In honor of the influx of iPhone users that is sure to appear in the wake of Verizon’s recent acquisition, the Jew & the Carrot has rounded up six must-have apps for the Jewish foodie. From an online kosher cookbook to restaurant recommendations around the globe and a virtual tasting notebook, these apps are sure to indulge your foodie passion round the clock from your pocket. So sit back, charge your phone and get clicking.
For the Cookbook Fanatic… Kosher Cookbook, $4.99
This app has already received some attention in the virtual world and rightfully so. While I’d never give up my Joan Nathan cookbooks, this app’s Jewish cooking expert, Gloria Kobrin, offers up some tasty dishes, including recipes for beef tagine, fried olives and candied orange peel. You can search for recipes by occasion such as “party fare” and type like “vegetarian gourmet” as well as meat, dairy and parve dishes. An extra perk is the planner function, which offers up seasonal and holiday menus for easy reference. Key to this app’s indispensability is its genuinely voluminous offerings (over 300 recipes). It’s unlikely that you’ll make all of them, but in case you’re worried about boring your tastebuds, check out the Kosher Cookbook app’s recipes that go beyond the range of the typical kosher palate. Click on the boeuf bourguignon, white wine and tarragon sauce and try out the baklava recipe.
For the Kosher Consumer on the Move… Kosher, free or $4.99 (without ads)
For the kashrut observant or simply the curious wandering Jew, the Kosher app is a mobile guide to kosher restaurants around the world. Utilizing your location and a searchable database, Kosher is constantly updated with minute-by-minute kosher info perfect for your travels near and far. The app even has various food blessings (in Hebrew) in the Ashkenazic, Sefardic, Edot Mizrach and Chabad traditions. Though it does take a few minutes to load its database and experiences some crashes, the offerings are vast — it covers the entire United States and several countries internationally including France and Colombia. And if you feel strongly about a place you tried, there’s room for user reviews and restaurant additions.
For the Spiritually Inclined… Food Graces, 99 cents
Based on the book by Adrian Butash, “Bless This Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces From Around the World” this app is either an awesome cross-cultural party trick or a tech savvy way to bring a new level of spirituality to your meals. With food blessings that range from the Bhagavad Gita to Ralph Waldo Emerson, this app covers its blessing bases. There are quite a few obscure Jewish selections, from the Yiddish proverb, “A table is not blessed if it has fed no scholars” to Rabbi Abraham Kook, “Radiant is the World Soul/Full of splendor and beauty/Full of life….” While this app isn’t flawless — the blessings are only in English and it is unclear who has done the translating — you will still feel inspired by the range of food blessings and traditions.
For the Connoisseur… Tasting Notes $2.99
This app will come in handy for any foodie and can provide some particularly interesting opportunities for Jewish gourmands. Tasting Notes offers a space to catalogue foods and drinks that you consume on your epicurean adventures. It starts with categories like wine, whiskey and cigars, offering up fields such as year, place of origin, and personal notes, but it is easily personalized to include items — cholent, cheese, blintzes, anyone? If you like to compare and contrast what you’ve eaten and drunk, this app offers a user-friendly way to do so. Use Tasting Notes to keep track of kosher French wines you’ve sipped or kugel flavors and textures, but take note: this information cannot be backed up so losing your phone means losing your notes. Whatever your food fetish, this is a fun way to conjure up taste memories.
For the Adventurous Diner… On The Menu, $1.99
If you’re a picky eater, keep kosher by ingredient, or eat out a great deal in unfamiliar settings, On the Menu is a tool to help negotiate those situations when you simply must identify the mystery item on your plate. This app also comes in handy at pretentious dinner parties when a fancy or unfamiliar food is being discussed. Essentially a searchable food dictionary, On the Menu is educational at its core, and, with thousands of terms, it is fairly vast.
For the Jewish Bargain Hunter (which is all of us)… Better Buy Au, free or 99 cents
What Jew doesn’t love a bargain? And what of the times that you just can’t figure out which is a real deal? Oy Vey! This is where the Better Buy Au app saves the day. Use it at the grocery store, the farmer’s market, Loehmann’s and beyond. With a super simple interface that allows you to compare the prices of two items (or four if you shell out the .99), you can enter each item’s price, number of items and unit (oz, lbs, etc) and the app will tell you which is the better buy! In trying out several apps with the same function, Better Buy Au was clearly the best buy. It was accurate, comprehensive and easy to use with an attractive interface.