I remember watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” with my husband before we were married and having a long conversation about the concept that the characters read from digital books. Even back then, my husband said that we’d be doing that someday, and he couldn’t wait. I, on the other hand, couldn’t imagine reading from a screen. I barely knew how to use a word processor back then. I knew I’d never give up real books.
It’s taken me 20 years, but I’m beginning to see the light. I still like to read books with a physical book in my hands, but the iPad has convinced me that reading a magazine digitally is not such a bad way to go, especially when the app for the magazine is as well-done as the Food & Wine app.
I downloaded the free app and the two issues that are available so far. It takes about eight minutes for an issue to download, which may seem like an eternity in today’s “quick-as-a-click” age, but it’s well worth the wait. The Food & Wine app is a beautifully designed, fairly easy-to-navigate online magazine. There are two issues so far, the premier issue and the holiday issue. The second page of both issues is a help guide that instructs you how to read Food & Wine on the iPad. Things changed a bit in the second issue, and I assume that as things go along and with reader feedback, things will change even more.
So what does this app have over a paper magazine? Lots.
- We’ll start out with the environmental aspect. Magazines are great, but they almost always end up in the recycle bin. No paper waste with an app.
- Like a recipe that you see? There is no print function, but you can e-mail the recipe to yourself and print it or put in your own electronic recipe database from there. You can also share the recipes through Facebook or Twitter.
- There are videos embedded in the pages. You can be reading an article, then play a related video, then go right back to the article, all in one place.
- At the bottom of some pages, there are scrolling galleries — kind of like slide shows. They’re used to display several photos with captions, all on one page.
- Every recipe has its own page with a large photo. The recipes really stand out in the app.
- Every bottle of wine reviewed has its own picture. If you take your iPad with you to the wine store, the pictures can help you find a bottle of wine quickly.
- Once an issue is downloaded, it’s there. You can read all issues you have on your iPad anytime, anywhere, even if you’re not connected to the Internet.
- It’s free.
I’m hooked on this app, and I’m looking forward to finding more helpful and entertaining apps to feed my reading and learning about food. As I find them, I’ll tell you what I think.