Monday, December 08, 2008

G1 review: Cooking Capsules

One of the most interesting and unique applications for the T-Mobile G1 is Cooking Capsules, which is essentially a cooking show for your phone.

If that sounds bizarre, let's keep in mind that the G1, like the iPhone, is more like a handheld Internet device that just happens to have telephony as one of its features (in the G1's case, not a particularly central feature). The G1 is a lifestyle device, and cooking certainly fits into people's lifestyles.

So back to Cooking Capsules. The application currently has six recipes, each of which has a two-minute video, a shopping list, and step-by-step directions in a tabbed interface. So you watch the video to get a sense of how the recipe is put together, use the shopping list in the store (why not?) to select your ingredients, then follow the directions as you cook. If you learn more easily by listening, you can revisit the video at any time. And if you have trouble doing sums in your head, the shopping list has a slider so you can make anywhere between two and eight servings. (The default is four servings, and the video and recipe directions don't change, so you'll still have to figure out the quantities at some point.)

The videos are nicely put together. They don't have stellar production values, but they are nicely done, and they look stunning on the little G1 screen. The two sets of recipes (Indian and French) have different intros and engaging music that will get stuck in your head. To keep videos under time, the producers make liberal use of Baz Luhrman-type video speeding through potentially boring parts (such as pouring liquids). I noticed some pausing and stuttering in the video stream, but only sometimes -- usually around dinnertime, which makes me think that perhaps the CC servers were in heavy use at that point.

Shopping lists and directions are both nicely clear. Both allow you to check off items. In fact, I was really impressed with this setup, which offers a lot of potential for delivering instructional materials.

So how did it work? I botched my chana dal (I rushed the simmering a bit), but the dish still turned out passably. I'll have to try another dish soon. My guess is that after the first of the year we'll see a lot more recipes - and we'll be charged for them. Fair enough.


sukhjit said...

Clay! I'm so thrilled that you tried that Dal! In my experience it's actually ok if it cooks a bit too much because it still has great flavor.

Thanks for the review and the feedback. It's nice to hear from folks using CookingCapsules, it's actually very rewarding.

Thank again and nice to meet you! --sukhjit

Unknown said...

Hi Clay,
We're glad you enjoyed the app! Thanks so much for taking the time to review it. Let us know if you try more of the recipes. Keep up the good blogging and stay tuned to our website for the latest news.
Mary Ann
Cooking Capsules