Setting up your first kitchen can be a daunting task, especially if your culinary expertise ends with ramen noodles in a hot pot. I’m well past the first kitchen stage, but I’m always looking for tips to make my kitchen more efficient. I turned to Chronicle Books’ app The First Real Kitchen Cookbook for iPhone and iPod Touch expecting to find a wealth of information — the name says it all right? Not quite.
The First Real Kitchen Cookbook is divided into recipes, videos and shopping. There are 10 short videos, about 45 seconds apiece, focused on topics such as leafy greens and fish basics. The presenters, cookbook authors Megan and Jill Carle, offer OK information, but ultimately the series feels awkward. I don’t want to pick on the writers, but I think nerves got in the way during filming. The production side isn’t much better with inconsistency in audio levels. The content felt unbalanced — I like cheese, but three segments seemed overkill, especially when there was nothing mentioned about poultry.
Within Recipes you’ll find 25 dishes, ranging from stir-fries to roast chicken, sorted by category (some dishes appear in multiple locations). No recipe jumped out at me as something I immediately had to go make, so I can’t speak to the delicious factor, but the selections weren’t anything I hadn’t seen before. If you find something you want to cook, you can add the ingredients directly to the app’s shopping list.
The First Real Kitchen Cookbook’s best feature is the Shop Smart section, which is a reference guide to products you’d commonly purchase. The authors have provided helpful information on how to choose a melon, when you should buy cheaper canned goods, and tips on items to avoid. The info provided here would actually be helpful to a grocery-store newbie, but that isn’t enough to merit the four-dollar purchase price.
Instead of dropping $3.99 on The First Real Kitchen Cookbook app, I’d head to Amazon for the print version, which offers more bang for your buck, with 100 recipes.