Smart Cooking Appliances Are Hotting Up! What’s In The Connected Kitchen For You?
We know that Smart tech is going to find a really practical home in the kitchen. Find all your recipes, preheat the oven, re-order and do the shopping, turn the lights on so you can see what you’re doing. You can even recalculate measurements automatically if you’re low on one thing or want to make enough to feed an army when the recipe gives you the method for a tiny batch.
The only problem is mess.
With cake mix flying all over the place when you turn the mixer on, gravy dripping from your fingers and water getting everywhere when you try to clean up your tablet or Smart interface could easily get damaged, gummed up or dropped in the sink just when you’re trying to knock up a souffle.
No matter how hard you try not to touch, and you swear you’ll be careful, Murphy’s Law dictates that you’ll drop it, splash it, try to use the touchscreen controls with a spoon or otherwise do something that will in no way help to prolong the life of your devices.
You Can’t Avoid Drips And Drops, You Need Appliances Designed For The Job
What you need is a range of products which are designed not for general household use, but specifically for the kitchen where the need for robust, waterproof and wipe-clean properties have been identified and build in.
There are currently any number of devices on the market which connect to the internet of things, some of them doing the kind of jobs that make you sigh “Finally! I’ve needed something that can do this for years!” and others whose application might be a little more in the realm of ‘technology for technology’s sake’.
So what are we looking at?
First of all, let’s look at the Whirlpool KitchenAid. Why start here? Well, it’s basically a Google Assistant smart display which has been designed with the kitchen in mind. Your smart display is basically your way into your home network. You can talk to it or use the touch screen to control all the other devices you have at home, so one that isn’t going to mind getting splashed, gooped on and wiped clean again is exactly what you need when you’re cooking. You can tell it to show videos, listen to music, call up recipes, order online, everything that you’d expect from a device running Google Assistant, only water resistant.
We’ve Got The Measure Of Food And Drink!
Drop is a set of smart kitchen scales which take a lot of the faff out of cooking. If you’re rubbish at keeping your wet and dry ingredients separated, only remembering to measure the flour after you’ve measured the butter and ending up with a mess then Drop is what you’re after. Weigh the butter, leave it right were it is, re-zero the scale WITHOUT having to fiddle with the tiny knob with wet hands, or mess about finding another bowl… Drop lets you weigh all the ingredients in the same bowl, adding each one in sequence until you’re ready to mix.
The Drop’s ‘smart substitutions’ let you adjust the measurements on the fly, so if you’re short on one ingredient or want to adjust the batch size you can scale all the other measurements accordingly.
A similar device is The Perfect Drink. Like the Drop it measures all the ingredients as you add them, makes substitutions and recalculates the measures if you’re short of anything, but, as the name suggests, The Perfect Drink is for those of us who like our after work cocktails, afternoon snifters and drinks with the vicar served ‘just so’. The problem many of us have is remembering the ingredients of our favourite mixed drinks, for obvious reasons. The Perfect Drink simply needs you to remember the name of the drink, it will then give you the instructions you need to muddle yourself one up just like the best mixologists.
Of course you wouldn’t be short of any of the ingredients if you had the GeniCan device attached to your bin. As you throw packaging away you can scan it through the GeniCan, or just call out the name of the product if the barcode doesn’t work, and it will be added to your shopping list. You can then use the app to send the list to your phone when you next go to the supermarket, or use it to order online and have the whole basket delivered to your door.
Winner, Winner, Perfectly Cooked Dinner
You might be wondering what exactly a smart oven does. And the answer is quite a lot actually. You can tell the oven what you’re about to bake and it will heat up to the correct temperature and not only tell you when the timer says it’s done, it will stop cooking at the right time too. It has cameras so you can check on how things are doing if you’re cooking something that takes split-second timing, without opening the oven every few seconds, meaning that your souffles should never fall or your meringues get burned ever again.
You could buy a smart fridge, or you could buy a fridge cam. Your fridge cam will turn any old fridge into a smart fridge, and the only obvious advantage that the specifically built connected fridge seems to have is that it can play music or video. If you’re already well endowed with smart speakers, media players and radios in your kitchen there seems little point. Instead a simple camera can be fitted in side the fridge which takes a shot every time the door is opened and closed so you can see what’s running low last time anybody grazed on the last of the cheese and didn’t tell anyone. You can use on screen areas to determine when particular products are going to expire so you can get a little alert next time you’re at the shops if you tend not to finish things off and find it’s gone off by the time you next come to use it.
Whether It’s Integrated Or Counter-Top, Convenience Is Key
Cooking appliances are becoming increasingly popular too. Pressure cookers which reduce the cooking time fantastically, slow cookers which stretch it out over hours and sous vide cookers which do it in a plastic bag are all common sights on the shelves of many homes today. There are air-fryers too, which can cook a portion of chips with barely a spoonful of oil yet still produce the crispest, fluffiest chips and other healthier fried foods than can be made by normal frying methods.
What’s so smart about them? Well, keeping your eye on things and knowing when they’re done isn’t as simple as it seems if you can’t see inside, or you need to keep things at a particular temperature for a particular time. Instead, just tell your cooker what you’re making and it will weigh it, judge how long it will take until it’s done to your preference and then take care of the details for you, pinging you a little message when your cooking’s done. So no more overcooked veggies, dried out slow cooked meat or under done treats because you misjudged the timing.
Originally published at www.briantcomms.com on January 11, 2019.