Courtesy of Nintendo
Compatible with the Nintendo DS, DSi and just-released DSi XL, the software has cooks-in-training use its touch-screen technology to choose dishes to prepare, then divvies up tasks among family members or friends. Cartoon chefs talk you through each step of every recipe, and the program includes instructional videos on kitchen basics like chopping an onion and mincing garlic.
Still, why replace your favorite tried-and-true cookbooks with a touch-screen gadget? Some home cooks won't want to, but Nintendo says its software can do all sorts of things that the traditional ink-on-paper recipe collections can't.
"It's more interactive, more fun, more informative and it's something you can engage the kids in a little bit more," Nintendo assistant PR manager David Young told Slashfood. The software offers "300 recipes that were really rigorously tried out by America's Test Kitchen, so the food itself is great," he said.
"Let's Get Cooking" has other features like a built-in shopping list that can be used when buying the necessary ingredients. The program also allows users to create profiles for each member of the family or person in the group, so kitchen duties that aren't appropriate for children – like handling knives or heat – won't be assigned to them. "It's a fun way for families to cook together," Young said.
At a recent event to promote "Let's Get Cooking" and the new Nintendo DSi XL, a group of journalists used the hand-held systems to make a St. Patrick's Day-themed meal.
A number of attendees said they'd use the software again, but some were skeptical about whether people would be willing to toss out their cookbooks and start using the Nintendo system instead.
"Let's Get Cooking" isn't without its glitches, either. When there is a lot of background noise, for instance, the voice activation technology goes haywire and keeps skipping ahead to future steps. To combat that problem, users are able to turn off the voice prompt. The DSi XL, details of which are being released for the first time Monday, is a newer version of the DS and DSi -- with upgraded photo and audio technology and more built-in applications.
Users can distort, add graffiti and merge the pictures they take together, play with music and sound, chat with other DS owners using images and text and create animated flipbooks.
"America's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking" costs $19.99 and is rated E for Everyone.