Category Archives: kitchen

Remembering Marie.Antoine Carême

Have you ever wondered how our modern kitchen routines got started? For example, who were the first celebrity chefs? How did they achieve their status?

If you are intrigued by these questions, the check out the life of Marie-Antoine Carême, the first celebrity chef.   How is this to get the story started

The bustling Paris streets were rutted and caked in thick mud, but there was always a breathtaking sight to behold in the shop windows of Patisserie de la Rue de la Paix. By 1814, people crowded outside the bakery, straining for a glimpse of the latest confection created by the young chef who worked inside.

Yup. It was the young Carême. What were the people looking at?

Carême fashioned edible replicas of the late 18th century’s most famous buildings — crumbled confectionery ruins of ancient Athens and pastry towers of Chinese fortresses with flowing trellises of appetizing greenery. Bailly displayed these opulent creations — often as large as 4 feet tall — in his bakery window.

And he was still just a teenager. He went on to cook for diplomats, kings, and Napoleon as well. He also wrote cookbooks that set the standard for the day.

Image result for carême

Very cool!

The Ultimate Kitchen Assistant

We need to get this right, and sooner or later we will. But for now, we are still just sketching out what we need from tech in the kitchen. Here are the main tasks

  • MENU – Giving me immediate curated ideas for menu planning. That should include both access to ideas from media that I can prioritize, as well as my personal menu favorites and tracking what I make and how it came out
  • STOCK – Tracking what I have and what I need to buy as well as my kitchen budget. This would include knowing which store in my home town stocks what and making special orders as needed, Yes, for the wine cellar as well
  • PREPARE – Step by step assistance when I am cooking – which would include on demand access to videos of chefs doing the same thing.
  • SHARE – Options to connect with people who share my interests in the kitchen. That would include chat about dishes as well as accessing local events.
  • UPGRADE –  Tracking new and improved kitchen gadgets, tools and accessories. Everything from trash cans to sous vide cookers.

So, is this too much to ask?

Johnny Grey and Goofy Kitchen Design

By now, it is difficult to conceal the fact that the “smart home” is not yet very smart. The promise of a Jetson’s lifestyle is not in sight. This is most noticeable in the kitchen. We have a few devices that talk to us, but ordering a pizza for home delivery is still best done by phone.

Joe Ray puts his finger on why we seem stuck. We have not yet decided what we want from our smart  kitchen. More precisely, what experiences in the kitchen do we want improved?  Do we want push button convenience, or do we want a learning experience? Or do we want more and better social experiences?  but putting a camera inside a fridge doesn’t do much. Nor does connecting all of your kitchen gadgets to your smart phone.

For example, my new Anova cooker is a dream. But the thing about it is that I don’t have  to worry about temperature or timing. The machine holds the temp steady and timing doesn’t matter. I can even overcook for an hour or two with no ill effect. So why do I need a smartphone app that offers a timer and  temp control?

My own thinking is that we need tools that better connect four main activities in the kitchen (1) menu planning — including finding inspiration, adjusting to the seasons, and linking to my dining out regime  (2) food and gadget shopping, (3) cooking — and tracking how well I do over time with dishes that I like to eat, and (4) cleaning and storage. For me, the tech ecology that provides better connections between these would most improve my lifestyle.And any one or all could be improved by adding an appropriate social dimension.Most important, tech can make tracking what I do and how I do it much easier, so that I can get more out of my time in the kitchen. Tracking and planning are two sides to the same coin.

Anyone offering that?

Falling in Love with a Pot

What is an Instant Pot? it looks like this

Image result for Instant Pot

I can hear it now, “So what? It is just a pot!”  That is true. it is just a pot. And so a Porsche is just a car.  A Monet is just a painting. Need I say more. Errr … probably, yes.

Ok . How about this from BA’s Amanda Shapiro?

… most importantly, this retro-future cylinder of joy will help you eat better food. I’m more of a dump-a-can-of-tuna-over-spinach person than a simmer-on-low-for-three-hours person, but if I can make osso buco in 45 minutes, I’m pretty likely to do it. For the more patient cooks out there, the Instant Pot does work as a slow cooker too. And did I mention it makes rice perfectly? And yogurt? And that you’re going to lose 20 pounds? But seriously, no more charred rice on the bottom of every single damn pan

Still not persuaded? How about this from Kelli Foster at Kitchn

At some point over the past eight months, without realizing it was happening, I completely fell in love with my Instant Pot. Yes, the very one I was so skeptical about in the beginning. I now understand all the praise and rave reviews I read months ago, and I feel the very same way myself.

Bottom line —- this pot will make you a better cook.

go for it!

Whoah! I am Now Anova Capable!

A few days ago, I posted going sous vide.

I wasn’t sure which sous vide cooker to buy, and based on reviews that I saw on the net, decided to go with the Anova. It looks like this

Image result for anova sous vide

Well, the package arrived today! Hooray!

I will be cooking with the Anova over the next week or so and give you some feedback on my first impressions.

I am excited! And “no” I am not getting paid to do this. I just want to go sous vide, dude. You should too!

It is time to go Sous vide!

I noticed a NYT article today about how sous vide devices have become more affordable. In fact, this is old news.  Go to my Luxe Shopping page and scroll down the alphabetical list for “kitchen” to find some comparative reviews of sous vide devices — you will find that they are all pretty similar, but the Anova comes out on top.

I will be diving into sous vide with an Anova for €199 directly from Anova. More on this later.

I am excited!

FOLLOW UP – The order is in! I am waiting.