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Monday, January 7, 2013

Test Run: Evernote Food

Evernote has been my auxilliary brain for several years now. I use it to jot down ideas, save articles I've read and compile research.

Because it is searchable, I've also used it to record recipes and restaurants. It did a good job of it.

But a revised app from Evernote does an even better job at those last two tasks. Evernote Food, a free app for Apple and Android devices, makes saving most recipes a breeze.

The Explore Recipes section of the Evernote Food app links to dozens of food sites. The obvious ones are here - Epicurious, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetit - as well as the cult favorites like Serious Eats and Smitten Kitchen. The odd sites most people have never visited are there, too , like The Shiksa in the Kitchen, Rasa Malaysia and Pioneer Woman.

You can examine or save the recipes listed there. But more than likely,  once you are inside a site you'll be looking at other recipes. When you see one you like, you click on the scissor icon and the recipe is clipped and saved in your own cookbook.

You can start building your own personal cookbook.

I always wanted to write a cookbook called “Simply Offal.” A search engine will find recipes across the site even if you haven't saved them. I typed in tripe, thinking it was an obscure ingredient, and much to my surprise nine recipes popped up, including something called “Husband and Wife Lung Slices.”

It's a little harder to save recipes you find outside the app, say in The New York Times. The best thing to do is add Evernote's Web Clipper to your browser. When there is a recipe you want to add, you click on the Evernote symbol in th e toolbar and it automatically appears in the cookbook you are building.

On another tab, you can save restaurants you heard about or visited, which gives you your own personal restaurant guide. It uses your location to find restaurants nearby, but also searches for ones you heard or read about. As with recipes, you can clip and save reviews there too.

On yet another section you can record your own meals with photos and commentary.

But it is the recipe collecting that makes this app so useful to anyone who likes food.