There are a lot of apps out there that help you put together a simple meal. There are far fewer that offer up your entire meal plan for the week. That’s what Our Everyday Lunch for iPhone aims to do. Does this app make your life simpler? In some ways yes, but in many others the answer is “no.”
I’ve reviewed some apps in the past, such as iCookbook and BigOven that let you put together your own meal plan, but this app has the meal plan all ready for you. The opening page sorts the plans into four weeks plus a “special day” plan, which includes an additional five meals.
Each week includes five days and each day has two tabs: recipes and ingredients. Before I get into the details of these two tabs, I want to acknowledge the simple design of the home screen, making it mindlessly easy to access a ready-to-go meal plan (something I’m assuming a user would want). The other navigation at the bottom of the app navigates to the Shopping List, Favorites and More.
Back to the two tabs. The first thing you’ll notice is that the recipe font is pretty small by default. Fortunately, they allow you to increase the font size. The second thing is that the measurements fluctuate between standard and metrics throughout the app. For wanting to make weekly meal planning easy, these two things are not getting this app off to a good start.
Each day’s meal includes a few thumbnail images that can be magnified, but not by touching the image, you must touch the magnifying glass next to the image. And when the image is full screen, you can’t swipe through the images like you can when they are thumbnails. In general, the images are nice, but they don’t particularly add anything to the app.
At the meat of this app are the recipes. Sadly, these are pathetic. They are nothing more than bullet points of menu items, some with cooking instructions and others with just the dish title. For example, there’s a “green leaf lettuce, roquette and tomato salad.” Those ingredients sound good, but in what proportion? There is no additional information provided. I think these things matter. There’s also no nutritional information or even ingredient background information, something all the great recipe apps have, including the last one we reviewed, Asian Market Shopper. The organization of the various recipes for each meal is non-existent–you might as well write a grocery list on a sheet of paper and walk to your store.
In general the recipe section seems to do just about everything wrong. For example, within Settings is a timer, but that’s not particularly helpful since you have to leave the recipe page to access it. You might as well tell Siri to start a timer for you.
The Ingredients tab doesn’t get any better. All the ingredients for the entire day’s recipe are separated by each recipe, but there’s no way to parse anything out (vegetables, proteins, etc.). Even worse, when you add items to your shopping cart they appear in alphabetical order without any way of manipulating the list. If you check items off and attempt to share the list through e-mail, checked-off items still appear.
I could go on and on about how this app has gone astray, such as the constant alert that appears asking to rate the app upon startup, even though I repeatedly click “No Thanks.” Or the fact that I had to dig around on the website to find out what “Special Day” meant for those additional five meals (the website says those are meals that require a long time to prepare). Okay, why not call those weekend meals or something along those lines?
My plan is this: I will get my meal ideas somewhere else–Mexican food from Rick Bayless sounds pretty good right now.
Toque Rating: 2/5