Developer: Random House Digital, Inc.
Price: $4.99 Download on the App Store
The month of August celebrates the birthday of an American icon. On August 15 Julia Child would have been 100 years old and to pay homage to the woman whose love of the culinary arts has transcended generations, Random House Digital has released Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Selected Recipes. This iPad app is available through August for the introductory price of $2.99 and includes 32 popular recipes from Mastering the Art vol. 1 as well as narratives and photos of Julia’s life.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Selected Recipes has many things going for it. It has sharp, lovely design qualities and does a nice job of remembering Julia, offering not only personal tidbits, photos and audio recordings about her life in France and her accomplishments, but has videos of Julia preparing the selected recipes. This digital version of Mastering comes off as part scrapbook, part video cookbook and also includes excerpts from the original volume.
Random House Digital deserves kudos for its page designs in this app. They have presented every recipe in full-color and even the pages reserved for Julia’s life have been crafted with careful attention to detail. That said, the actual interface remains a tad bit clunky with cumbersome scrolling as the only form of recipe navigation aside from a manual search. With only 32 recipes, this isn’t a huge issue, but certainly would be with very many more and users do have the option of assigning recipes a “favorite” status for quicker viewing later.
The included recipes are said to be selected due to their popularity and whether this is the actual case or not, there is a variety of recipe types ranging from sauces to deserts, but a dozen or so more would have amped up the value to stellar. Still, the option to watch Julia preparing the dishes and hear her commentary is a tremendous value even if the video quality is slightly less than tremendous. Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Selected Recipes also includes features like sharing recipes on Facebook and building a grocery list based on recipes users choose to try.
All told, Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Selected Recipes is a rather beautiful app with only a few minor oversights and it does a splendid job paying tribute to Julia. Granted, there is a bit of a marketing tactic employed here, but frankly, it’s a great way for both long-time fans and newcomers to Julia’s methods to own and enjoy a modern piece of her timeless legacy.