As the holiday season kicks into full swing, the chances of you needing recipes for anything from cookies to making a killer smoked turkey have likely increased. One of the best apps out there for this is Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List for Windows Phone. The app, brought to you by Epicurious.com, gives you not only holiday related recipes but great meal, desert and cocktail ideas throughout the year. If you are not familiar with the website, Epicurious brings you recipes and cooking ideas from fellow “foodies”. It is a great site and is essentially driven by users and their feedback. If you haven’t check it out you need to do so as this app is simply an extension of the site.
To use the Epicurious app you will need to make sure you have about 6MB of storage space available on your Windows Phone. You do not necessarily have to be running Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) to use this app. To use the app you will also need data access via 3G or WiFi as this app is essentially a wrapper for the Epicurious website. The app itself is free and in the Marketplace. Once you start the app you will first be brought to the recipes type page. Here you will see a listing of the various categories of recipes that are in the app. Since I’m doing this review in December you will see a lot of recipes that are holiday – both Christmas and Hanukkah – related but as you scroll down this list you will see non-holiday meal types from sides to entrees. It is a complete app in this since and given that it is continually being updated on the web, you can expect the content to change as we pass through the seasons.
If you swipe to the right you will see the recipes you have stored as your favorites – more on this later. Swipe to the right again and you will see your shopping list and the recipes that make up that list. Again, I’ll go into more detail on this later in the review. Finally you have a Last Viewed page which brings up the last view things that you have viewed within the app.
If you notice in the top right corner there is also a search function available in the Epicurious app. This is a really powerful search tool. Essentially you can do two types of searches. You can do a term search such as “bread pudding” and it will return to you the recipes for bread pudding. The other type of search is using the icons to highlight the things that you want in the recipe and have the app return the recipes that match that search. So lets say you want to search for a recipe that includes eggs and yogurt. Tap to highlight those items then press the view button at the bottom of the page and you will see all the recipes that contain both eggs and yogurt. This is really handy because it gives you ideas for what you have on hand without having to try to figure out with what you can make. The app gives you ideas.
Going back to the Recipes Listing, tap on a category that you are interested in then you will get a listing of recipes related to that type. I selected Christmas Cookies (because I’m a big fan!) and I now have listing of a wide range of Christmas Cookies recipes that I can make. I can then tap on a recipe and get an overview of that type of cookie.
The Overview page gives you information such as how much the recipe will make as well as helpful notes on how to prepare the dish. On the menu below you have three options available. You can tap the Favorites icon which will add it to your favorites page that I mentioned above. The second option is your shopping list which adds this recipe to you shopping list (you can see that on the Shopping List page of the app).
Finally, you can share a recipe you have found via email with the Share button. The great thing on the sharing is that the email sent contains the URL for the recipe on the Epicurious site. That means you can share it with anyone, not just those who happen to use this app on Windows Phone.
If you swipe to the right on a recipe you will see the ingredients for the recipe (which will include equipment needed) and swipe to the right again and you will see the preparation instructions. A final swipe will bring you to user reviews of that recipe. To review a recipe yourself you will have to do this on the Epicurious website as you can’t review from within the app itself. It would be good to see them add this functionality to a future build of the app but for now, this is how you would enter in your own review.
Overall the Epicurious app is a great app for finding those both traditional and not-so traditional recipes. Because it is tied in directly with the website there are quite literally thousands of recipes available to you on your Windows Phone. One improvement I would like to see is the ability to add reviews of a recipe directly from within the app. This to me seems very logical.
Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List is free in the Marketplace