I’m a dead treeware holdout when it comes to cookbooks, and as such any recipes I save from the web are scattered across Pinboard, Instapaper and Simplenote. But Basil is the app that might just change all that. Yes, it’s another recipe organization app, but there’s a difference. Basil lets you throw in recipes from just about anywhere, formats them and categorizes them ready to use.
Basil isn’t a pretty app. Not in the over-the-top Apple way at least. It is plain and handsome, though, and very easy to use. The interface has a navigation bar on the left side, an instructions pane in the center and the ingredients over on the right. The title, serving size and other information is up at the top, and the app even turns times into countdown timers.
And that’s about it. You can search on titles, keywords, tags, type of dish and so on, and the interface is clear enough to see while cooking. The real magic is in getting the recipes into Basil.
Once you have installed the bookmarklet, tap it and the current page opens in Basil’s in-app browser. All you do is highlight the various sections and touch a button to tell Basil what it is. For instance, you touch to highlight the paragraph containing the ingredients and then tap the “ingredients” button to let Basil know. This takes a few seconds for the rest of the info and you’re done. Better, if you’re using one of the sites listed below, import is automatic.
Food and Wine
And that’s about it. Basil is like the ziplock bag in which I keep my old paper recipe clippings, only it’s more organized, and way easier to find things. Basil is available now for $4.