Social Media in the Kitchen

By Rori HarringtonWhat is your must-have item in the kitchen? Is it a particular spatula? A cookbook passed down through generations? Mine is my iPhone.

I have always used lists at the grocery store. While having a written list has prevented me from impulse shopping, it hasn't helped me expand my culinary horizons. Until I got an iPhone. That's when my grocery and cooking experiences changed.

One of the first apps I downloaded is the Epicurious app, which is handy for finding recipes reviewed by users. I'm no Julia Child, so I like to see what others have to say about their experience making and eating certain meals.

I've also fallen in love with the Whole Foods app. The best part of this app is the shopping list it provides. I don't have to worry about forgetting any essential ingredients. I may forget a paper grocery list, but I always have my phone.

Even finding good food on the road is easier. We always try to stay in hotels with kitchenettes or at least with a microwave and small refrigerator to save money and to avoid fast food. Martha's Everyday Food app has a store finder, which is perfect for finding nearby grocery stores. This app even provides maps to nearby stores, which is great for those of us with no sense of direction.

New recipes feel far more accessible because of my iPhone. I can search for a recipe, get cooking instructions, see photos of the ingredients when I'm not sure what I'm looking for, or find videos on YouTube showing how the dish is made. Cookbooks can be intimidating. What is the difference between a pinch and a dash? I don't know, but I can look it up on my phone without leaving the kitchen.

Don't get me wrong, I would never give up my Jamie at Home cookbook. Still, it's nice to be able to come up with something on the fly without much effort. Remember the not-so-distant past when we didn't even have cell phones, never mind smart phones? I would be walking along the aisle trying to recall whether there was still milk in the fridge. Are we out of ramen? Now I just call or text home to find out.