Add this to the (very long) list of things that everyone else knew before me. Mark Bittman’s essential cookbook “How to Cook Everything” has been turned into an app for the iPhone. My copy of the book gets used weekly, so when I found out about the app, I had to check it out.

I downloaded the app for my iPhone for $4.99. A little hefty for an app, but with more than 2,000 recipes and a slew of other features, it’s not a bad price — especially if you don’t already own the $35 cookbook. I thought the price was worth it for the convenience of having all the recipes with me when I’m at the grocery store. If I find a special on a certain food that seems too good to pass up, I can easily find a recipe for it and make sure that I have all the ingredients to make the dish before I leave the store.

Aside from having all the recipes in my pocket, what are some of the apps good features?

• Instant grocery list from individual recipes.
• The directions for each recipe are given one at a time — there are numbers at the top of the directions and you have to click on the next number to take you to the next step in the directions. This way, you don’t have to scroll down to keep reading or get lose your place in the smaller print (particularly on the iPhone)
• A built-in timer for each recipe
• An easy search feature that allows you to filter by key ingredient, cooking technique or flavor or recipe type (fast, make ahead, vegetarian or essential)
• An explanation of basic kitchen equipment, including a list of 12 Must-Have Kitchen Tools and 5 Crucial Pots and Pans
• Illustrations of various cooking and food preparation techniques
• The ability to mark your favorite recipes 
And much more.

I spent some time going over the reviews of the app to see what complaints there might be. Here are some of the common complaints I saw about the app.

  • No pictures. (Actually, there are some pictures that show the techniques, but there are no pictures of the recipes. It’s the same way with the book. There are no pictures of the completed recipes.)
  • No print option — you can’t print out a recipe.
  • No ability to keep personalized notes or for others to make notes that users can view.
One thing about having recipes on the iPhone — and this is a problem for anything that would have a recipe — is that the phone goes black after a minute or so. I have to push the button at the bottom and unlock the phone frequently. When my hands are messy with food, it can be a bit of a hassle. But, having all these recipes at my fingertips, especially when I’m away from my cookbook library is great. Definitely worth the $4.99. And, for those who don’t have the book, a great bargain for all of this information.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

iPhone app: How to Cook Everything
Is Mark Bittman’s essential cookbook an essential iPhone app?