Food App Review of the Week: KitchenSubs PLUS

By on Thursday, June 16th, 2011

KitchenSubs Plus
Mike Gibson
Cost: $0.99
Runs on: iPhone

There’s nothing worse than prepping your dinner only to realize that you don’t have enough of that one ingredient. You need some half-and-half or a little bit of flour and aren’t sure what you can use instead. That’s what KitchenSubs PLUS provides: substitutes for both ingredients and measurements. And as an added bonus, there’s also a few dozen handy quick tips.

Before we get going, I should mention that there’s a free version of this app that includes ads and doesn’t have as many tips. If neither of those bother you, you’ll want to skip this version and save yourself $0.99. While this app does exactly what it’s supposed to, it doesn’t provide much value (other than convenience) over an internet search (something I’ve docked other apps for in the past).

The first screen of this app provides three buttons: Ingredients, Measurements, and Tips. All three of these buttons will take you to a scroll wheel for that section that you zip through to find what you’re looking for. So for ingredients, zip down to honey, for example, and it will tell you directly above that a possible substitution is granulated sugar (1-1/4 cup) & water (1/4 cup). It gets a little clunky for ingredients that are needed for different purposes or have multiple substitutes. For example, one large egg has four entries and you scroll from one entry to the next to see the other possible substitutes, e.g., 2 tbsp mayonnaise for cake batter; or 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1 tbsp of vinegar & 1 tbsp of water to be used as a rising agent. Don’t get me started on the multiple entries for egg yolks and egg whites.

I’m not saying this information isn’t useful, just that the interface is a bit crude. Also there are no pictures or even explanations about any of this if you desired more information. In some other apps they’ve remedied this by simply linking to Wikipedia—not the best solution either, but better than nothing.

Measurements works the same as ingredients, e.g., the equivalent of 1 cup is 8 oz or 1/2 pint. Scroll to 2 cups and the math adjusts on the fly. The final section, Tips, has some good information. Again with the cumbersome navigation, bacon is listed three times. If you’ve spent any amount of time in the kitchen you probably know most of these tricks, but it’s always nice to have them in the palm of your hand.

Overall, this app is bare bones, no frills, but useful—or to substitute another phrase, don’t expect to get your socks knocked off.

Toque Rating: 3/5

Written by Steve Cooper

Steve Cooper is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Hitched, a service and lifestyle online magazine for married couples. When Steve is not not researching or dispensing relationship information, he's reading, eating or marrying flavors together in the kitchen.

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