Kitchen Accomplice By John Kirkendall

 An iPhone amoung the measuring cups

Your grandmother would not have stood for it.  An electronic invader in the kitchen would not have been a welcome presence.  And, as for you, there seems to be no respite from these gadgets.  They are so pervasive that Court Rules have been fashioned to deal with them and announcements in theatres commonly remind us to silence our cell phones.  At least there was one place in our house that was pretty much a safe haven.  Not anymore.

I decided to check a while ago to see what “Apps”  (you know, those programs on the iPhone that show up as icons to be accessed when you turn it on) are available just for cooks – these are among the tens of thousands of apps out there.  The programs I discovered to assist the beleaguered meal preparer after a day in the office are like having Julia Child, Betty Crocker, and James Beard all with you as you work.  Just try to keep the Hollandaise from seeping into the phone as you juggle the blender, the wooden spoons, the measuring cups and the phone. 

And, if you are not the juggling sort and take kitchen electronics very seriously, there is the large mounted computer screen for the kitchen that itself contains all the icons to be accessed for kitchen applications.  A man I read about installed one for just under $2000.  It was his wife’s idea and now he is in the kitchen doing a lot of the cooking because of the availability of electronic cooking instructions.  I would not be the person to call upon to do this work, for sure.

Without going whole hog, you can still find your iPhone helpful in your culinary labors.  

I decided to look into what is available for you on your iPhone when you get home from work or when you would like to plan a meal.  My research was not as exhaustive as preparing an appellate brief but the survey did reveal some interesting results.

Say cheese.

Follow your nose to Fromage and discover the ultimate pocket guide to over 380 cheeses from around the world. Search by cheese name, region, milk type, or texture. And if you’re looking for the perfect wine to pair with your selection, Fromage will tell you that, too.

Eat fresh.

If you’re looking for food that’s fresh and local, Locavore will point you in the right direction. Use GPS or enter a zip code to discover food that’s in season and grown nearby. Search for local farmer’s markets or tap I Ate Local to find out what people in your area are eating.

Make a list.

Grocery iQ makes it easy to remember what to pick up, no matter where you shop. Just start typing the things you need and Grocery iQ practically writes your shopping list for you using predictive search and a database of over 130,000 items. Use your Favorites list and shopping history to quickly build new lists. Even better, email the exact items you want to someone else and let them do the shopping for you.

Get Inspiration

I like to look at Epicurious.  It leads you to some exciting menus with recipes you will use again and again.

Go out

There are a couple of apps that are fun when you are trying to think of a place to have dinner.  Around Me is an app that identifies what’s available near you, by distance.  Just put in your zip code and you can find restaurants, gas stations, hospitals and lots more.  Urban Spoon is devoted to locating eating establishments near you.

How to find the apps

Go to the App Store icon on your iPhone.  You can shop by category or if you know the name of the app you wish to download to your iPhone, just use the keyboard to type it in.  It will appear.  Sometimes there is a modest charge, sometimes the app is free.  Just click on install.  If you have not previously set up an account, it will walk you through that.  This is the way you will be charged when you order something on the iPhone involving a fee.

Come to think of it, Grandmother would have been thrilled.  She would know just what to order when the Huckster Wagon came around.


Judge Kirkendall is a retired Probate Judge. He presently serves on the Elder Law Advisory Board of the Stetson University College of Law. He has taught cooking classes for more than 25 years at various cooking schools in the Ann Arbor area and has himself attended classes at Cordon Bleu and La Varenne in Paris, as well as schools in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco. I am (thankfully) past president of the National College of Probate Judges. He can be reached at