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Why tech can only go so far in a kitchen

by becky last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:51 AM
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by becky last modified Oct 15, 2010

Induction cooktops, microwaves, ice makers, autoclaves Ok, so maybe not autoclaves.  No doubt, all of the above improve how we get things done in a kitchen. They make surface heating more efficient, save time, and free us of multiple steps. But how far should it really go? There’s a pill for that When I was [...]




 

 

Your drink is ready, Dave.

Induction cooktops, microwaves, ice makers, autoclaves

Ok, so maybe not autoclaves.  No doubt, all of the above improve how we get things done in a kitchen. They make surface heating more efficient, save time, and free us of multiple steps.

But how far should it really go?

There’s a pill for that

When I was in my 20′s I couldn’t have cared less about cooking, recipes, eating in, or worst of all, figuring out what to have for dinner.

Actually, I spent the least amount of time in the kitchen then. Unless it was to get another beer out of the fridge, or heat up last night’s pizza.

I wished for a food replicator on more than one occasion: simple, quick, done!

It’s the ride, too

Now, when I have the time, I enjoy concocting new things to eat. It makes the kitchen smell great. It has made me try new foods & drinks.  Who hasn’t loved walking into the house Thanksgiving Day & smelling dinner for hours before you actually eat?

I’ve long believed in the cathartic benefits of making things.  Meals and drinks are no exception. In fact, the fewer ingredients, the more fun it is to come up with something palatable.

We were low on food during our beach trip, & didn’t want to order or go out.  So I crushed some pistachios & sprinkled them over a layer of cream cheese on a cracker.  I officially named that little experiment Business on a Cracker, by the way. We still make it – even when we’re not short of ingredients!

As I type this, a frozen chicken & cheese burrito is in the microwave. When I don’t have time – or don’t feel like it – I’ll take a shortcut as quickly as the next guy.

IKEA - future kitchen

I have a brain, thanks.

Recently there were several blogposts about Ikea’s vision for the kitchen of the future.  Researchers polled 1,895 people aged 18 to 65-plus years old in the United Kingdom, including Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland about their opinions of kitchens of the future. Their conclusion? It will be

  • sustainable,
  • energy efficient,
  • ergonomic,
  • responsive to health & moods, and
  • reduce user involvement in food prep & cleaning.

We’ve been working hard on those first three, especially in the last 5 years.  And I can totally see the benefits of nutrition guidance and cleaning assistance.

But I don’t think that user involvement should be reduced in food prep, & I definitely don’t want something thinking for me based on my biorhythms & lingering road rage.

We are what we balance

Food is one of the strongest & most important connections we have to the Earth.  We watch our garden each year, eagerly looking for that first tomato, waiting for the lettuce to get big enough to pluck a few leaves, cheering on the ladybugs, and cursing the rabbits. We nourish it. Then it nourishes us.

Every spring I watch the calendar for the availability of strawberries & blueberries. In the fall, it’s apples and squash. In winter, the farmer’s market is a treat for eggs and locally raised meats.

All of that comes to the same place: the kitchen. Then, we clean it & store it & plan how to eat it & when.

In times where we feel we have so little control over life, we should always have the ability to choose what/how/when we eat. We shouldn’t relinquish this earth connection to machines – unless we choose to for that situation.


 

 

 
 
 

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