My Recipes, the online site that features recipes from magazines like “Food & Wine,” “Cooking Light,” and “Southern Living,” has a new cookbook with a twist. “America’s Favorite Food: 200 Top-Rated Recipes from the Country’s Best Magazines” is a traditional print cookbook that stands on its own. It also has Scan-It/Cook-It features that allow cooks to scan photos. Those photos lead to instructional videos, meal planners, additional recipes and more.
My Recipes sent me a copy of “America’s Favorite Food” to check out the digital feature. Here’s how it works.
Download the Digimarc Discover app onto your smartphone or tablet. It’s a free app that’s available for Apple and Android devices.
Throughout the book, there are “Scan This Photo” boxes. Using the “Look” feature on app, position the phone with the screen’s crosshairs on the box. When the app reads the information in the box, it will click and begin downloading the information to your device.
It’s pretty simple, and the Digimarc Discover app can be used for scanning other print sources, not just this particular cookbook. In addition to scanning information from pages of books, magazines, and advertisements, it can also identify songs.
How useful is this digital feature in the “America’s Favorite Food” cookbook? It depends on the information your being sent to. Some of it seems very useful to me. If, for example, you chose to make the Butternut Squash and Apple Soup recipe, and you’ve never cut up a fresh butternut squash before, scanning the photo on the page will take you to a video on how to cut up butternut squash. I think this digital feature is most helpful when taking cooks to instructional videos.
Some of the photos take cooks to a list of similar recipes to the one they’re looking at. The photo associated with the Eggplant Parmesan recipe takes cooks to eleven more recipes that use eggplant. I don’t find this as useful as the instructional videos.
The recipes in this book are varied with options for meat eaters and vegetarians. There seem to be many family-friendly and kid-friendly choices.
I particularly appreciate the sidebars on some of the recipes that feature the comments that cooks have left online. When I use recipes from sites like My Recipes, I always read the comments from those who have made the recipe and often find great advice in those comments.
I always find myself looking for new recipes in the fall. As the days get chillier and the seasonal foods change, I love getting in the kitchen and cooking. There are a few recipes in the book have already caught my eye for this fall.
Apple, Goat Cheese and Pecan Pizza
Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto
Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers
Pumpkin Crumb Coffee Cake
The digital features in this cookbook make it a little something different, but they wouldn’t be enough for me to buy this cookbook. What makes this cookbook worth buying, if you’re looking to add another cookbook to your shelf, is that it’s a collection of 200 recipes that have been rated highly by home cooks - cooks who have actually made the recipes in their own kitchens. I checked out several of the book’s recipes online, and every one I looked at had a four or five star (out of five stars) rating. I’m someone who really relies on the ratings of other home cooks when I’m looking for recipes online, so to have a specific selection in a cookbook of 200 well-rated recipes makes me more likely to trust the recipes in it.
“America’s Favorite Foods” is also available in an electronic version in the iBook store, and for Kindle and Nook tablets.