Developer: 1000 Cookbooks
Price: Free to download
Subscription: $5/£5 monthly
Size: 86.4 MB
Ckbk has been described by its developer as ‘Spotify for cookbooks’. It’s an effective way of selling the concept in one line, though the app is far less comprehensive and more carefully curated than that makes it sound.
This is an app that treats cookbooks – those beautiful, sauce-stained, physical artifacts – as a digital resource. From an extensive list of hundreds of cookbooks and more than 100,000 recipes, you can browse, search, filter, and even form ‘playlists’ of a sort.
You don’t get anything like the full cookbook experience, of course. Aside from a thumbnail of the front cover and the associated publisher’s blurb, there’s little context to these recipes. Buying links to the physical cookbooks provide the most direct link to the author’s unedited thoughts.
What you do get is speedy access to all of the recipes contained within, laid out in a clear phone-friendly format, with the writer’s accompanying notes where applicable. All of these recipes are searchable, too, and you can scour the app for specific ingredients, dishes, authors, or books.
There’s also a full filtering system if you want to narrow down your search in a more organic way. Each recipe has been assigned a difficulty rating, a cuisine, a course type, an era, and even a diet type, so it’s a simple task to – for example – search for an easy, gluten-free, Korean starter from recent times.
It’s an impressively varied roster of writers and chefs old and new that’s been assembled here, too. Some of the names that stood out to this UK-based writer include Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse, Keith Floyd, and The Great British Bake Off’s own Prue Leith.
But the real human touch comes from the app itself, with some particularly smart curation. We searched for Ottolenghi recipes, aware that the Israeli-British chef’s name hadn’t been mentioned in any of the associated materials.
Sure enough, there are no Ottolenghi recipes here, but what we did receive was a dedicated Community post on ‘Are you a fan of Yotam Ottolenghi?’ with selected books from protégés, peers, and those whom the great man has name-checked.
Ckbk offers a $5/£5 monthly Premium Membership for unlimited access to its large catalog of cookbooks. For that sort of money, you’d probably only be able to buy four a year outright – although, of course, you’d be able to keep those forever. In the same way that Spotify has decimated the album-buying market, the value proposition of ckbk might appeal to you more than ownership of a few tomes.
If you don’t want to spend a cent, free members can access up to three recipes per month, and there’s a two-week trial of Premium available.
But with the ability to form custom Collections of recipes, essentially serving as a speedy personal recipe folder, ckbk’s true value to the time-poor home cook quickly manifests itself.