Young people starting out in life used to receive cookbooks as gifts. These days, smartphones are even replacing desktop PCs for reference duties like providing quick and handy access to recipes. Take SplashPad Mobile's Top Recipes app. It puts hundreds of recipes, menus, and cooking tips at your fingertips, everything from favorites like grilled cheese and French toast to fancy dinner entrees. You can add any recipe's ingredients to the app's Shopping List with a tap. The only fly in the soup is a modest subscription fee, 99 cents a month, though the app itself is free and comes with a free 30-day trial of the subscription service. Some of the recipes are free, too, so you can get a sense of what Top Recipes can do just by trying the free app.
Top Recipes has a clean, efficient interface with a window displaying a series of mouthwatering treats and a panel with six buttons: My Favorites, Menus, Recipes, Shopping List, Bonbon, and Share App. We started with Recipes, which are grouped in four major categories (Editor's Choice, Quick & Easy, Entertaining, and Healthy) as well as a much longer list of categories such as Breakfast, Desserts & Sweets, Baked Goods, and Grill. The nine free Editor's Choice recipes are the only ones of this app's hundreds of recipes you can view without a subscription. They have color pictures, lists of ingredients, and clear directions. We could add all or some of the ingredients to a Shopping List, save it, and call it up when we were in the store and couldn't remember what we needed. The Menus feature offers intriguing choices, but it's only for subscribers, as is the Weekly Bonbon, an e-mag offering Holiday Special Issues and extras like stories about food and drink, much like the home and recipe magazines you're familiar with.
Top Recipes has the potential to be a truly useful Android app -- not just in the kitchen but at the grocery store, too.