Bacon cheeseburger meatballs. Bacon cornbread. Fried coriander bacon with salsa verde. Is your mouth watering yet? Ours definitely was when we checked out “The Better Bacon Book” ($5) cookbook app for iPad from Open Air Publishing. The interactive book is stocked with information on everything bacon – from recipes to where to buy the meaty goodness to a slideshow of bacon throughout time – but we wish they took the interactivity a bit further.
The book opens with a tutorial on how to use the book – a feature we thought was kind of strange. Is this book really so complicated that you need a manual to navigate it? But the how-to page does explain a lot, showing you how to bookmark pages you like, skip around from chapter to chapter, take notes and make comments. The ability to read from beginning to end or jump to exactly what chapter you want is a plus.
The intro also includes the lowdown on different types of bacon, step-by-step instructions on how to make your own bacon and recommendations for where to buy the best mail-order bacon. Throughout the book, there’s links users can click on such as a contributor’s restaurant Web site, and pop-up glossary terms.
Then we get into the meat (no pun intended) of the book – chapters containing recipes split into breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, side dishes and condiments, snacks and appetizers and cocktails. Yes, we said cocktails. Our favorites were the maple bacon sticky buns, fat kid burger (with bacon, sour cream and onion potato chips and salsa con queso) and bacon crème brulee. But there were only around five recipes per section, which seems a bit barren for a cookbook.
The presentation seemed to lack overall organization, though. For example, the Bacon Through Time slideshow wasn't consistent in its chronology, and one of the videos clearly wasn’t done professionally: Butcher Tom Mylan looks disheveled and can’t stop saying “like,” not to mention he appears to be drinking whiskey, which could be part of his gimmick but just comes off as unprofessional. Yet another video featuring Mylan was scripted and well thought out.
The minds behind “The Better Bacon Book” hit a goldmine with their idea, but their execution wasn’t as smart. More time could have been put into the book to present a well-executed experience. Although we definitely enjoyed some of the features and especially the recipes, something about the book seemed inconsistent.