I’m devious. Mean. Cruel, even. I waited until just three days before Christmas to post this because, well, I want to be a hero. Your hero. Just when any silly thing remotely related to cooking on Amazon was looking good–especially if you have a Prime account—I spring this incredibly useful and elegant gift app on you. Cookbook Finder by Boston Globe cookbook reviewer and frequent NPR contributor T. Susan Chang trumps anything on Amazon right now for tons of reasons. But most important (and the reason that will forever hold me in your highest esteem) is that with one click of a button, you’ll have a truly meaningful gift for any food-obsessed friend or family member. Between us, I wish The One was living in at least the 20th century and knew how to use apps, because I’d gift this to him. (Yes, I’m still frantically trying to find that last stocking stuffer gift.)
Each cookbook entry—of which there are hundreds—begins with a short but info-packed introduction to the book highlighting its best assets. But it’s what follows that sets this app apart from just about any other cookbook database out there. Chang includes a crucial 1-to-5 scoring list to help you decide whether the cookbook is for you–or that incredibly-hard-to-please almost-husband of yours. For example, she offers insights into its skill level, how new the volume is, its gift worthiness, and whether it’s a keeper. If that weren’t enough, she goes on to offer info about sample recipes, page design, recipe speed, recipe yield, ingredient availability, special equipment needs, and measurement format, among others. And once you’re convinced a book is for you, links to Amazon as well as independent booksellers are at your fingertips.
But what I like most about Cookbook Finder? It’s frequently updated to include the newest cookbooks out there. In fact, in the most recent update, Chang included her top ten cookbooks of 2013. So while you’ll be clicking the “Send Gift” button on this app today, I’ll be at the Danbury Mall, rifling through racks of unwanted sale sweaters, shelves of stupid mugs, and bins of too-sexy-for-a-56-year-old underwear. Bah humbug.
Cookbook Finder is available in the iTunes Store for $2.99. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is also optimized for the iPhone 5. Click here to learn how to gift an app to someone from your computer or iOS device.