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HolidayBuyer's Guide
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Android in the kitchen

The new Android Vega Tablet can bring Android into your kitchen.

I get really excited when I see devices like the Android-powered Vega Tablet that debuted last week. The moment I read the announcement, I started thinking of all the ways it could enhance my life.

And where would I use it first? In the kitchen, of course! After a minute or so I realized that there are five Google Android applications that I use on a semi-regular basis with my T-Mobile G1 that would be greatly improved by a device like the Vega.

Grocery List Screenshot by Scott Webtser/CNET

Cooking Capsules allows me to watch cooking shows on my handset so I can whip up a romantic dinner for my wife. I can also search through the Taster Collection videos and watch step-by-step instructions on how to create such delicious dishes as a tofu stir fry or chocolate pots de creme.

While this and the other apps would look nice on my handset, I would simply love to see them on my kitchen counter on a screen large enough to view across the room. The idea behind Cooking Capsules is fantastic, but I've found myself getting close to dripping marinades on my phone twice already.

I downloaded a free application called Grocery List which is exactly as it sounds. Beyond creating a list of items to pick up the next time I am at the store, Grocery List also allows me to swipe my finger across items and check them off as I go.

I also really like the share feature, which lets me send the list to my wife via e-mail or text message. And anytime she asks me if I need anything form the store, I can shoot her my "goodie" list. Still another handy way to use this app is to compile the list of ingredients that we like on our subway sandwiches.

Remember the Milk Screenshot by Scott Webtser/CNET

So, now that I've got a grocery list, an app called Remember the Milk can notify me when it's time to stop at the store.

One of the greatest aspects to the app is that I can have it monitor my location. With the capability to run in the background, Remember the Milk can send the reminder when I'm near the store. Another great option in Android is the capability to customize my home screen with widgets. On that front, Remember the Milk has a very clean, classy widget to help keep me organized.

Healthy Recipes by SparkRecipes allows me to search through hundreds of user-submitted recipes and find something new and exciting to cook in the kitchen. I can search by course, cuisine, or food type. You also can find information, like nutritional facts and preparation directions. You can share long-held family recipes with the masses and if you have special dietary needs you can use filters like low fat, low carb, vegan, etc.

Calorie Counter by FatSecret allows me to search a seemingly endless list of foods for nutritional content. Whether it's a bag of name-brand chips or a rare fruit, I can find out just how healthy my eating choices are. Let's say that you found a bottle of wine in your pantry and you want to find a dish that will match it. With Calorie Counter you can also use the barcode-scanning feature to pull up a list of recommended foods.

What's more, if you're on the Weight Watchers diet, you can keep a food diary and track your points. Calorie Counter isn't an officially endorsed application, but I've found it to be accurate almost 100 percent of the time that I compared it with the official Weight Watchers calculator. There's also an exercise diary and weight tracker to help hold yourself accountable.

These are just five food and dining apps that I've used with Android, but there are dozens of other quality titles in the Android Market. One of the best things about a device like Vega is that it doesn't have to stay in my kitchen. I could take a 7-inch version with me to the store. And why not? I've taken larger notebooks with me before.

How would you use a device like a Vega?