IBM first designed its artificial intelligence computer system, Watson, to dominate humans in Jeopardy. Now before the machine takes over the world, Watson is moving on to the finer things in life by releasing a new cookbook, Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson.
If you’ve been longing for a cooking show with smart writing, attractive hosts and a ton of sexual innuendo, look no further than The Katering Show, where Aussies Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney smile for the camera while comparing too-expensive German multi-mixers to gangbangs.
“So, ‘What is a Thermomix?’ I hear anyone under the age of 33 ask,” says the perky McLennan. “It’s a blender, a microwave, an ice bucket and a set of kitchen scales. It’s a gangbang of kitchen appliances that’s created a futuristic robot saucepan. It’s the kind of appliance that your rich mother-in-law gives you as a wedding gift because she doesn’t think you can cook. Or something that you buy yourself because you’ve always wanted to join a cult, but you don’t have the energy for the group sex.”
Right? Now you need to watch the funniest cooking show I’ve ever seen, with the episode about making risotto (hot wet rice) in a gadget that looks like (and costs like) it might have come out of Jony Ive’s design shop.
This week's Gadget Watch has a special summer something for everyone. Fixing up the house? Laying around the house? Getting drunk and stumbling about the house? Then these toolboxes, breathalyzers and hands-free, in-bed iPad stands will serve you well.
The Flare pan looks like an oversized aluminum cupcake cup. It has heat-catching fins on the outside, like the opposite of a heat sink, and a regular-shaped inside. The idea is that the heat (not the flame – keep that turned down like you would for a regular pan) from your gas hob will stream up the sides and pump its energy into the pan through the increased surface area of those fins. The best part of all? It was designed by a real rocket scientist. $150
Excell+1 lens adapter
This magical adapter performs the seemingly impossible. Not only does it put Nikon (or Canon) lenses on your Micro Four Thirds camera body, but it also boosts the speed of the lens by one stop. That’s right – it doubles the maximum amount of light your lens can gather. It also reduces the crop factor of your lens by 0.72x. That won’t keep your wide-angle lenses wide, but it will stop them from turning telephoto. I’m in. $160
When I saw the Tablift, my first thought was “LOL.” And that was my second thought, too, if I’m honest. But as a person who uses his iPad in bed far more than is healthy, I began to see how the stable stand could help me. What’s better than hands-free viewing in the sack? Angle-adjustable hands-free viewing in the sack, that’s what. Yup, you can even tilt it down to watch while lying in bed. You might scare yourself when you wake up, but you’ll never fall asleep and drop your iPad onto your nose ever again. $60
I’m writing about this gadget mostly because of its name – Forked Lightning. It lets you charge two devices off a single USB port, which is certainly handy for those travel situations where you only have access to one power outlet (I’m looking at you, cheapskate hotels). You probably don’t want to plug two iPads 4 into one iPhone charger, but other combinations should fare better. $50
RØDE iXY mic
I don’t even care that RØDE makes great microphones, I just want the new Lightning-compatible iXY to play with. Look at those stereo mics: Don’t you just want to twiddle them? Or try to jam your finger between the barrels? No? Perhaps you’d rather record sound through the two half-inch condenser capsules and onboard analog-to-digital converter. You can totally do that. $200
These Japanese toolboxes, painted in bright blue enamel, are tough enough to use every day, but pretty enough to live in the house without anybody complaining. They go from a stackable small trunk-style box up to the big cantilever model with a double-hinged top level and movable dividers. From $20
Vio Smartphone Breathalyzer
Do you know how many drinks you should have if you’re driving? None. That’s how many. What if you had a couple and then you need to drive, for an emergency or whatever? Nope. Get a cab, or you’ll be killing a cyclist or a pedestrian to do whatever thing is so important that you’re happy to risk another person’s life doing it.
If you insist on drinking and driving, breathe into the BACtrack Vio Smartphone Breathalyzer first – if you’re not too far gone to use the keychain device. The Vio will measure your blood-alcohol content, send the result to your iPhone via Bluetooth, and even estimate how long it’ll take you to return to zero. $70
Solio Sun-Powered Charger
Let’s face it – the people you go to the beach with are boring. They either spend the whole time with their nose in a paperback, or they insist on annoying the rest of the folks on the beach by kicking a volleyball around the place, or whatever it is you do with a volleyball. So, you should either pack some weed and just get stoned, or bring along a Solio Sun-Powered Charger to keep your iPhone going in the bright sunlight, so you never have to interact with your “friends.” $70
Bart van Olphen thinks he can conquer your fear of cooking fish if you’ll just give him 15 seconds.
The seafood chef from Amsterdam uses Instagram’s relatively new video feature for Fish Tales, which is probably the world’s fastest cooking show in this golden age of refined eating.
“People really like the simplicity of the recipes,” van Olphen told Cult of Mac. “You really can learn how to cook in only 15 seconds.”
Cooking shows have been simmering since the early days of television, with pioneers like James Beard and Julia Child unraveling the mysteries of the kitchen. With the emergence of the Food Network in 1993, the format boiled over into a ratings bonanza, turning chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Rachel Ray into celebrities. Now YouTube is home to dozens of shows featuring entrepreneurial cooks seeking to cash in on the foodie craze.
It looks like a chopping board made of wood — but it isn’t, and it isn’t. Instead, Thingk’s Gkilo (we imagine the names were conjured up during an alcohol-induced haze late one night and scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin, then semi-deciphered the next morning) is actually a dual kitchen scale and clock disguised as a chopping board.
LAS VEGAS, CES 2014 – Belkin is really hopping onto this connected-home thing with fiery fervor. They already have a formidable array of Internet-connected devices in their WeMo line — switches, plugs, motion detectors — and now they’ve added light bulbs and a DIY WeMo interface that can be adapted for use with practically anything that’s powered by electricity. Oh, they’ve also just come out with a big, shiny cloud-connected crockpot so you can cook dinner from the office.
MyFlavors for the iPad is a clever recipe app which auto-rips recipes from the web and separates out the various components, tidily parsing out and filing directions, ingredients, photos, the description and the cook time. The app is free, but requires a $5 in-app purchase to actually do more than try it out.
Y’all know Serious Eats, right? It’s the one place on the Internet where you can go to be entertained, educated and properly fed. I’m a fan of cooking, but I generally avoid recipes on the web because it’s hard to gauge their quality until it’s too late. Serious Eats is solid every single time.
And now there’s a Newsstand magazine, and — again — it stands out above the rest.
Sometimes an inventor comes up with something so mold-breaking, so truly original and – in hindsight – obvious that the world changes just a little bit. Today we bring news of such an Earth-shaking discovery. It’s called the iSpoon, and considering that it’s made for cooking, there’s a delicious irony in the fact that it mixes together two ingredients to make the perfect blend. It’s a synergistic, spoon-shaped supper, if you will.
Anyone knows that the key to anyone’s heart is their stomach, gender stereotypes be damned. If you can make that special someone the perfect meal, you’re way closer to being a better lover than someone who has to continually order out. Making a meal for another human being is a delight for both the cook and the recipient, feeding both mind and soul, if done well. What better way to show you care than with a meal you make yourself?
The problem is, how? First off is confidence. As Julia Child said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Equally important for us cooking newbs, however, is a good cooking app or three.
Check these out for your Valentine’s Day dinner, or any time you want to make your significant other feel just a bit more significant.