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An app to tell me how to cook dinner?

Ok, I'm food illiterate. I can't cook to save my life. My wife works and if my oldest daughter isn't home, we go hungry. But I just get overwhelmed at cooking. But what I was just wondering is... is there an app that would tell me how to cook? I envision it like this....

We're having chicken, boiled potatoes and a vegetable. I just scan the barcode on everything. The app knows what I'm cooking and what time we want to eat. So, it knows that I need to put the chicken in 30 minutes before the veggies, so it will tell me, if you want to eat at 6, have the chicken in at whatever temp at 5 and it will tell me to put in oven at whatever temp. Then an alarm will go off at 5:30 saying the potatoes have to go in. Probably will have to tell me something else like to season it or something. Then 5 minutes later, start the veggies. At 6, like I planned, everything is ready. Anything like this in an app that can tell a food illiterate as me so I can cook?


#1 dorlow, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:31 PM
I don't think so. I've probably tried most of the well known food apps and none prompt you like that. The sort of rely on your ability to read a menu and time plan. I'm a decent home cook, and even I can mess up the timing.
#2 Unforgiven, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:39 PM
No, but sounds like a promising idea. Of course the app would need a substantial database of recipes.
#3 LV426, Jun 13, 2018 at 1:50 PM
Sorry, no.
Is the chicken frozen or thawed?
Are the potatoes frozen, thawed or skin on?
There's just too many variables with foods.
#4 Dannydet, Jun 13, 2018 at 3:26 PM
I wonder if you'd be better off with a simpler menu. Blue Apron (I think that's the name) supposedly offers ready to cook fresh meals that are simple to prepare and eat. Another option could be one pot meals.
#5 Unforgiven, Jun 13, 2018 at 3:33 PM
I know it would be complicated, but that's what programmers do. They find ways to solve complicated. With apps like myfitnesspal where it does have that huge food database, seems like it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to plan out how to cook it for non-cookers such as myself.
#6 dorlow, Jun 13, 2018 at 6:41 PM
Doesn't look like Blue Apron will work. Max family size is 4. We have 7. I would have to double up everything. 4 person deal is $51 a week. So, I'm looking at $100 a week for dinner. Kind of pricey....
#7 dorlow, Jun 13, 2018 at 6:44 PM
Actually, it is complicated. Even in recipe books, it's not always timer based and the time per step is only a suggestion. Even if there is time listed, the range is broad, like 5-10min, or 20-30min. There's the poking the food and tasting it if it's already cooked enough because they don't always finish at the same time. Even two pieces of chicken will not cook at the exact same number of minutes/seconds due to varying water content. This is why sometimes in fast foods, we find chicken that's a bit undercooked. But since their chicken is already factory prepared before it even reaches them, this is minimized. But at home, a chicken leg will fry faster than a thigh, even if it's only a difference of 30 seconds at times, or even a minute. While this may not be a problem for frying, in some recipes, like noodles (spaghetti, ramen, etc), overcooking by one minute already changes the texture to soggy. From a family of cooks, I can say that an app like that will just earn more 1 star ratings and bad reviews than not. That's why most cooking apps are just recipe books. Even ready prepared food like nuggets from the supermarket says "fry for 3-5minutes", but that doesn't mean you can leave them there for 5 minutes. You remove them as they turn golden brown, otherwise if you leave it for 5 minutes it's going to turn into dry burnt crisp.

There is a reason why they say cooking is an art.

If you have trouble cooking, then stick to the simpler stuff or ready to cook stuff from the supermarket where you just drop it in a pad and wait for it to turn brown.
#8 chanchan05, Jun 13, 2018 at 7:26 PM
I'd check out some one pot meal then. This is one that is easy to cook and everything goes in one dutch oven.

I've easily fed 8 people with that.
#9 Unforgiven, Jun 13, 2018 at 7:39 PM
An app might recognise it's potatoes and their weight from the supermarket barcode, but how would it know that you wanted boiled potatoes, and not say mashed potatoes, or roast potatoes, or jacket potatoes, etc.? Also would you expect the app to remind you to wash and peel the spuds if necessary as well?

There's no end of books, apps and websites with detailed step-by-step cooking recipies including timing. If your own timing and planning is really bad, there's plenty of apps for that though, to help you plan and time various things.
#10 mikedt, Jun 13, 2018 at 7:57 PM Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 8:06 PM
It's a well-known fact that programmers just eat pizza and nothing else.

They might find the simple solutions, like just calling Pizza Hut or Domino's and they get their pizzas delivered.
#11 mikedt, Jun 13, 2018 at 8:20 PM
Leave the app and hit the fast food joint.
It's a good thought but there's just too many variables when it comes to preparing food
#12 Dannydet, Jun 13, 2018 at 11:17 PM