Searching for "recipes" in the Books section of Amazon.com I found over 156,000 entries. If recipe books can flourish, then so can recipe apps.
To find new recipes, I use Conde Nast's Epicurious Recipes and Shopping List app. Give it a couple of ingredients and it can find recipes that includes them. Epicurious shows beautiful dishes from Gourmet (now online only) and Bon Appétit magazines. I use it on my Kindle, iPhone and computer. It also runs on certain Samsung refrigerators — one up on Apple here! Although the Community Table section of Epicurious enables users to blog and submit recipes, its focus isn't on sharing food likes, dislikes and questions.
So I downloaded Allthecooks to see what makes it so popular with 12 million downloads, 150,000 recipes and 200 to 400 recipes added daily. Allthecooks lets you both use and create recipes. It makes it easy to browse a wider range of categories than Epicurious. Browse Holiday Recipes, Ethnic Recipes, Desserts and Recipes for Special Diets. Under "Dessert Recipes" you can find "Candy Recipes" then "Fudge Recipes." Like Epicurious, Allthecooks also lets you search by ingredient and create a shopping list.
Silvia Curioni, founding engineer of Mufumbo Labs, the Mountain View company that makes Allthecooks, told me that she and her cofounders — husband, Rafael Sanches, and brother, Luciano Curioni — want people to cook and enjoy meals together, rather than snacking on fast foods or gorging on fat-laden restaurant meals.
Allthecooks is their first step toward encouraging healthier eating. From the ingredient list for a recipe, the app creates a Nutrition Facts food label. The health-conscious can see calories, fat content, carbs and protein.
With Allthecooks, recipes become tutorials. Highly social, the app lets you gain badges, give reviews, follow friends, make comments, enter competitions and check favorites. There's an Oatmeal Cookie contest. Submit your cookie photo and others vote.
A cook's amateur photos add authenticity and encourage social interaction. For example, regarding a ham casserole recipe, a user asked, "Where would you find cubed ham?" Another asked, "What kind of spices would you suggest to spice it up a bit?" Unlike a traditional recipe book, you might find several photos and variations for a popular dish.
Get quick answers to questions like, "Can I take out the onion powder?" or "Can I substitute baking powder with something else?" and "Could I use toast instead of pastry shells?" Like Facebook, I suspect the app can become addictive as users are praised for their culinary skills.
Allthecooks recently launched on Google Glass. It also runs on Apple, Android and Windows devices. As Glassware, Allthecooks leaves your hands free to cook, saving your smartphone screen from fingermarks. You can see the recipe in the corner of your eye, saving counter space. There's no running back to the recipe book to look up the next ingredient. View ingredients in Google Glass as you pull them out of the cupboard. Google Glass makes it easy to take pictures and videos as you cook.
Silvia, Rafael and Luciano worked together at the mobile software company Buongiorno, now an NTT DOCOMO subsidiary. At this stage, they are self-funded and still have to work out revenue sources. Mufumbo is off and running. Check out Allthecooks for your holiday parties and join the community.