My favorite cooking apps for urban camping

by CountryFriedMama on August 16, 2011

We moved into our new home yesterday — not a house exactly, but home for the next year. By city standards, it is probably on the large side. By suburban standards, it seems kind of like a camp cabin. The dark wood paneling in every tiny room and the faint musty smell contribute to that impression, as does the absence of almost everything we own.

Our cupboards, drawers and closets are full of someone else’s stuff. Everything is labeled with Post-It notes. Put spoons upside down in dishwasher, reads a note in the silverware drawer. Use wall switch for lamp, commands a note on The Belle’s bedroom wall. Do not touch the wires on the DVD player, warns a note in a thick binder full of other instructions.

There are lots of rules at this camp.

As Country-Fried Daddy and I carried boxes of clothes and toys up the stairs into our cabin/home yesterday afternoon, The Belle asked, Is this the hotel?

No, baby. It’s camp. Urban camp.

In the last 36 hours, we have run all over our new neighborhood surveying the 16 different kinds of cuisine we can eat within one block of our cabin/home. We’ve had time to check out the nearby playgrounds and the routes to school. I caught a glimpse of a funky consignment shop I plan to visit As Soon As Possible. I imagine we’ll spend most of our time outside our city cabin this year, but making it feel like home is still a priority.

Claiming the kitchen is my first step toward achieving that goal. I thought that could get challenging, given that our cookbooks are locked in a giant metal box in a warehouse in Alabama. Thankfully, there are smartphones, the grandest invention of all time.

Mine is now equipped with the following apps., which I hope will guide us through a year of pseudo-camping without having to resort to roasting weiners over a bonfire in our cramped living room.

For the cook who is camping (urban style), I recommend these free apps.:

Whole Foods Market Recipes: I like this one whether I’m home or camping or home/camping. The idea behind it seems to be good, fresh ingredients prepared simply, which I like.

AllRecipes Dinner Spinner: This one comes in handy when you have an ingredient and you don’t know what to do with it. Search by a specific food, or choose a meal category, an ingredient category, and your timeframe for preparation and see what pops up.

Foodspotting: Technically, this is not a recipe app. It’s kind of like foursquare for food. Foodspotting identifies your location, then pushes you pictures of dishes on menus in nearby restaurants. The photos are taken and uploaded by users. There are also links here to restaurant guides, reviews, etc.

Foodgawker: The tagline of this app. is “feed your eyes.” Food bloggers upload gorgeous pictures of their creations. When you click on them, the app sends you to the original posts with recipes. I imagine you could do similar visual searches with Pinterest, assuming you could every get that app. to work correctly on your phone (which I cannot seem to do).

Cook’s Illustrated: My aunt gave me a subscription to this magazine when CFD and I got married. It’s a great read — full of explanations about why one technique or ingredient works better in a recipe over all others. I still get the magazine, but only recently found the app. There’s a paid version that will give you greater access, but the freebie is pretty good, too. It includes recipes, as well as taste test results of competing brands and a shopping list tool (for campers who forgot to pack paper).

While this might be camp, it is not vacation, and we will have to cook once in awhile this year. Hooray for easy-to-pack apps.

What’s your favorite foodie app.?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy @ Roving Lemon’s Big Adventure
Twitter: rovinglemon
August 17, 2011 at 6:54 am

I love Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything app–it’s not free, but I got some ridiculously good deal on it which may still be available. Full of inspirational ideas. The Epicurious app (which *is* free) is also pretty excellent. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures back in the northeast!


Country-Fried Mama
Twitter: countryfried
August 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I left my How To Cook Everything (40-pound hardback version) in Alabama, and I was pretty sad about that. And yet, I am morally opposed to spending money on apps. Hmm. It’s a dilemma. But I’m downloading Epicurious now. Thanks!


bubbe August 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Great ideas for apps. thank you!

the sticky notes indicate control freak, obviously.


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