A top-tier chef can whip up a memorable meal using little more than a good knife and a decent set of pans. For the rest of us, there's no shame in getting some help.
Technology has been a dominant part of the kitchen for years. From the blender and food processor to regular advances in familiar appliances, we've been relying on gadgets to help us prepare our meals for most—if not all—of our lives. And just as it has in other fields, technology is not showing any signs of slowing in the kitchen.
Looking to lift your cooking a notch, but don't have time to attend a culinary institute? Or maybe you're just looking to make preparing the evening meal a bit less time-intensive? Or streamlining upcoming trips the grocery store? No matter, there's a gadget for all of that.
Anova Sous Vide
Sous Vide, the practice of cooking food in a plastic pouch and placing it in hot water or steamer, has seen its popularity explode in the past couple of years. And no sous vide machine has been as widely praised as Anova's. The $150 device heats a pot of water to a pre-set temperature so that you can cook food that's vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch. (Meats are generally seared quickly to get a crust once they finish in the bath.) The result is a perfect steak, lobster or pretty much any other dish every time.
Buy now: $150, Amazon
Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker With WeMo
Slow cookers have been a favorite tool of families for years. But the addition of WeMo technology has made them even more convenient. Running late or going to be home a lot earlier than expected? Now, with this $100 device, you can turn the temperature up or down (or even turn the device off) remotely with your smartphone. You can also monitor the progress of your meal and let people know when it's ready, even if you're not there. It has a six quart capacity, meaning there's plenty of room to cook just about any dish.
Buy now: $100, Amazon
We may love the taste of fried foods, but our waistlines (and our hearts) aren't so crazy about them. Philips takes some of the guilt out of the process with this $250 gadget that replicates a deep fryer using just a teaspoon of actual oil and a whole lot of hot air. It cooks food quickly and evenly and will give you that crunch you crave, without the extra fat and calories.
Buy now: $250, Amazon
Samsung Familyhub Smart Fridge
Samsung’s new line of high-end refrigerators have a lot of bells and whistles, but what’s remarkable is they don’t seem to be pointless additions. The embedded camera that takes a picture of the refrigerator's contents every time the door is closed? That can come in handy when you’re at the store. Alerts when a food item has been in there long enough to go bad? Fantastic. And the built-in touchscreen offers recipe suggestions, streams music, and will let you automatically reorder food thanks to a partnership with MasterCard. It’s a strong argument for the Internet of things and the smart home.
Buy now: $3,500 at Best Buy, Home Depot, or Samsung (28 cu.ft or 22 cu.ft)