The digital kitchen

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Cooking no longer requires reading printed recipes and thumbing through stacks of cookbooks to come up with tonight's meal. The printed cookbook is a thing of the past. You can now access an array of recipes using your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other digital device. According to a study conducted through Google, in collaboration with Mcgarrybowen and Kraft Foods, 59 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds go into their kitchen with either their smartphones or tablets. Creating a digital kitchen of your own doesn't require purchasing new appliances-all you need is your smartphone or computer.

Recipe websites

The quickest way to ditch your printed cookbooks is to access one of many free recipe websites including All Recipes – http://allrecipes.com/, Epicurious – http://www.epicurious.com/, Food Network – http://www.foodnetwork.com/, Fine Cooking – http://www.finecooking.com/ and Betty Crocker – http://www.bettycrocker.com/. Recipe websites are free to access, viewable on any web-based device and offer a variety of meal and drink recipes as well as cooking videos. The websites also enable you to print shopping lists of ingredients and read cooking tips. If desired, you can even download and print recipes and create your own cookbooks. Some recipe websites also let you become a member. Membership includes the ability to digitally save recipes, receive recipes via email, submit recipes and join in discussion groups. Membership is usually free.

Recipe apps

Like recipe websites, recipe and cooking apps are also available for your smartphone. The apps, which are not always free, are available for Apple's iOS, Android and Windows smartphone platforms. The apps enable you to access libraries of recipes, create shopping lists, view videos and retrieve cooking tips. If your smartphone is wirelessly connected to a printer, you can even print recipes and shopping lists, if desired. Food Network, All Recipes and Epicurious offer apps as well as MealBoard, Healthy Recipes, Yummly Recipes and Home Chef, to name a few good sources. Recipe app prices vary, but start at a low of $.99. Free recipe apps usually offer in-app purchases and can be removed at any time.

Cooking videos

If you are a beginning cook or you do better actually watching someone prepare a meal, YouTube and Google Videos offers hundreds of cooking videos for free. The videos include step-by-step procedures and even shoots of finished dishes. Some videos offer tips on preparing alternative versions of presented recipes. YouTube and Google videos are accessible on your smartphone, tablet, laptop and other web-based devices.

Message groups and cooking blogs

Recipes and cooking tips are also found within other Internet services, including message groups and cooking blogs. Enter the keywords "cooking message groups" or "cooking blogs" in any search engine and you will find an array of recipes and cooking tips. You can also search locally for individuals or groups that offer recipes and tips. Message groups and cooking blogs are free and can also offer answers to any cooking questions and dilemmas.

Other websites

You can also find recipes, cooking information and tips on other websites, including Pinterest (a visual social media network that consists of pictures and links to websites) Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr (a visual, bloglike social media network). Recipes are also available on national grocery store chain websites like Whole Foods, Albertson's, Kroger and Trader Joe's.

Your digital kitchen

Your digital kitchen awaits. You don't have to spend any money, if you don't want to, and you don't have to spend precious time thumbing through cookbooks and recipe files. Entire meals, drinks and snacks are easy to prepare by accessing recipes or cooking videos via your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other web-based device. You can create your own digital cookbook within your digital kitchen by joining one or more cooking/recipe services and creating an account. So put those cookbooks away and step into the digital cooking age.

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