Have you ever been to a restaurant, tried something new and then forgotten what you had to eat the next time you stop by? I know that I have (which is rare, given my standard order) and I’ve definitely forgotten what my girlfriend’s favorite order is, leading to confused stares and a lot of frantic searching as I tear through the menu.
Evernote Food is here to help. A new app that syncs to your Evernote account, Evernote Food wants to be your personal food journal, ensuring that you never forget that excellent meal that you had. Does the app perform as promised, or am I stuck in the same spot as before? Let’s find out.
Given that Evernote is mentioned directly in the application’s name, it makes sense that you would need an Evernote account in order to use Evernote Food (from here on referred to simply as Food, capitalized). Evernote is free to use with a premium option available, and keeps your audio, visual and textual notes in sync across essentially any modern device and the web.
Do You Remember …
Food aims to help you remember all of the dishes you’ve ordered while you’re dining out, or recipes that you’ve created at home. It uses a slick, intuitive interface with the powerful Evernote backend to create a stable, usable solution to a common problem: what did I have to eat?
Adding food into the app is as easy as snapping a picture. In this way it’s similar to The Eatery, which we’ve reviewed before, except you’re saving food for future reference instead of inviting others to judge how healthy your meal was. Photos can be saved as either Large, Medium or Small sizes (1024, 640 and 320 pixels, respectively), allowing you to take full-blown culinary shots or small thumbnails, depending on the space that you have available.
I found that whenever I was able to snap a photo I would agonize over the shot, trying to decide between capturing something that was photographically proficient or something that would actually show me what the food looked like. This may be the amateur photographer living inside of me or it might be a basic urge, but it can get distracting for yourself and everyone at the table as you tell everyone that you need to get just one more angle before you can start eating.
Remember the What and the Where
One of the nicest features of Food is the ability to tag your photos with a location and a caption. Those two capabilities right there are enough to help you find what you’re looking for if they’re used properly.
Let’s say that I had some Sweet and Sour chicken while I was visiting family members. That’s a fairly normal dish from a Chinese restaurant, but there are three different Chinese places that are the same distance from my relatives’ house. Instead of guessing which one I ate at, I can snap a picture of the food and tag it with the location so I know that the New Dragon place was the one with the really good chicken.
Or, on the other hand, let’s say that there’s only the one Chinese place in town and I decided to be adventurous and try something new. As it isn’t a common purchase for me, I want to remember what I’ve ordered so I can get the same thing next time. All I need to do is snap the picture and give it the same title that appears on the restaurant’s menu and I’m ready to order.
Those are just two different uses for fairly basic features that seem trivial until you actually use them. This removes the guesswork from trying to choose where to eat or what you got last time, allowing you to branch out a bit and remember what works (and what doesn’t).
Tagging is the big trend these days. Not as in the game where you run around because Mom is sick of seeing you in the house type of tagging, but as in the bits of metadata that we attach to our notes and files that allow us to find them again when the need arises.
Already present in Evernote, Food can use this feature to help you keep track of just about everything. One use that I can think of is with home-cooked meals, allowing you to tag items by their type, name and the fact that you were actually able to create such a masterpiece in your own kitchen.
Let’s say, then, that you have a box full of recipes from your mother, filled with the sort of things that she would make you when you and your siblings were children. You decide to try each recipe and tag it with something like Mom’s Recipes (you’re very clever) and then, when your siblings call you up and say that they’re homesick, you’re able to see which of mom’s creations have stood the test of time and which were clearly made better by the golden wrapping of nostalgia.
Point is, between tags, names, captions, and places, there’s no reason for you to not know where you ate or what you had.
Evernote Food is an app that does one thing really, really well: allow you to keep track of the meals that you’ve eaten, where you ate and become your culinary lexicon. The interface is well done and the app felt stable in my testings, with syncing taking about the same amount of time as an average sync to the Evernote servers.
Whether or not you have an Evernote account shouldn’t stop you from trying this app. Creating an account is free, the application is free and both are genuinely useful tools that can quickly find their way into your lives, bringing an end to that horrible tip-of-the-tongue feeling.