4 Ingredients for IPhone

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What's for dinner? In my house, some days we know the answer to that question well in advance, preparing meals ahead of time with no last-minute scrambling. Then we wake up.

That's where 4 Ingredients, a $4 app from LoL Software, comes in. The app looks pleasant enough, and comes loaded with more than 400 recipes--each of which contains four or fewer ingredients. You can either scroll through a list of ingredients or browse by category to find applicable recipes, and then you start cooking. In theory.

When I browsed to a staple at our house--cheese--the recipe that first caught my eye was called "Cheesy Bears." The instructions called for both vegemite and a teddy bear-shaped cookie cutter. I consider my kitchen fairly well stocked, but I had neither item. Unfortunately, there's no way to narrow 4 Ingredients' offerings to just those recipes whose ingredients I have on hand.

I wanted to find a recipe for the yellow peppers in our fridge. While some veggies (peas, potatoes) are listed as top-level ingredients, it seems that peppers are encapsulated in the catch-all "Vegetables" category. The lack of a genuine search feature, which could instantly recall any recipes with peppers, is an unforgivable oversight.

As is, 4 Ingredients frankly doesn't make sense as an iPhone app. An actual cookbook, preferably with an index, would prove more useful more quickly than this largely hit-or-miss app.

4 Ingredients is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.2.1 software update.

[Lex Friedman is thinking of just ordering some Chinese food.]

This story, "4 Ingredients for IPhone" was originally published by Macworld.

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