I often see apps for the most common daily tasks that are ridiculously over-designed, overkilled and probably over though. Just because iOS and multitouch allow you do things you as you've never could before, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to take the Hollywood special effects road.
The Photo Cookbook - Quick and Easy [iTunes Link] by ditter.projektagentur was one of the first iPad apps that reminded me that minimalism and simplicity works great on a big tablet. While other recipe apps try to embed videos, websites, comments and ratings and event grocery lists, The Photo Cookbook takes a much simpler approach, yet being much more effective than its rivals. Imagine a set of pictures explaining how to cook a dish from scratch without too much text. Think of it as a big poster where you get the point really fast. In fact, I've seen very visual posters on fast food chains to make the cooking processes dead easy to understand.
The Photo Cookbook displays its 80 recipes on a grid that you can scroll (fun) or use the search function (effective). Wether your using portrait or landscape mode, the recipes are sorted on four columns, which are in fact the four broad categories meat, fish, vegetarian and desserts. The app displays search results on the same columns for the sake of consistency, but also uses a nice effect, which much be the only concession to fancy animations in an otherwise sober app.
I love cooking and spend a lot of time looking for recipes online and on books. One of the main problems I face is having to read the whole instruction set to know what cooking processes are involved, how long it is really going to take to get everything prepped and cooked or read the whole thing to see if that ingredient I am missing is really essential or not. I was happy to discover this app and see all these at a glance: Ingredients needed, cooking processes used and the amount of chopping, peeling, stirring and cleaning required.
I quite like how straight forward this app is: Scroll through the recipe you find most apetising and realise that it can be dead easy to cook. No fancy techniques, no celebrity chefs involved.
Wether you are an expert cook looking for some inspiration, or taken your first steps in the kitchen, The Photo Cookbook offers simple and easy recipes organised and presented in a beautiful way. I don't see this app becoming the ultimate cooking app, although the last update included new recipes, but it definitely gives you some ideas to get started. If you've been craving a resource with good quality pictures, these one are also above standard. Highly recommended.