Whether you are cooking a family meal from scratch or merely adding water and milk to a packet of instant mac ‘n’ cheese, converting, measuring and weighing ingredients is a regular, if somewhat confusing, requirement of everyday life, and can easily lead to tasteless, unappetizing food when done incorrectly.
Enter Kitchen Aid Kit Pro by Hitlab Ltd, an innovative iPad-only app that promises to help eliminate these troubles by doing the hard work for you by crunching numbers, calculating calories and much more besides. Let’s take a closer look.
Kitchen Aid Kit Pro launches with a glass beaker perched upon a kitchen worktop, containing a portion of whole almonds, one of the 37 available ingredients which can be found listed in alphabetical order across the top of the screen.
The on-screen beaker can be easily adjusted to the shape and size of an existing glass or cup by holding your chosen receptacle against the iPad and pinching the screen until the virtual beaker matches the one in your hand. With the ability to save frequently used glasses, this is a quick and pain-free process that should only need to be completed once per beaker.
Below the beaker resides a row of five icons which gain the user access to the aforementioned saved glasses, as well as a plethora of other features – but more on them later.
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Now it’s time to choose the ingredient that you would like to measure or weigh. Today, I’m making pancakes. A basic pancake recipe calls for 110 grams of flour, 200 milileters of milk and 75 milliliters of water, along with 50 grams of butter and two eggs. Let’s start by weighing 110 grams of flour.
First, select Flour from the aforementioned ingredient list above the beaker. In the bottom right corner, you will see a dial displaying 17 different types of weights and measurements. Swipe said dial to select the unit needed — gram, in this case — and then carefully move the slider on the right-hand side of the screen up or down until you’ve reached the desired weight, 110 grams. The amount of flour then shown in the beaker will be the correct amount needed for the recipe — it’s as easy as that!
As an added bonus, the app automatically calculates the caloric value of the content of the glass for each relevant ingredient, perfect for those of us who are on a diet and like to keep an eye on their calorie intake.
Kitchen Aid Kit Pro also includes a conversion table that is able to convert weight, volume, temperature and length. This table is especially useful when navigating the minefield that is UK and US measurement standards, where, for example, a British pint could be variously referred to as a 3/4 liter, or a US 1/2 liter. Confused? Yeah, me too.
Ready, Steady, Cook!
In addition to the above, Kitchen Aid Kit Pro sports a timer which can be configured to keep track of up to six separate dishes on a five ring stove, plus oven. Simply set the amount of time needed on the dial and tap the Start button to activate. Once the timer has duly run out, a buzzer will sound to alert you. There is also the option of labeling each timer with the name of the relevant dish, a welcome addition for someone as forgetful as myself.
Kitchen Aid Kit Pro contains a food storage guide which is presented in the guise of a vintage-looking refrigerator. Several major food groups are represented, with accompanying information on how best to store them in both a refrigerator with a temperature of 40°F, and a freezer with a temperature of 0°F. Additionally, there are also other handy tips such as “don’t wash” before storing, and a grammatically dubious “doesn’t freeze well.”
Set within the blurry confines of a home kitchen, Kitchen Aid Kit Pro has a well designed and intuitive user interface which pulls off the very difficult task of distilling so many of the most complicated challenges of cooking into an easy-to-read format. Each feature is easily navigable and seldom requires more than a single touch to access, thus ensuring that even the complete iPad novice should soon be up and running, concentrating on the thing that matters most — making good food.
However, there are some minor gripes, such as when measuring milk or cream in the beaker. One cannot accurately see the level due to the window of the same color in the background, and this, coupled with minor spelling and grammatical mistakes, detracts somewhat from an otherwise polished app.
Kitchen Aid Kit Pro makes full use of the iPad’s form to deliver a level of usefulness which goes beyond that offered by a classic cookery book. Combining user-friendly content with an ingenious level of interactivity, as highlighted by the ability to match the on-screen beaker with one which resides in your cupboard, the app incorporates the elements of several kitchen aids into one convenient package.
Kitchen Aid Kit Pro is offered in both free and Pro versions, but while the former should prove adequate to glean a general idea of the premise, splashing out on the full version is much recommended and offers a far more comprehensive kitchen companion.