Hey, let's use Urban Spoon to pick a restaurant to go to.
Nah, I want to cook tonight. Let's use DinnerSpinner!
DinnerSpinner is an app based on the same idea as Urban Spoon. It let's you spin (or shake the iPhone) to choose various criteria to match recipes. You can match recipes based on three categories: dish type (main course, bread, cookies, dessert, etc), ingredients (beef, chocolate, fruit, legumes, etc), and preparation time (less than 20 minutes, slow cooker, over an hour, etc). Based on the criteria you "spin" (or select manually) you will get a variety of matching recipes to look through.
Now, before I go any further, yes, sometimes you may get something like "slow cooking cookies made with beef" - and you won't get any matches.
So once you get your matches (in my example, I am using desserts with fruit in 45 minutes or less) you then hit the button to see your recipe matches. In my example, I got 45 matching recipes. You are taken to a page that shows the recipe name, the reviews (presumably from Allrecipes.com), who submitted the recipe, and a quick, two or three sentence description of the recipe. It also shows a picture of the recipe, which can be nice. To go to the next option, just swipe the screen.
Note, recipes are not exclusive. In my example, I got many recipes that were cookies, even though I had chosen dessert (not cookies) as the dish type. I also got recipes that included chocolate as a ingredient - so recipes are cross listed, which is nice to know.
If you see a recipe you like, you can choose to send it to someone via email (with the share button). You can also click on the "view recipe/reviews" to see the recipe or read the reviews. I like the fact they have various reviews of the recipe - you can read what other people thought about it.
The recipe itself includes a list of ingredients, the "summary" you read when scanning the recipes, how many servings and how long it takes, and the directions for cooking. Since the recipes are submitted by people, my guess is that the quality of directions may vary somewhat. You also get the nutritional information, and the "file" ends with some of the reviews of the recipe. If you want to read more that the first ten reviews, or you want to browse more recipes, there is a button at the bottom of the page to go to Allrecipes.com directly.
Please note, you are accessing the internet when using this app, so you need to have a data connection - the recipes are not downloaded onto your phone until you look at it. I am not sure how many recipes are found at AllRecipes.com, but in what I thought was an obscure category (bread made with veggies in 45 minutes or less) I found 20 recipes, so my guess is there are a fair number of options.
Some problems with the app. First of all, you can't "lock in" a category. If you want to cook dinner, for example, you might want to lock in "main course" as the dish type. Or if you have a pound of ground beef, you might want to lock in "beef" as an ingredient.
Also, you can't choose multiple items within a category. For example, you can't look at main courses made with fish or pork, it is only one or the other. Lastly, there is no way to simply browse through all the recipes (either in all groups, or within a category - browsing all pork recipes, for example). IMO, these are pretty important things for a cook book or recipe bank to allow. The concept of "spinning" is fun to play with, but a really useful cookbook should allow these various changes.
- Fun way to approach a cookbook,
- lots of recipes available
- No ability to limit options or to choose multiple options
All in all, I think this is sort of a fun app to use. It adds a little variety and fun to choosing a recipe to use, although I really think being able to "lock" a category is essential. There are a wide range of choices for the categories, so you can be very specific (if you want) about what you want to cook. This app is free, so if it is something you think you might want to try, give it a shot!
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[AllRecipes.com DinnerSpinner is available from the iTunes App Store.]