Chef John Malik

a writer trapped in a cook's body

Give this app a Spin

| 2 Comments

My Mom was ready to go back to work.  After raising five kids in a 2,000 square foot home she desperately missed the peace and serenity of being a surgical nurse in a busy downtown hospital.  As soon as one of us could drive and one could cook, she bought a new stethoscope, starched her white hat and waved goodbye.  Lucky for her I loved to cook. All that was left was some meal planning skills which my older sister and I developed.  We balanced broccoli with marshmallows, tomatoes with chocolate chips and Cheerios with steak.  There was the occasional complaint from Dad (the toast points with shaved gherkins and mayonnaise brulee were not well received) but through trial and plenty of error none of us went hungry.  Soon I was consulting Gourmet magazine, writing menus then shopping lists then promptly losing those lists as teenagers are prone to do.  Today I solve that issue by not bothering with a list or menu.  My years of professional cooking have given me the ability to skip the entire “planning” part of a meal.  I really don’t mind cooking from a refrigerator that hasn’t been stocked for a few days and I’m even happier wandering through a well-stocked store and planning a meal as I shop.  However, I realize I’m in the minority.  As the popularity of Food Network has surged our interest in actually cooking at home has declined.  It’s time consuming, it’s easier to pick up some convenience products, it’s too difficult and on and on.  I hear those excuses from my friends all the time.  So if you find yourself short on time but wanting to cook at home then take a look at the Spinning Meals app.  Designed by Ryan Smith, a one-time Subway sandwich artist turned IT specialist and dedicated home cook.   Ryan’s idea originated as a family oriented work-week cookbook then eventually morphed into an app.  And what a clever app it is.  For only $2.99 you get a meal planner that’ll generate a weekly menu with an accompanying shopping list.  Spinning Meals will recommend recipes based on time constraints, build a menu around a certain dish and can even capture recipes on websites such as epicurious.com then add them to your recipe database.  Of course you can also add your own recipes then ask it to build a single meal or a week’s worth of menus around a certain dish.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Spinning Meals takes meal planning to a professional level.  Recently my wife and I took Spinning Meals with us through our Fresh Market and it’s so much more than a cookbook.  We planned one dish for Tuesday night and Spinning Meals did the rest, generating five nights of dinners, a shopping list, and recipes and keeping all of the meals within a thirty minute prep time. This app can also help get the kids involved.  Let them add in their own favorite recipe, place it on a given night and that turns into their own menu.  Give the Spinning Meals app a try.  I think it just may be the future of cookbooks; and Ryan, if you need a recipe for mayonnaise brulee, you know who to call, right?

Author: ChefJohn

Cook without tattoo, writer without a pen

2 Comments

  1. I get fed up with people saying ‘I haven’t got time to cook’ Ishbel and I can get in at the same time and I can have a fully cooked meal on the table from stuff in the fridge in 40 minutes…..

    You don’t need an app or a cookbook or a TV show see http://tomstronach.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/sunday-dinner.html this took me just over an hour to prepare and serve yesterday and it wasn’t even planned

    Sheesh people, get a life

  2. Thanks John – great write-up and I really appreciate your take on it. Loved your early meal-planning stories, as it’s clear you’ve never lacked for creativity!

    Tom I agree that there are lots of ways to whip up a quick meal from whatever you find in the fridge, but not everyone can do this, and too much of that approach and we run out of veggies and start cooking from pantry items and other convenience foods as John says. Feedback I’ve received is that by and large people really appreciate how the app encourages and enables more proactive planning…and lets them capture their favorite dishes to rotate them through with the right amount of variety vs tried-and-true favorites.

    Happy Spinning everyone,

    Ryan

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