Application Review: Cooking Capsules

I like to cook… but nobody said I’m good. For that reason I found Cooking Capsules one of the most intriguing applications on the Android Market. With a few taps of the touchscreen you can select a delicious recipe, view a picture of the final product, see a checkable/editable list of ingredients and a list of directions/steps, and watch a video illustrating each step of the recipe.

In Baltimore, T-Mobile has a 3G network but unfortunately I expiremented closer to Washington DC and didn’t use WiFi or 3G which caused incredibly lags for the videos… which as you’ll see I REALLY needed.

My biggest problem throughout the use of cooking capsules was the inability to watch streaming video with any consistency… and unfortunately that was my fault. Sitting on the couch later, connected to WiFi, they were playing perfectly and I was banging my head against the… couch. So at least that didn’t hurt.

But I did find some things that I think/know could use improving with cooking capsules.

  • Selection. There are only 8 recipes to start… I understand the phone isn’t even out yet and hopefully this will be remedied but if they can build a nice big library of recipes, this could become a “goto app” for many, many people.
  • Servings. I love the fact that when you change the number of servings, the ingredients are updated. Unfortunately, ingredients are also mentioned in the cooking instructions but THESE amounts aren’t updated in conjunction with servings… at least with the recipe we tried. This made everything kind of confusing.
  • Pictures/Video Ordering. Being able to watch the video is ESSENTIAL but most people probably don’t want to watch the entire thing. They’ll want to see what the finished product looks like and when going through the directions, refer to the video when they don’t fully understand and need a little help. It would do everyone a lot of good if you could click on a link in the step to take you DIRECTLY to the part of the video for that step of directions.
  • Shopping Lists. Hopefully a main “shopping list” on Android will surface where applications such as Cooking Capsules will allow you to drop the items into an overall list. What if I was making 2 recipes? Or also going to Wal-Mart? It would be irritating to have to open up my Cooking Capsules Shopping over and over… aggregating to one big list would be a great idea… although probably out of their hands.

Something fun you wouldn’t know from watching the video above is that the stove caught on fire during this film. Somehow the pot with steamed brocolli had something flammable on it and I turned around and FLAMES EVERYWHERE. Little flames but still… flames. Don’t worry, no G1s were hurt in the filming of this video.

I’m already eager to try this application out again… with WiFi and/or 3G connection… otherwise it just ain’t worth it. But that is to be expected.

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  • gasolin

    How can I have a clean hand to touch the G1 screen after wash fish or cut galic?

  • Xero

    Great review, you know I see a lot of people complaining about the lack of a G1 sync app for MP3s. Wouldn’t it make sense to take an existing open source App like Songbird and just write an extension which allowed synching to Android devices?

    http://getsongbird.com/

  • http://www.egphone.cn xiaomo.liu

    Thanks a lot.
    I’ve translated it into Chinese:
    http://www.egphone.cn/2008/10/cooking-capsules-android.html/

  • http://www.cookingcapsules.com Cooking Capsules

    Thanks so much for being excited about Cooking Capsules and for being our first video review! I love that you tried it out and made dinner for yourself and your girlfriend using the G1. We really appreciate your thorough review and the feedback it gave us. It’s valuable feedback like this that will make it more and more of a killer app as we progress. As you know, the “Taster” is the first of our offerings, and the app will grow and evolve over time as we add more features, while always doing everything possible to keep the interface as simple as possible.

    To address some of your great feedback:

    We have plans to list “tools” needed- parchment paper would fit in there (but you’ve also got us considering putting it on the shopping list).

    As far as reflecting the serving size amounts on the recipe step list, we are working on the best way to approach that. We had a bit of a dillema there- offer it on the shopping list only (doable for this initial release), or wait until we could make it update the recipe steps as well before adding the shopping list slider feature. We obviously opted for the former, which is handy in one sense, but creates the new need to update the steps. Anyway, definitely on the agenda.

    We are evaluating the feasibility of tagging the videos to play individual steps as needed as well. We are always weighing adding new features vs. increasing the amount of content. If features aren’t easily scalable, the amount of available recipes could suffer.

    I’m sorry you had some trouble streaming the video on the slower network. We did our best to optimize it for less than perfect network connections, but so far, it seems, it is best used with 3G or WiFi. We will continue to do what we can from our end, but some of it is obviously out of our hands.

    As far as merging the list with other apps, we realize that this is one of the potential strengths of Android and will look into it as opportunities arise. In the meantime, if you scroll down to the bottom of a shopping list you will find the ability to add items to your list (in your case you may have wanted to add the broccoli and rice that you chose to accompany the dish).

    Thanks again for the review. So glad your overall experience was enjoyable with our first release. We’ll do our best to make Cooking Capsules better all the time! Stay tuned!

    Happy Cooking,
    Mary Ann Cotter
    CEO, Cooking Capsules

    PS- If you want to follow along with the evolution of Cooking Capsules check out or subscribe to my blog:
    http://www.cookingcapsules.com/blog

    We are also on twitter as:
    “cookingcapsules”

  • phandroid.com

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Mary Ann.

    I had an enjoyable experience and look forward to trying it out on WiFi/3G… that was really my fault. In addition to allowing video “steps” for each post you could consider adding “pictures” for each step as well.

    I can TOTALLY appreciate that you don’t have all the time in the world to update everything at once… these things take lots of time and hard work. But, you’ve got an excellent start and an app that is already wonderful. I’m excited to see you folks follow it up with even better improvements.

    Keep up the great work… and I’ll have my eye on you guys!

  • http://www.cookingcapsules.com Cooking Capsules

    Aww, shucks. Thank you Phandroid! Keep on cooking and we’ll do the same :-)

    -Mary Ann and the rest of the Cooking Capsules Team

  • http://www.cookingcapsules.com Cooking Capsules

    @xiaomo.liu Thanks for translating the review into Chinese. One of the members of our Android Developer’s Challenge Team (helped Cooking Capsules win the Top 20 prize from Google), Tu Cheng Yuan, lives in Beijing. :-)

    @gasolin, you’ll have to wash and dry your hands for now. We are working on a way for it to do your dishes too! ;-)

    -Mary Ann