Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020, one of the most commonly heard refrains has been, ‘Dining in is the new dining out’. Dining in includes both food orders delivered at the doorstep, as well as elaborate rounds of home-cooking.
Hence, soon after the world went into a lockdown, a plethora of cooking videos, kitchen hacks, and easy-to-prepare recipes flooded social media. Hashtags like #CurfewCooking and #LockdownCooking generated thousands of posts.
From established chefs to food bloggers, everyone jumped in to tell us how to make the most of supplies at home, and use minimum resources to maximum effect. New recipe planners and kitchen management services also sprang up.
Stashcook, a recipe management and meal planner app, was also born out of such need. It came about when London-based software developer Roy Cockram saw his girlfriend Sarah struggling with meal planning and kitchen organisation.
“The recipes she found were from multiple websites, from big established sites like BBC Good Food, to smaller lesser-known food blogs. All of them had essentially the same content: a list of ingredients, and serving sizes, followed by a method… They were either too complex to understand, too poorly formatted or had pay-walls limiting basic features you’d expect (e.g., 50 recipe limit — a ceiling any seasoned cook would hit very quickly).”
Deeply frustrated with the options available, he built Stashcook to fix this.
The app was launched in September 2020, and has over 10,000 downloads on Google Play Store, with a rating of 4.6 out of 5. On the Apple App Store, it is rated 4.9.
App features: ‘Stash-Plan-Cook’
Stashcook’s tagline is ‘Stash. Plan. Cook.’ and it lets users save recipes from multiple sources on the web (food blogs, cookery channels, news websites, social media, etc.) by simply pasting a URL (or ‘stashing’ it) to create their own virtual cookbook.
It also doubles up as a weekly meal planner and grocery list-keeper, with ingredients automatically pulled from recipes and stacked up in the supermarket aisle order (dairy and eggs, fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, flour and oils, canned and packaged food, etc.).
You can also double tap the ingredients to add to shopping lists manually.
With Stashcook, kitchen amateurs can cook without the clutter, add food notes and reminders, organise recipes in ‘collections’ such as 10-minute dinners, lunch treats, healthy eating, salad delights, weekend desserts, or anything of their choice.
They can also change serving sizes, which will auto-adjust ingredient quantities to suit the portions. Users can also search for recipes in their ‘collections’ by a single ingredient.
Unlike several existing kitchen management apps, Staschook lets you stash as many recipes as you want. There are no charges, limits or subscriptions required.
The app helps save the time and trouble of recipe hunting and daily meal planning, and also prevents cooking from becoming a chore.
Lastly, you can sign in via your Google, Apple, or Facebook accounts to sync and back up meal plans and recipe collections across devices.
Verdict: Nifty addition to your kitchen
Stashcook may not be the first such app in the segment it operates in — there is also Epicurious, Whisk, Yummly, BBC Good Food, Zelish, ChefTap, CookPad, and several others — but it stands out because of its sleek design and simplicity.
The app is professional yet easy-to-use, and will serve as the ideal companion for first-time cooks.
Stashcook automatically shores up the ladder of kitchen management apps because it is free and has no recipe limits. You can pretty much store decades of cooking experience, food history, and information with one click.
The only feature that Stashcook lacks right now is the ability to auto-sync shopping lists with third-party grocery apps. That would save a lot of time and effort in meal planning. Users also have the option of suggesting new features on the app.
With several countries, including India, announcing partial-to-complete lockdowns to combat a second wave, 2021 could also be about ‘dining in’ and home food.
But now, you can ‘stash, plan, cook’ without batting an eyelid!