These six cooking gadgets are smart, useful and not mere flashes in the pan
While robots flipping your morning pancakes may be a few years down the road, there’s a lot of cool technology in the kitchen. Peruse this guide to the latest and greatest for six ways to introduce some futuristic flair into the heart of the home.
1. SOUS VIDE MACHINE
Season a few lamb chops, place in an airtight plastic pouch (sous vide—pronounced soo veed—means “under vacuum” in French), and slip it into what resembles a countertop stainless steel bathtub. Why make space for one of these water ovens? Fans rave that you can get moist, restaurant-quality meals with minimal work—the pouch helps fresh ingredients retain their flavor without drying out.
2. INDUCTION COOKTOP
This sleek, flame-free cooktop uses electromagnets (instead of a gas flame or electric coil burner) to heat cookware. Some cooks love the induction’s fast, consistent heating (water boils almost instantly); others find it tricky to master, especially if they’re used to the visual cues a gas flame provides. And you’ll have to ditch your copper and non-stick pans, since induction burners require magnetic, flat-bottomed cookware (such as cast iron or stainless steel). If you aren’t ready to swap out your whole stove for this new cooking tool, get a feel for induction with a freestanding countertop unit.
3. AIR FRYER
Whether your weakness is fried chicken, tempura vegetables or potato chips, this nifty little gadget makes a close approximation of it—but with about 80 percent less oil than traditional frying. Rather than submerging the food in a deep fryer or oil-filled skillet, you simply place it in a wire basket, shut the unit’s drawer and program the time and temperature. The machine circulates very hot air around the food to make it crispy on the outside, and though your fries are never going to taste like you ordered them at a drive-through window, your sweet-potato chips will be a tasty, satisfying snack. Your waistline will thank you.
4. CONVECTION OVEN
This type of oven, which uses a fan to circulate heat evenly around food, was once found only in restaurants. Food cooks faster and browns more evenly than in a traditional model, which relies on radiant heat from the top and bottom and is more susceptible to hot and cold spots. Since many recipes are still written for standard ovens, it may take trial and error to perfect your favorites with convection. You’ll typically need to either drop the suggested temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit or shorten the cooking time by about 25 percent.
5. PRESSURE COOKER
As the name suggests, this appliances cooks food under pressure in a sealed container that doesn’t allow heat or liquid to escape. (Unlike a slow cooker, it does the job very quickly, thanks to an incredibly high internal temperature.) Any food cooked in a liquid will work in a pressure cooker: pasta, rice, stewed meats, and soups. Nervous about food exploding onto your ceiling? Don’t be. Today’s high-tech models come with several safeguards against mishaps (self-locking handles and steam valves) and are foolproof once you read the manual.
6. HANDS-FREE FAUCET
For most cooks, the lousiest part of meal prep is cleaning up. Delta Faucet’s Touch2O Technology® helps you keep things tidy as you go. Just turn on the water with your elbow and those dirty hands of yours never need to touch the faucet. One less thing to wipe!