02 February 2010
Personal Trainer: Cooking - Nintendo DS
I’ve worked in my share of decent restaurant kitchens and I’m here to tell you: This “game’s” demonstration for filleting anchovies (among other fine tutorials) is as good as I’ve seen anywhere.
Personal Trainer: Cooking not only makes planning and creating meals easy and fun, it makes you want to cook. That’s an impressive accomplishment for this unassuming little non-game. That’s right. This is not a game. Not even close. As Nintendo continues to redefine what a gaming console (or handheld, in this case) can do, they struck gold with Personal Trainer: Cooking.
Evidence of this is not only in the fact that the software is successful in helping people of all skills turn out fine meals, but that it has the one quality all good cookbooks have: You can’t put it down. Like a good cookbook that is fun to read even when you’re not cooking, Personal Trainer: Cooking is fun to explore any time. I found myself searching the globe with its cool country-by-country recipe finder looking for exotic dishes. Or I’d set a calorie limit (or just punch in the staples I had in the pantry) and see what I could come up with. If that’s not enough, the training videos included are excellent.
One small but important feature: Voice activation. Once you get cooking you don’t have to touch the DS again. You can tell the DS to repeat a prior step or continue on and it will recognize your voice. This beats thumbing through a cookbook with panko bread crumbs pasted onto your hands or fumbling with your remote control to pause that episode of Molto Mario you recorded.
The title boasts well over 200 recipes from around the globe. A calendar feature keeps track of the recipes you’ve cooked. The ingredient manager makes this an easy way to go shopping. There’s even a handy onboard calculator to keep your spending in check at the market.
I’m not about to give up on my obsession with collecting and reading cookbooks, but I will say this is easily the best $20 you’ll spend on any cooking gadget or book in your life.
By Victor Paul Alvarez