Once again, the Accidental Locavore has been asked to judge Toque magazine's second annual Food & Drink App Awards. It's a fun way to get acquainted with a bunch of (very) different apps, that I might not otherwise search out.
Because this is the second year I've done this, there is a pretty good collection of apps (thanks, Toque!), almost all of which are still in residence on my iPhone. As I was looking at one of the submissions, it occurred to me that cleaning out some of the stragglers would be a good idea. It also made me realize that even the good apps, I almost never use. Which is not to say that I don't use apps; there are several wonderful ones I would be desolate without. Here's the rub -- not one of them is a food (or drink) app.
Why do you think that is? And are you the same? There are a few reasons. To begin with, I tend to look recipes up on the Internet, and if it's not something I've already saved to my recipe file on the cloud (Dropbox--a must-have app!). The Internet has a couple of big advantages over apps. First it's much more comprehensive. For example, an app I was reviewing had a recipe for plum pudding (a Christmas must-have at my mother's house) which looked interesting. I Googled "plum pudding recipes" and came up with "About 1,490,000 results (0.34 seconds)." Since this particular app was very video-centric, even though I rarely watch the videos with apps, in the spirit of fair play, I also Googled "plum pudding videos" and came up with almost as many videos for making pud (as its referred at Mom's). So, plenty to choose from.
Another issue, is that you never really know how accurate or reliable the recipes on these apps are. Many of the ones submitted to Toque are translated from other languages, some more successfully than others. Steps are often missing and/or lost in translation; the same with ingredients. Any of my savvy readers know how to get their hands on some sheep's tail fat, for example?
The other reason I don't use a lot of these food apps is because, quite frankly, I forget they're there. There are now close to two dozen apps on my phone that are either shopping lists or have a shopping list feature. So what do I use for shopping lists? The note pad that comes standard on my iPhone. It may not be elegant, but it's easy and I can keep track of what's needed for two separate houses and keep a running tally for the next Costco trip.
List making or tracking is actually what I do use food apps for, when I use them. There's Oysterpedia that I occasionally use to keep track of oysters I've particularly like (however, when they have crazy names like Naked Cowboy, it's pretty easy to remember, sans app). And Fromage is useful for remembering cheeses. The trouble with them is they're only as good as what you put into them and that kind of ruins the pleasure of eating (or drinking in the case of the wine or liquor apps), doesn't it?
Do you use food and drink apps? Which ones and what for? Let me know in the comments. And be sure to check out Toque on December 6th to see which apps are the winners.