Open up the box and start drooling--the pictures on the cover of MasterCook Cooking Light 6.0 don't look like any "lite" food we've tasted recently. After we had a glance at Barbecued Flank Steak with Chutney-Bourbon Glaze and the Maple, Fig, and Marsala Pie, we couldn't wait to install the software and start exploring recipes from almost a decade of Cooking Light archives.
After installing Cooking Light 6.0, we were directed to a start page, complete with a table of contents and pictures of delectable-looking treats. The application is divided into eight basic sections, all of which appear on a navigation bar that stays with you as you explore these areas. A MasterList contains every single recipe on the application, from Asparagus with Herbed Cheese on Toast to Chocolate-Cream Raspberry Tart. Once you click on a recipe, you'll get a list of ingredients and measurements, as well as easy-to-follow directions. In addition, there is a vertical toolbar that runs throughout the application, offering opportunities to find out more about specific ingredients, scale your recipes to fit your guest list, edit recipes, and print your selections or e-mail them to friends or family (who knows, you may inspire someone to whip you up a delicious meal).
Of course, with a name like Cooking Light, you have to expect some nutritional analysis. For each recipe, you have the option to click on a heart-shaped icon, which pulls up nutritional information such as total fat, total carbs, sodium count, and more. The application lists the number of grams per serving, as well as the percent daily value per serving, much like the nutritional labels on most packaged food. You can also obtain nutritional information for specific ingredients by clicking on the Ingredient List in the Tools menu. Once there, you have the option to add and remove ingredients, based on personal preferences.
Cooking Light 6.0 also includes a Wine List feature where you can create categories for your wines and group them accordingly. The application even provides a list of sample wines, complete with information about wineries, regions, and years, as well as pertinent notes. Another cool feature is the Meal Manager, which allows you to create weekly menus, meal plans, shopping lists, and more. There's even a small calendar on the bottom of the screen to keep track of dates and menus.
MasterCook Cooking Light 6.0 is jam-packed with features to help you cook tasty yet healthy meals in less time. While most people won't go into depth with all the features (the era of takeout food is far from over), this is a good tool to make cooking more creative and less tedious. Plus, with all of your recipes safely stored on your computer, you won't have to worry about spilling milk on the one copy of Aunt Edna's famous cornbread recipe. --Gisele Toueg