Developer: ROBOTS AND PENCILS
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★☆☆
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★☆☆
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Cookbookie is one of those apps that SHOULD be a home run straight outta the park. It’s a good, original idea with a pleasant looking interface, and above all it’s practical. This is one of those apps that I really, really want to recommend, but I just can’t right now. In cooking terms, it just ain’t done enough yet.

The premise and purpose of Cookbookie is insanely simple: enter the titles of your print cookbooks and Cookbookie will index them and make their recipes searchable by keyword, ingredient or title. Search for, say, green beans, and you’ll get a list of ALL of the recipes that contain green beans in ALL of your cookbooks. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.

In actuality, a search for green beans returns results for both “green” and “bean.” In the case of one of my cookbooks, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I got over 300 “hits” because of the number of recipes containing the word “bean.” Not exactly helpful or useful. And, it should be noted, you don’t actually see the recipes, since I assume that would violate copyright law. What you get instead is a list of the recipes and their page numbers; useful enough, if the rest of the app works as it should.

The other major problem with Cookbookie is that it just doesn’t contain that many cookbooks in its database. I found Bittman’s book, which was a surprise, and, of course, The Joy of Cooking, but there were some oddities in the mix as well. One of Ina Garten’s cookbooks was in the database, but not another. The same was true for Giada DeLarentis. I could perhaps understand this if these were small press cookbooks or niche-market chefs, but these are some of the big guns. I expect a developer to include at least those before they put their product on the marketplace.

The look and feel of Cookbookie is strong, with only a few technical issues getting in the way. The app distinguishes itself in its use of color and for its clever use of food and food implements as icons throughout. It also features links to several cooking-oriented blogs and sites, which is a nice inclusion, but I’d prefer more time spent on the core purpose of the app.

Cookbookie just needs more development time. For $4.99, I expect more polish from an app. I’m really, really hoping the developers will pour some more time into this one. I’ll happily amend my review. That’s how much I want an original concept like this to succeed.

Posted in: Books, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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