Emerging Kitchen Technology Improves our Quality of Life


Emerging Kitchen Technology Improves our Quality of Life

Nowadays it is hard to imagine a kitchen without a microwave oven or automatic dishwasher.   Add the long list of small appliances designed to save us time and personal energy… from food processors to immersion blenders … and it is clear that advancing kitchen technology has had a direct impact on the quality of our lives.

We may take these conveniences for granted, yet only 50 years ago most of these did not exist.  I grew up in a home built in 1957; and I remember how thrilled my mother was to have a kitchen with reasonable cabinet storage, laminate counters, a double sink, electric cooktop and separate wall oven.  So modern!  I vividly remember, in 1973, the acquisition of our first microwave oven and the excitement that surrounded it.  Food on the table in less than 3 minutes!  Shortly thereafter, we acquired an automatic dishwasher, and our first self-defrosting refrigerator/freezer.  These three conveniences significantly impacted the quality of our life and in particular … my mother’s.  They allowed her more free time to pursue other interests … expanding time previously focused on household chores to time spent painting beautiful watercolors.

The evolving technology in today’s kitchens is mind-boggling.  Following are examples of new technology that will likely become household standards at some point in the not-so-distant future.

Counter-intelligence.  There currently is a focus to integrate digital technology into solid surface countertops.  The precursor to this technology was introduced by Hewlett-Packard for the Disney Innoventions Dream Home, where a computer screen, imbedded in the countertop, reads UPC codes, recording them into inventory.  It will tell you when your eggs expire and if you name a dish, the ingredients light up on this interactive countertop as its voice (Lil’) talks you through the recipe.

Stainless that is … well … stainless!  Labs are currently working on types of stainless steel for use in the kitchen that will be truly free of fingerprints as well as bacteria.

Blast Chiller Technology.  LG, a Korean manufacturer of appliances, has introduced a technology available in their high end refrigerators that ‘speed chills’ beverages. Designed into an extra drawer in the fridge, ‘blast chill’ will chill a 12-ounce can in about five minutes or a bottle of wine in eight minutes rather than the typical 40 – 60 minutes.

No ‘Watched Pots’.  Cooktop sensors are in development that will alert you when contents of a pot are boiling and then automatically reduce the heat to a preset simmer for a preprogrammed length of time.  No more ‘boil-overs!’

Truly Home Grown!  Aeroponic garden technology is already in use by a Chicago based chef to provide fresh produce in his restaurants. Using a solution of water and nutrients to mist the roots of plants, this efficient (and neat) soil-free method of agriculture will eventually find its way into our homes.

Many other new developments exist even if they have not been brought to market yet.  Just as our mothers were ‘amazed’ by what a microwave oven did to ease their kitchen workload … our children and grandchildren will experience kitchen technology we can only imagine.

Rebecca Gullion Lindquist, CMKBDI am a columnist for Duluth Superior Magazine, a monthly publication dedicated to the finer attributes of life in our Northland.  My column appears in the Style section and is titled ‘Living by Design’.  The following column was published October 2013.

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