Cooklet was a big winner at the AppCircus at BlackBerry Jam earlier this month in Orlando Florida –and with good reason. Winning for application in the Adobe AIR category, the Cooklet application for the BlackBerry PlayBook has been downloaded nearly half a million times since October 2011. Now it does provide countless savory recipes to try out, but it’s also an access point to a vast number of foodies with whom you can chat and share ideas for your next meal. It only makes sense, as people typically love to include food (preparation and consumption) and socializing. I’m seeing a trend, where getting together over a nice meal is slowly moving away from restaurants and more towards gathering around the dinner table at home. Recipes are swapped, critiqued and everyone goes home filled with fun and food. With the Cooklet application, the same can be had by asking someone to pass the Playbook, rather than the salt. Let’s get cooking, shall we?
The Cooklet application is a portal to a rapidly expanding and resourceful community of food lovers with varying skill sets. From head chefs to PB and J champions, everyone comes together to pass around recipes-like friends and family at a feast. With our second one coming in less than two weeks, I need to brush up on my culinary skills in order to help out; I can’t rely on my grill skills alone.
It’s not just the recipes you have so readily available either, the app has equally fantastic shopping lists, unit conversion, interactive instructions and more. We will, of course, will look at these as we go.
No matter what you needs are in a cooking app, Cooklet will handle pretty much everything, with the exception of feeding you. Sorry friend, you’ll have to handle that one yourself.
In order to get the full experience of Cooklet, you should do two things. The first is turn on WiFi, so that you can actually use the app, the second is registering for a free account (which you could do from within the app). Almost all account management, such as your bio, image/avatar and location or adding recipes, have to be done from the Cooklet website. By signing into your account, you can access your favorites from your friends, fellow Cooklet users or stuff you made yourself.
As far as settings go, you only have to worry about which language you want to use. Currently, only English and Polish are available.
Cooklet is equipped with an ever-present drop down menu to take you where you want to go. Two of the options, Inspirations and Quick Pick are also made available from the Main Menu; along with Recently Added and Best Rated. Both recently Added and Best Rated will initially display 5 recipes, along with any available image. Clicking on the More button takes you to another screen with, you guessed it, more results. On this new screen, you will notice that you have even more sorting options to make use of, such as sorting by; Relevancy, Rating, Difficulty, Time, Active Time, Date added and Name. Now what I also like about this screen is that each Recipe will tell you how many other users attempted it –just in case you were afraid of trying something new.
Now if you have more of an adventurous palette, you may want to look at the inspirations search option. On the main menu, you simply scroll through a slide show of images. Once an image puts your salivating into overdrive, tap away to get into the recipe. If you want to go crazy, I mean really crazy, select Inspirations from the drop down menu. Now you have 4 rows of images to scroll through simultaneously – perhaps to help you select recipes for a four course meal. That or sensory overload.
Maybe you are in a rush to get food on the table, especially true if you have a busy family with an even busier schedule. If that’s the case, the Quick Pick option is probably for you. You choose what which type of meal you want to prepare, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Supper (Yes, apparently there is a difference) and how much time it should take (5 minute intervals between 5 and 60 minutes). Cooklet will then display 5 options to choose from, how simple is that? Sure beats scarfing down on cereal for dinner.
Recipe cards are divided into two sections. If a recipe card is complete, you should see an image, name, star rating and author on the left side- along with the prep time and difficulty level. The right side will show the ingredients, measurements for each and instructions. Also on the page are three buttons, which allow you to add the recipe to your list of favourites, add ingredients to your shopping list (we’ll look at that in a bit) and to start cooking.
This is where things really cook, pardon the pun. As you would probably see on most cooking apps, you have step by step instructions you have to scroll or tap through. The problem with this is that your hands may be covered in food; resulting in a very messy, and probably void of warranty, tablet. Yes Cooklet has tap for next step option, but it does have something really cool. At the bottom of the screen is a motion sensor active button. This activates touchless navigation!
Cooklet utilizes your front facing camera. When you’re ready to go to the next step, you place your palm so that it’s in the centre of the camera screen section. You then drag your hand left or right to skip through the steps- I got it working for me when my hand was a foot or two away, perfect for well lit table tops. Alternatively, and in order to look like a moron, you could use your head as well…not that I tried or anything.
Once you’ve added the ingredients you need to get, it will be time to open up your Shopping list. There are three ways that you can view the list; you can view ingredients by recipe (in case you want to grab just enough for a meal or two), by category (so you can shop aisle by aisle), or alphabetically. If you chose by recipe, Cooklet has a neat feature where you can increase or decrease the portion size in Recipe view, all the while calculating how much of each ingredient you need for you.
A legend is displayed, so you know the status of each ingredient and what you can do with them. As you shop, you can change the status from “To buy” to “I have it”, edit the ingredients to manually change the units of measurements or quantity or delete them from the list. If you want to add your own twist to a recipe, you are able to add an ingredient of your own.
Curious to see how many grams 2 cups of butter convert to? Would you rather measure 16 ounces of water as 92.03 tea spoons (have fun with that one)? The unit converter gives you the option to see various units of measurement for water, potato flour, butter, sugar, salt or olive oil. Choose the unit you want as the basis and the value/amount and voila.
The multitimer can handle up to three different timers, perfect for a 3 course meal or dealing with multiple ingredients. You can choose the time (hours, minutes and seconds) and a name for each timer. The timers are animated to mimic a flip clock. When a timer reaches zero, if you have the sound on, you’ll hear a bell ringing. Keep in mind that there is only one type of bell, so each timer will sounds exactly the same.
This is another section where Cooklet has done well (or is it well done?). Cookbooks houses complete recipe books, as well as your favourites. An animated cookbook can be opened and actually flipped through for a quick browse. Alternatively, you can use the tag/bookmarks to access a Chapters, Index or introduction. On the website, not the app, you can login and upload images that you can use as covers for your cookbooks. On the covers you can easily see how many recipes can be found within.