A New Gadget for Storing Recipes, and a Killer Lentil Stew


The other day I saw an advertisement for The Digital Recipe Reader. Kinda cool, as it has a 7″ touch screen, holds up to 2,500 recipes and not a single tree was hacked nor CO2 emission spent delivering cookbooks. Sold through Neiman Marcus, the ad said that owners have access to a gaggle of exclusive NM recipes in addition to the few hundred preloaded ones. The Reader also syncs to an online database that can be customized. Pretty nifty – this, too, can be yours for a mere $300. I did a little research to see if anyone had test-driven it and found a wonderfully snarky review on Wired.com. Writer Jose Fermoso had me laughing at the headline, which reads:

Digital Recipe Reader Copies iPhone UI, Scams Grandma

After a few paragraphs he goes on to say: “The problem is that [The Reader] is $100 more than the cheapest iPhone (8GB), which could easily serve as the main kitchen helper and access thousands of recipes online. (Did anyone say Epicurious?) The only apparent difference between the devices is that this one is ‘splash resistant,’ and of course, doesn’t make calls, play movies, or have hundreds of interesting other online applications, like the steak cooking timer.”

But as I gazed at the advertisement and saw the perfectly art-directed image of the reader, one thing became very clear: a simple recipe for spiced red lentil stew was displayed as an example of what a potential owner could expect. It was free. And delicious.

Spiced Red Lentil Stew
1 cup red lentils
1 carrot coarsely chopped
1 onion coarsely chipped
2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 2 tablespoons)
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chopped parsley or cilantro (I had none)

Cover lentils with water in a bowl and stir. Drain, rinse, rinse and repeat until the water is clear. Place lentils in a pot with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that develops on top (I had none). Reduce the heat and remaining ingredients. Partially cover and cook over low heat until the stew is thick and lentils are soft, 45-60 minutes. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.