Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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As a fan of cookery and technology, I regularly take my iPad in the kitchen with me while I try out new recipes. It means I don't have to waste time printing out recipes from the internet, and I don't have to find the space to put my laptop. However, finding somewhere to store all these great recipes is a tough job. My makeshift solution of emailing myself links isn't a great permanent resource for recipes. HotPot Recipe Manager aims to solve all that by providing a place to put all these recipes in their own home, in a form of smart cookbook. It might have its problems but it's a great starting point.
The key feature for HotPot Recipe Manager is the ability to grab recipes from any website, thus adding it to the user's cookbook for safe keeping and offline viewing. It's simple to do: load up a relevant link within the app then tap the scan button. The app then does mostly everything else that's required. It scans everything from the name of the recipe to a photo, ingredients and instructions. Timings are also saved, which can then be used later on as a timer mid way through cooking. It sounds like a fantastic way of saving time and it very nearly is.
When working well, a recipe takes seconds to transfer and be saved to the user's cookbook. The problem lies in the inconsistency. I tested it with multiple recipes and I'd say a good 70% were scanned correctly. Others lacked certain details. Sometimes it was just a photo which I was fine to do without, other times it was the instructions that were missed out. In one case, all that was saved was a bunch of code from the website.
When one of these problem links arise, there is a backup solution in the form of bookmarking the link for further reference but it's not quite as convenient as being able to save directly to the cookbook.
Certain sites are more likely to transfer across. HotPot Recipe Manager comes with links to many popular recipe sites such as BBC Food, Food Network and Allrecipes already on its Bookmarks list. Surprisingly, I found one recipe on Food Network that didn't scan correctly but other than that, these sites were great resources for discovering new and exciting meal ideas.
HotPot Recipe Manager doesn't rely on one trick either. The timer function works well and there's also a shopping list section and the ability to switch between imperial or metric measurement system.
The scanning in feature might not be fool proof but it is a fantastic idea. When it works, it saves avid chefs a huge amount of time compared to inputting data manually. Rarely does it fail to the point that the user has to input everything to do with the recipe. It's usually more of a matter of entering a few details manually.
As a place to store numerous digital based recipes, HotPot Recipe Manager is the kind of app that will only ever get better, the more it's used and the more recipes are collected. I know I'm looking forward to eventually having hundreds of different ideas stored on there.