I was trying to figure out what type of app to review this week. A game? A puzzle? An interactive children’s book? Then I came across Yummly – an app that works in the same kind of way as Pinterest, Snapguide and others. As you’ve guessed from the title, it focuses on yummy food and drink.
Upon reflection, I probably should have looked for something else. I’ve recently lost about 36 pounds through counting calories and regularly visiting World Gym. Was it, therefore, really a good idea to choose an app with so many amazing images of scrumptious drinks and dishes? Pies, cakes, buttery mashed potatoes, mango margaritas…they all appeared on my screen as I desperately searched for a salad.
After the initial hot flush passed, however, I realized that Yummly could actual be a help rather than a hindrance. With a comprehensive menu of recipes, many with nutritional information, I reckoned that this could expand my repertoire of relatively low-calorie dishes beyond grilled chicken and a spoonful of pasta.
As the app was free, I thought it was worth the risk.
How it works
Right after you’ve downloaded it, you have to create an account. You have a few options, including using your Facebook account, or your email address. I pondered for a moment here. On the one hand, I loathe getting loads of irrelevant emails, but by the same token, I didn’t want to inundate my Facebook friends with post after post covering everything from the secrets of cooking sausage, to top turnip recipes. I went with email.
Once your account is set up, it’s time to go exploring. The first page you’ll encounter gives you recommended dishes for the day. What I saw was a “Blooming Brie Bowl,” “Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn,” and “Cream Biscuits.” Sure, there were images for “Feta Salsa,” and “Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic,” but for some reason, my finger kept scrolling right through those.
When you see an image that catches your fancy, you simply have to tap on it and you’ll be given the ingredients, the nutritional information (not all the recipes provide this, but most do), and the directions. It also gives you the number of servings, and when you see the wee orange circle with “Yum” in the middle of it, you’ll spy a number next to it. That shows how many people have saved that recipe.
A number of the recipes submitted are from reputable people in the industry, including Martha Stewart, which also means that the photography is high quality. Honestly, don’t browse this app when you’re hungry.
If you like what you see, simply tap on that orange circle I mentioned earlier to save it to your “My Yums” section.
At any time you can tap on the menu icon – the blue circle with three lines in it – which will then allow you to go “Home,” “Search” for specific recipes, “My Yums” for saved recipes, “Shopping List,” which I’ll cover in a moment, and “Settings,” where you can set your dietary preferences, including any allergies (very useful), and customize what you see on the screen.
The Shopping List section is great when you only have certain ingredients in your fridge and cupboards, and you need recipe ideas. Simply type in what you have, and then the app will offer recipes that should work for you.
Honestly, I defy you to look at this app for more than 15 minutes before you start planning all the dinners you’re going to host for the next year.
When I tried it
As I said before, looking through Yummly when I was at the end of the day and I’d already had my calorie allowance, was probably not the brightest move. I was salivating at all the pictures. From the humble egg-and-bacon-in-a-toast-cup recipe, to an inviting image of a pineapple-ginger sparkling wine cocktail, it all looked delicious. It’s a wonder I didn’t start gnawing on my iPad.
What I really liked about this app is how easy it is to use, and all the nutritional information it gives you. Even if you’re using an app to help you lose weight, like “Lose It,” it will only really give you the accurate calories of individual elements of your meal if you’ve cooked it yourself, rather than a total for the whole thing. That’s why the idea of working out the calories in, say, a bowl of homemade mulligatawny would normally require a chemistry degree.
One of the other features of the Yummly app, is its ability to start suggesting recipes that it thinks you will like, based on which dishes you save to your account. For example, it won’t take long for this app to note that I avoid anything with beets in it. It will also probably glean that I’m quite partial to anything sweet or savory that has a crust around it.
I have saved “Very Best Mashed Potatoes” to my list.
It could be that most of you have already discovered the Yummly app for yourselves. I’m not whiz in the kitchen, so I may be a bit behind when it comes to foodie apps. I have to say, though, that this really does make me want to revisit that idea I had long ago of having friends around for dinner once a week. That was before the dining table became a dumping ground for computers, bags of cat food, and any other miscellaneous items that can’t be crammed anywhere else.
I think it may be time to clear that stuff into dumping ground #2 (the spare room closet), dust off the place mats, and get cooking some Yummly food.
Free. Easy to use. Nutritional information provided.
Needs the Internet. Could throw you off the diet wagon.
Yummly Recipes & Grocery Shopping List Cost: Free Seller: Yummly, Inc Devices: iOS and Android Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)