My­ron Mixon’s Cup­cake Chicken

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE -

WITH a box full of car­rots and a han­ker­ing for some­thing vaguely ex­otic, Mary-Claire van Le­unen turned to her com­puter for a recipe.

“I looked for ‘Turk­ish car­rots’ and I found it eas­ily, in fact I found half a dozen,” says the re­tired Seat­tle soft­ware re­searcher.

Ev­ery­one’s done it: fired up a search en­gine to deal with that mound of pars­ley or a bumper crop of cu­cum­bers.

But van Le­unen wasn’t ran­domly ap­peal­ing to the online uni­verse. She was search­ing the recipes in her own cook­books, the roughly 2,000 vol­umes that line her shelves. With­out ever crack­ing a sin­gle spine.

“In the past, I would have gone to the Cen­tral Asian sec­tion of my books and gone through the in­dexes,” says van Le­unen. “I would have looked in two or three cook­books, and wound up adapt­ing some­thing for fen­nel or some­thing to the car­rots.”

To­day, the online cook­book in­dex­ing ser­vice called Eat Your Books lets her in­stantly search the in­dex of nearly ev­ery cook­book she owns. When she finds the recipe she wants, the web­site tells her the book it’s in.

It’s part of a new wave of dig­i­tal tools that are chang­ing the way home cooks ex­plore new recipes, re­visit old ones and cre­ate satis-

tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing the once sim­ple cook­book. fy­ing meals.

Eat Your Books, launched nine months ago, boasts a li­brary of 88,000 books with more than 2,000 in­dexed vol­umes. Users just tell the site which cook­books they own, then they can quickly pe­ruse the recipes of the chefs and au­thors they al­ready trust.

Like­wise, the web­site Cook­str cat­a­logues recipes from more than 500 chefs and cook­book au­thors and of­fers them to users – free of charge.

And mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions and e-books, once lit­tle more than digi­tised ver­sions of cook­book con­tent, have be­gun adding fea­tures that make the ex­pe­ri­ence in­ter­ac­tive and highly per­sonal.

Cook­str of­fers roughly 8,000 recipes from 16 ma­jor cook­book pub­lish­ers. Want a chicken dish that’s spicy, re­quires only one pot and has fewer than 500 calo­ries per serv­ing? Cook­str of­fers up 16 recipes, in­clud­ing West African chicken stew and a Thai green curry.

The com­pany has ex­tended the reach of this highly per­sonal, on-de­mand ap­proach to ac­tual cook­books, pack­ag­ing the well-known 1-2-3 se­ries of three-in­gre­di­ent cook­books from award-win­ning author Rozanne Gold into 32 dif­fer­ent dig­i­tal books for iPhones and iPads. Sold through Ap­ple’s iBook­store, recipes can be pur­chased in bun­dles of 10, 50 or 250, al­low­ing buy­ers to build their own a la carte recipe col­lec­tions.

And cooks seem to be re­spond­ing to these new dig­i­tal op­tions. Cook­str has grown from 12,000 users when it launched nearly three years ago to roughly 250,000 unique vis­i­tors a month, says Cook­str chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Art Chang.

Mean­while, an­tic­i­pa­tion of the dig­i­tal din­ing rev­o­lu­tion has prompted de­sign­ers of ap­pli­ca­tions or “apps” – the pro­grams that run on mo­bile phones and tablets such as the iPad – to add fea­tures that go be­yond sim­ple in­gre­di­ent searches and shop­ping list cre­ation to el­e­ments such as “push” no­tices that send daily recipes to your de­vice, “shuf­fle” func­tions that cre­ate new menus from the same tranche of recipes, in­gre­di­ent sub­sti­tu­tion op­tions, and com­pre­hen­sive videos on tips and tech­niques.

Culi­nApp, a Hous­ton-based ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment com­pany, plans to of­fer prod­ucts that cou­ple cook­book con­tent from well­known chefs and au­thors with high-def­i­ni­tion video per­son­alised to the in­di­vid­ual user’s pref­er­ences – cook­book meets on-de­mand cook­ing show.

The com­pany’s just-re­leased first app com­bines two-dozen recipes from bak­ing ex­pert Dorie Greenspan’s best­selling cook­book Bak­ing: From My Home To Yours, with com­pre­hen­sive video of ev­ery step in ev­ery recipe.

If the new tech­nolo­gies are chang­ing the way peo­ple cook, they’re also chang­ing the way au­thors write.

Greenspan says the app al­lows her to of­fer tips and ad­vice that she couldn’t in a printed cook­book – for in­stance, demon­strat­ing what “room tem­per­a­ture” but­ter looks like (it should hold a fin­ger­print).

Greenspan says it also forced her to re­think her recipes and com­mu­ni­cate them in a dif­fer­ent way. – AP

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