Calorie counts might be staring you in the face at many eateries around town, but do you know the caloric impact of the delicious homemade grub you greedily shove in your mouth over Buffy reruns? Unless your roommate is a nutritionist, chances are you don't, and the folks at the DOH have come up with a fun killer remedy with their latest free mobile app Calcutter.


The premise is this: create a recipe, enter ingredients and number of servings and the app tells you not only how many calories per serving but also suggests ways to trim calories wherever possible. We took the app for a spin using Paula Deen's (who else?) recipe for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese.


Adding ingredients was simple and meant either using the search bar to look for items or choosing an ingredient from one of the provided categories. Deen's recipe calls for 1 can of condensed Cheddar cheese soup, which the app didn't have information for. The app allows you to create ingredients provided you know the proper calorie information; an area for improvement would allow for barcode scanning—as other apps like MyFitnessPal provide—for easy nutritional information.


The app allows you to specify the purpose of a specific ingredient, whether for a marinade or dredging, then makes allowances depending on the purpose of the ingredient. It's worth noting that the app doesn't give you information about other nutritional elements like sodium content, carbohydrates and other important information, so folks with hypertension or a willingness to follow the Mayor's lead should consider alternate information sources.


Deen's recipe clocked in at 320 calories per serving; not egregious, considering we're making mac and freaking cheese. In order to shave off a few calories, the app suggested using less pasta (yeah right) and substituting the full-fat ingredients like milk and sour cream for low-fat versions, which would bring the calorie count down to 290 calories per serving. It doesn't seem all that worthwhile to use less-flavorful ingredients just to save 30 calories—if you're gonna go for it, go for it. But perhaps with less inherently caloric dishes it might offer some valuable insight.

At the end of the day, if you're someone who doesn't know much about food and is looking to lose some heft, the app could be helpful for you. But honestly, it seems like basic common sense that if you're cooking with full fat ingredients, you're going to make a dish with more calories than, say, a healthful salad of microgreens and grilled salmon. Then again, New Yorkers are more diabetic than ever, so maybe we need the help after all.