27
Jun
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Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Great iOS ports seem to be flowing over the Android border quite steadily these days: I reviewed Cut The Rope last week, so why not tackle AllRecipes.com's Dinner Spinner?

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Dinner Spinner is a port of the popular iOS app by the same name. In it, you spin a number of menus and select certain criteria for recipes you would like to try. The app then queries the database for recipes that match your search, and bring the ingredients list and directions up for you, right on your phone.

The allure (and major feature) of this app is that you can shake your phone and it will spin the menus, hopefully sparking some creativity and new recipe ideas. Since cooking is a creative art as much as painting is, from time to time you could always use something fresh.

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I think what I like most about the app is how complete it is. Using the app, you can search for what recipes you want, save them for later (by syncing with your AllRecipes account), view photos, share the recipes, rate and comment, and then add them to a grocery list, if you should choose.

The grocery lists are a great addition to the Pro version, as it sorts the ingredients into sections based on what type of item they are. That way, all fruits, vegetables, herbs, liquids, etc are all grouped together, so you can pick them up all at once, if need be. The grocery list could add a little bit of functionality with access to Android's barcode scanner (or another grocery list app) to preserve pricing information, but I'm happy with the way things have been implemented, for now.

Each individual recipe listing also comes with calculated nutrition values, as well. This is definitely added value for those of us who're looking to keep up with a diet.

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All of these functions perform especially well, except for a few hiccups: photos don't play nice when your SD card is mounted, and for some reason recipes cannot be removed from grocery lists via long-press. I tend to get a force-close error whenever I try the latter, but there are methods of removal that just happen to take a few more clicks.

The app also features some lovely quotes during the loading screens: these are usually comments from their website that are particularly entertaining, which add a little bit of flavour to an otherwise mundane action. They also feature the recipe to which the comment was added, but no way of clicking on that recipe to go to it. It'd be nice to have that in the future, as comments really drive this home for me.

Besides how well everything functions, I really can't get over how good this app looks; the backgrounds, buttons and responses are all very professional, and I applaud AllRecipes for actually taking the time to make sure they're up to snuff. I'm not sure how this app looks on a tablet, but I'm betting you can get some real utility in the kitchen by using the directions along with a stand. I'd just be careful about getting food all over your screen: I wouldn't want to ruin an investment like that.

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All in all, I recommend this app heartily because of the use I get out of it. I'm not that creative in the kitchen, and having this app allows me to find exactly what I'm looking for without having to waste a lot of time on a website. Its pro features (primarily the grocery list) are well worth the $2.99 USD price, and the syncing with your AllRecipes account just makes it a plain winner.

I'm a big fan of when apps can sync to their web counterparts, as not everyone likes using a phone interface for everything. Ultimately, apps that tie-in to larger sites should serve as a companion, not a standalone. This is doubly-true for any site that requires a lot of point-and-click or typing: if you can't simplify the experience on a mobile app, let us do all the metaphorical "heavy work" on your website, and sync it to our phone.

Less fumbling with mobile interfaces means more positive time spent with your app; in this case, it also means more time spent enjoying food.

Matt Demers
Matt Demers is a Toronto writer that deals primarily in the area of Android, comics and other nerdy pursuits. You can find his work on Twitter and sites across the Internet.

  • Mgamerz

    There's no free version, or your links are wrong.

    • Matt Demers

      A fix will be pushed in the next couple seconds. Thanks!

  • Mgamerz

    I used the free version. Its a bit different looking than your pictures, mainly it has an orange background. People who make apps for companies seem to not understand the concept of relative sizes (i'm looking at you groupon app)... cause the background doesn't fill my atrix's screen, and it looks terribly ugly because of that.
    I couldn't find any beverages with pork though.

  • Adam

    No pork beverages? Worthless.

    • Luke

      There's no recipe for beef cookies either. What has the world come to?

  • Nico

    I love the interface but the lack of mobile recipe creation where you could take snapshots with your phone camera is a deal breaker for me :(

    Any alternatives app which would allow to create recipes both on the phone and the web interface?

  • M van Dyk

    Why is this application not compatible with a Galaxy Tablet 10.1?

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