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Tres Qooq-y!

November 10, 2009

Despite having a lovely collection of cookbooks, I still find a majority of the recipes I use online. Since I don’t want to risk my computer, this means quickly scribbling the recipe in shorthand on everything from Post-It Notes to the back of receipts or margins of subscription cards. Besides feeling a little silly and a little hard to read, this method has occasionally resulted in me not copying a crucial step or ingredient and has almost caused a few ruined meals. So when I came across the French gadget, Qooq (pronounced “cook,” get it??), I was intrigued. This computery device is made especially for the kitchen. It has an easy to clean glass screen and is propped up for convenient reading. Although it doesn’t have a web browser, it comes loaded with 500 recipes and 10 videos and, for $20 a month, automatically downloads new recipes. A constantly rejuvenating electronic cookbook? Sounds pretty sweet. However, it does lack that crucial characteristic that would make it a useful substitute for a printed cookbook or a dirty laptop. The point of an electronic cookbook is that I want to have access to whatever recipe I could possibly want, and if it doesn’t have access to the internet then, well, it’s just a Cookbook Kindle. And for over $500, it just doesn’t seem like enough. (Oh, and another eensy thing: right now it’s only available in France…and therefore in French.)

I’m conflicted when it come to Qooq. On one hand, I love me my gadgets (a little something I inherited from my dad) and my immediate reaction to this is comparable to a puppy at dinnertime. The design is awesome, I love anything with a touch screen, and I’m really into the idea of subscribing to a subscription service. But, I always hesitate when it comes to anything replacing something in print (I say as I’m contributing to the threat against magazines by typing these very words). It’s not like I want an alternative to keep my cookbooks clean, which seems to be its major marketing point – that it cleans easily- because I love it when my cookbooks get dirty and well-worn. How else are you supposed to show that you actually cook from them? If it had the internet on it, I’d be sold on the idea. But, even though it has a USB drive and SD card slot, it doesn’t solve the inconvenience of having to transfer your new, quickly accessed recipes to the kitchen.

If I were to, I don’t know, be hired on the team to bring this product to the U.S, I’d suggest restructuring its point to focus on the subscription service, because the idea of substituting the internet with a constantly expanding and updating cookbook that can immediately be a resource in the kitchen is great. Maybe you could even choose from a list of what types of recipes you’re most interested in too, because even though I subscribe to a handful of foodie blogs, I still find myself skipping over a majority of their recipes. So, with a bit of tweaking, I think Qooq could be a very valuable resource to anyone that loves to cook. But, as is, I think I’ll leave it over there in France.

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