In the few years I’ve been downloading food-related apps, I’ve watched them develop from mere recipe archives and grocery-aisle guides to fully interactive media experiences that — dare I say it — outshine the printed page.
I still take pleasure in opening a food-stained cookbook; I’m just happy to have greater access at my fingertips.
The apps listed here, in alphabetical order, represent the best of what I’ve seen this year.
Free on the iPhone; coming soon to the Android and BlackBerry
Ever wondered where your local chefs like to eat out? In this app, more than 100 chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller, Michael Mina and Art Smith dish on their favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Info for Washington and four other cities is in the works. You can also follow the chefs’ Twitter feeds, enhancing the potential for celebrity chef spotting.
Free for iPhone; more than 1,200 recipes
Slick and simple yet sophisticated, this one comes from the folks at Drinks999.co.uk. A range of concoctions, from easy and traditional to more complex and innovative.
$1.99 on the iPhone; more than 40 species of fish
Step away from YouTube: This app shows you how to choose and prepare varieties of fish from cod and salmon to barracuda and sturgeon. No recipes, though.
Free on the iPhone and Android; more than 200,000 foods
Open the app and point your camera at the bar code of the food item you’re interested in; within a few seconds, the app has provided you with the item’s nutritional information; listed warnings, such as “contains controversial artificial sweeteners”; and rated the product’s healthfulness.
$9.99 on the iPad; 75 seasonal recipes
You’ll find that the smartly edited recipe collection, menu ideas and cooking tips will be a year-round, go-to resource.
$4.99 on the iPhone or iPad; 180 recipes
Marcus Wareing, Tom Aikens and 10 other chefs (with 15 Michelin stars among them) guide you through some of their favorite menus. One of the app’s great features is its voice-controlled page turner. Speak into the app to move things along. Who needs Siri?
Free and pay-per-use on the iPhone and iPad; six free “taster packs” of 72 recipes
Superstar chef Jamie Oliver follows up his 20 Minute Meals, undoubtedly one of the best cooking apps on the market. Videos and basic-skills tips help fulfill Oliver’s promise “to hand-hold and guide you to some of the best cooking you’ve ever done.”
There’s one catch. The app’s basics are free, but to supplement its collection of recipes and videos, you need to buy “taster packs”: 10-recipe collections whose titles include “Fast Food, Slow-Cooking” and “Classic Comfort Food,” priced at $1.99 to $2.99.
$3.99 on the iPad; 100 recipes
Private chef by night, app entrepreneur by day, Matt Shields lends his culinary expertise to a selection of dishes that can invoke memories and create new favorites, such as Oven Fried Chicken With Buttermilk Biscuits and Red Chili Glazed Cod. Recipes are accompanied by stunning images shot by his childhood friend, Matt Furman. The app makes it easy to add ingredients to your grocery shopping list.
$4.99 on the iPhone and iPad; 60-plus recipes
This might replace the cookbook you keep by the bedside for inspiration. It presents recipes with artistic flair, akin to slot-machine reels.
Free on the Android, iPhone and BlackBerry; delivery options in more than 25 U.S. cities, including Washington
One of the most frustrating things about ordering food online is having to navigate restaurant Web sites. This comprehensive delivery database allows you to create an account, find a restaurant and place an order — without the fuss.
Warnick, a Washington food writer, blogs about food for EndlessSimmer.com and CityEats.com. He’ll join today’s Free Range chat at noon: live.washingtonpost.com.