For both beginner and advanced cooks, there are numerous websites and iOS apps to go to for recipes. A recipe doesn't have to be complicated to be good, so if you are just learning, start with the easy ones. Don't worry if you make a mistake—it happens, and the result might even be tasty!
The Food Network cable channel has their own website and an iOS app called In the Kitchen.
At the top of the website home page are links to their most popular shows and then links to access all of their shows. There are links to full episodes and links to different Food Network chefs. There are separate links to recipes from the various chefs. There are at least three ways to navigate: via the Tab key, via the links hot key, or via the Arrow keys.
The Food Network's search form consists of an edit box and a search button. A search for "Beef Stew" with the search form yielded many results. The list of results was found with the headings hot key. There were several sub categories including: Recipes, Videos, Articles & Blog Posts, and Episodes. Selecting the Recipes subcategory resulted in a page that gave the option to refine results by various categories including chef, show, and cuisine. The beef stew recipe I selected had very clear step-by step instructions. There was an option to play a video about making the stew.
If you want to save a recipe, first create an account. Then select the "Save" checkbox in the recipe and it will be saved to your recipe box.
This website has many links and can be very cluttered. Using your screen reader's hot keys for headings, links, and forms will be helpful. Recipe instructions are very clear. If you have an iOS device, consider using the Food Network's app, In the Kitchen.
In the Kitchen
In the Kitchen is a free app for iOS from the Food Network. The app requires iOS 9 or later.
At the top of the homescreen is a list of topics including: Slow Cooker, Healthy, Weeknight Dinners, and Desserts. There are five tabs at the bottom of the screen: Home, Chefs, Shows, Search, and My Stuff.
When using this app be aware that the initial screen can be cluttered and VoiceOver may indicate that you are on a different page. When this occurs, either swipe back to the page you want or close the app and re-open it.
For this demonstration, I selected the Slow Cooker topic and when the next screen loaded, I selected "Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes" from the list of categories. There were 51 recipes.
I chose Beanless Beef Chili. On the recipe screen, there were options to Save, Share, Add to Pinterest, and Read Reviews. Next were the chef's name, level of difficulty, and servings.
Under the ingredients heading was an edit box to add a note followed by the ingredient list. VoiceOver read the list in its entirety. Individual items can be read with either the character or word setting in the VoiceOver rotor.
After VoiceOver read the ingredients, it was necessary to swipe up with three fingers to find the directions page for making Chili. Again, VoiceOver read all the directions without stopping. Using the rotor set to words, worked well. Directions were very clear.
In order to save recipes, it is necessary to create an account. You can sign-in in various ways including email, Facebook, and Twitter. When the save icon is selected, there is no indication that the recipe was saved. To check, go to the My Stuff tab and it should be there.
The Chef tab lists all chefs from the Food Network. Selecting a chef will load a screen with the recipes available from him or her. There are two radio buttons to select whether the list should be sorted by date of airing or popularity. The recipe list is easy to read with VoiceOver and the recipes are easy to read.
The Shows tab contains a list of shows on the Food Network. Selecting one of the shows will bring up a list of recipes from that show. They can be sorted the same way as in the Chef tab.
The Search tab begins with an edit box that says, "I'm Craving." When letters are typed into the edit box, a list of options will appear below the box. Select the result you want. For example, I typed "yams" into the edit box and the resulting listing included yams, candied yams, and sweet potato pie. I selected candied yams and got several recipes from which to choose. At the top right of the screen is a "Filter" button for refining results.
On the same page as the search edit box is a list of ingredients including chicken, ground beef, and pasta. Selecting one will bring up a list of recipes that include the ingredient.
The In the Kitchen homescreen can be a bit confusing. If you are having trouble finding a recipe, consider using either the Chef, Shows, or Search tabs to begin your search. There are some ads on the screen, but you can just scroll past them. This site provides a wealth of information. Some recipes do include videos.
Food.com recipes come from home chefs rather than professionals. The site includes recipe reviews.
This website has links with recipe suggestions including Popular Chicken Recipes, One-Dish Meals, and Our Newest Recipes.
The One-Dish Meals link brings up a list of recipes. Navigating by headings moves through the recipe titles. Navigating by link gives more detail about the recipe including chef and the option to save the recipe.
I selected a recipe labeled "Delicious Pot Pie."
When the next page loaded, I found the name of the recipe with my headings hot key. Unfortunately, there were photos and a lot of other unrelated information under the name. By using the headings hot key several times, I finally got to the recipe. Another way to get there would be to use the screen reader's Find command and search for the word "ingredients." Using the Up Arrow, I found the prep and cooking times and a link to nutrition information. The recipe was clearly written. Reviews were found by using my Find command with the word "Reviews."
Food.com has a search form consisting of an edit box. Once text is entered, use the Return key to execute your search. I typed in "candied yams" and with the headings hot key found I had 136 results. Before the actual recipes, there were several sorting links including Healthy and Popular. Recipes were displayed as described above.
On the recipe page is an option to add the recipe to your Recipe Box. An account must first be created to use this feature. As with many other websites and apps there is more than one way to sign-in. Find the link to add an item to your Recipe Box by using the screen reader's find command or navigate by links.
This website has a good deal of clutter. Screen reader navigation hot keys are necessary in order to get through all the links and other information on the screen.
Yes Chef Hands Free Recipe Assistant
Yes Chef is a free (or pay $4.95 per year to remove ads) iOS app. It requires iOS 8 or later.
Yes Chef lets you find recipes, go through the cooking process, save recipes, and more just by using your voice. The developer has consulted with people who are blind to insure that this app is accessible.
The first time the app launches, it presents an option to listen to the tutorial. The word to get Yes Chef to listen is "Chef." The app will play a tone and will then listen for a command. The app can follow 29 commands including: search, play, pause, repeat, courses, and save recipes. At the top left corner of the screen is a "Menu" button. This menu has options for setting speech parameters, playing the Quick Start Guide, the list of voice commands, and more. The "Close" button is at the top left of the screen.
The Quick Start guide is extremely useful. It gives lots of important information including how to search for a recipe, control Yes Chef's speech, ask questions regarding ingredients, and make a recipe.
I asked Yes Chef to search for roast chicken. There were 13 recipes. Recipe names could be read one at a time or all at once. When I found a recipe I wanted, I could not get the app to stop reading the remaining recipe titles. I needed to have the app go through the list one at a time and then I was able to tell the app the recipe I wanted.
I chose roast lemon pepper chicken with potatoes. Although I had Yes Chef read me the ingredients and directions, I could have used VoiceOver gestures to go through the recipe. Everything was clearly labeled and there was no clutter on the screen.
At the top of the page were options to save the recipe, share it or upgrade to remove ads. I instructed Yes Chef to save the recipe. The app responded, "Recipe Saved."
You can also manually search for a recipe. There is a standard edit box for entering text or dictating your search. Double tap on a result. Yes Chef will immediately start speaking.
This app is easy to use with VoiceOver or with the app's speech. It is uncluttered and all elements are clearly labeled. Sometimes the app didn't get what I was saying, but I could just repeat my message or use Voiceover to perform an action. If you are new to iOS, this app would be an excellent place to start.
The iOS apps were easier to navigate than the websites. Yes Chef was the easiest of all, but with a bit of practice, Food Network's In the Kitchen app works well. Unfortunately, many websites continue to have clutter, making them more difficult to use. If you have an iOS device, I would use the apps and forgo the websites.
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