Ignore the slightly misleading title. The subtitle Can't Decide What To Eat? makes this sound like a neurotic weight watchers bible - something Victoria Beckham would buy to help her work out if her latest diet will allow her to have a crouton in her soup. In fact, Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What To Eat? is a recipe book for DS.
It's a very good one, too. With 245 recipes from around the world, there's a great variety of dishes and although it's suitable for beginners, serious cooks will pick up new recipes here. However, we can hear those so-called hardcore gamers sharpening their carving knives because Cooking Guide isn't a game.
Unlike Cooking Mama, you won't be tapping your stylus on the Touch Screen to chop onions, stir soup or fillet fish. There aren't any mini-games because this is all real-life cooking, the idea being that you search for a recipe (either by country or ingredients) on your DS, take it to the supermarket to buy your ingredients and then have it by your side as you prepare your chosen dish in the kitchen.
Recipe For Success
In some ways it's actually better than your average recipe book. If you know your way around the kitchen, you can just check the shopping list, the preparation method and get cooking. Beyond this are levels of detail that Delia Smith would be proud of. On the ingredients page you can see what utensils you'll need and there's a description of each ingredient on the Top Screen which is very useful for food that you might not be familiar with. There's also a neat 'How To Make' instruction on some ingredients so if you were preparing tacos and wanted to make your own tortillas, you can follow the instructions. Then you tap the Cook button and your Cooking Guide (who sounds a bit like Jeremy Irons) will tell you what to do at each stage.
If you need extra information you can tap More Details and your Guide will tell you how to chop an onion, remove seeds from a pepper and so on. Yet the proof is in the pudding and the German Rote Grutze desert that I made with the Cooking Guide's help was very nice, thank you very much. It also taught me to make the best Spanish Tortilla I've ever made and although the British-style Chicken Tikka Masala was a bit too, well, British for my taste, it was quite tasty.
So it works brilliantly, there are some nice hints for varying the recipes and you can add your own notes if you like. There could be a few more vegetarian recipes and deserts but our only real issue is the price. You could argue that £30 is a small price to pay to learn how to cook but it's more expensive than a Gordon Ramsay recipe book, and costlier than the average Touch Generation title. We can only hope it doesn't put anyone off buying what is undoubtedly a brilliant bit of DS software.