Sarah Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry is a Deliciously Spontaneous Cooking App for iPad

The App Store is full of great cooking apps. Most of them are interactive recipes with some videos or recipe book apps that let you enter your own material. While most apps or even cookbooks in general take you from recipe to ingredients, Sarah Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry goes the other way around. You start with stocking your pantry with 16 core ingredients chosen by Sarah Jenkins and depending on what you have available you are shown recipes from the apps list of 95 recipes. New Italian Pantry is an impressive cooking app for your iPad.

Sarah Jenkins is all about spontaneous cooking. When you launch the app there’s an intro video that tells you a bit about her and what the app aims to be. After the video you have a very nice pantry view with nice big icons for each core ingredient along with an option to view a nice short video by William Hereford for each one. I find it annoying that these ingredient videos are hosted on YouTube as opposed to being viewable offline within the app. From here you select the ingredients you have in your pantry to view recipes matching your core ingredients. The recipes are presented to you beautifully with amazing photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell. You can view each recipe summary with a full screen photograph and swipe through them before selecting the one you want to use. Each recipe has a nice background that has something to do with the dish you are preparing and one feature I love about the app is that there are timers for each step of the recipe within the app that can be activated by tapping the timer links in the recipe. There is an easy access Timer Off button on top with another button to view the ingredients and a button to add this recipe to your favourites. There are image links for cooking terms that aren’t very common and for some parts of the recipe indicated by underlined phrases or words. You can also share what you are cooking using the Twitter or Facebook buttons on top. The landscape view has the ingredients and other buttons on the right instead. The bottom has 3 main buttons. One is the main control button represented with a pig on a windcock. Tapping this will expand it into 4 more buttons for the pantry, favourites, search and info sections. The bottom right has the current weather in Rome. The second way to use the app is by searching for an ingredient, course, season or completely through the app for recipes. The fonts used in the app look great with the food behind them.

Sarah Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry is exactly what a cooking app should be. It makes you want to cook and has great photography. The app isn’t perfect though. The intro video and some of the images used need to be higher resolution for the iPad with Retina Display. I’d also like to have an option to download the ingredient videos for offline viewing instead of having to view them online every time. Also the intro video loads each time you launch the app. There should be a setting to turn this off after the first viewing. Barring those small issues, the app is essential if you love cooking or just want to see what italian cooking is all about. Sarah Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry is available on the App Store for $3.99 for the iPad.

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