers cooked americas test kitchen way

  32. Elizabeth said…

    Quiche, with a simple homemade crust if we’re feeling fancy. Just some eggs, cheese, milk or 1/2 & 1/2, and whatever vegetable odds and ends we have handy. Always delicious, especially for breakfast the next morning.

  33. Sharon Loor said…

    Fav go to meal. Toasted Whole wheat English muffin, egg, whatever slice of cheese I have. Five minutes prep. Yum!

  34. Elizabeth said…

    My favorite go-to meal is quiche. I make 2 at a time and pop one in the freezer for the following week.
    More whites than yolks, skim milk, plenty of cheese and so many veggies (broc, spinach, or kale, sometimes corn) that it practically stands up on its own!

  35. Sharon C said…

    Good quality instant ramen noodles with poached egg and scallion Ginger sauce stirred in for extra flavor!

  36. Tina said…

    My go to meal is Chicken Soup!!

  37. Sarah said…

    I often make a big salad. Sometimes I add meat if I have something I can cook quickly. Usually I serve it with vinaigrette.

  38. Jennifer said…

    Whole wheat pasta tossed with spinach, onion, garlic, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes and chicken. It's ready in 15 minutes.

  39. cara said…

    best quick snack: dry-roast some sliced almonds, then add some olive oil and chili flakes and turn a julienned/matchsticked zucchini quickly through the lot. DELICIOUS.

  40. Chrissy K said…

    Mock duck holy basil fried rice! Quick and easy.

  41. Marlene Hutchison said…

    Butternut squash risotto! I can’t tell you how many times I have made this over the past 6 months.

  42. Pancake soup. I usually have some thin pancakes in the freezer, so it’s ready to eat in five minutes.

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With 20+ years working in commercial kitchens, I’m here to share with you some of the best secrets of the trade to help you cook better, faster and to eat well. You will surprise a lot of family & friends when you give some of my recipes a try.

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