Ever since the first PC, we've been told our computers would be used in our kitchens to store recipes and how wonderful that will be. It didn't happen. Smart phones and tablets brought the dream closer. Now there's a hands-free and eyes-free app solution. Culinary Pal recipes by voice not only gets the recipes for you, but uses voice control and reads recipe ingredients and directions to you at your own pace.
Anyone who cooks will know how messy it can get. The last thing you want to do is to use a touch screen. The app eliminates this by using intelligent voice control. It takes you step by step to find the recipe you want and the preparations in your own time without being rushed. People who are visually impaired will find the app particularly useful, as it isn't necessary to look at the screen or try to read a recipe.
The first voice command you should try is 'Help'. You'll get a list of commands you can use. The next one to try is 'Exit'. That closes the app. So far, so good. It's important you wait a second or two after the tones and to speak clearly. Speech recognition of any sort is never perfect, so practice is the key.
Culinary Pal had trouble recognizing non-US English accents, the only language the app supports at present. On the TTS (Text To Speech) side of things, you can change the default app voice they call 'Sadie', to a higher quality HD 3rd party one. The developers suggest free IVONA TTS voices available in English variants including US English, UK English and others in male or female versions. The app didn't recognize Samsung's HD voices on my test tablet, but worked fine with the other voices.
You begin by saying what you want to cook. For example, 'Apple Pie'. Culinary Pal returns all the results it found. Then, it reads through the top picks and gives you prompts on what to say next. Say 'Yes' to select a recipe. The magic is when you get to the ingredients list. The first ingredient is read to you. Culinary Pal waits until you say 'GO' before continuing the next one, which gives you time to get it ready. Saying 'Again' will repeat the last item. 'Please wait' is another command you can use to pause.
Once all the ingredients have been read out, you're prompted to continue to the recipe directions. These are read to you one by one, giving you time to complete the step. As before, say 'Go' to proceed. That's all there is to it. Voice control takes a bit of getting used to the commands, but it will be worth it.
Another command you'll need from time to time is 'Sesame'. You can say that if the app isn't responding to you but you still hear the prompt tones. An alternative is to shake your device. A few other commands are worthy of note. 'Back' takes you to the previous screen, or back if you're on a webpage. 'Speak faster' and 'Speak slower' do what you expect. 'Speak normal' resets the speech rate.
If the app doesn't understand what you said, you can say 'Let me spell'. Then you spell out the word or use the well known 'Alpha Tango Zulu Golf' etc. to spell.
Culinary Pal can be used to browse the web. Just say 'Google'. You'll get the same voice prompts to ask you what to do next. It reads web pages for you in the same way it reads you recipes via voice command. To do this, the app needs Google voice search that's present on most devices. If not, you can get it from the Play Store.
The app works well with Bluetooth headsets. You can navigate using the headset buttons. This is useful if you use it to read web pages on your daily commute.
Once you become familiar with how to use Culinary Pal, you can delve into the app settings. You can fine tune the timing of the voice commands and responses and other tweaks.
Culinary Pal uses the allrecipies.com website at present, but the developers plan to add other cooking sites later. Make sure you read through the app details on Google Play for more information. There's more help available from the FAQ links in the app description.
Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or an accomplished cook, Culinary Pal is worth a try. It's like having your own intelligent helper who can guide you every step of the way.
Culinary Pal recipes by voice — Free Mobile App of the Week
Size: 1.2 MB
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