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The Once and Future Kitchen

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kitchen peg board

- Fran Brennan

I’m just going to put this out there: I’m a sucker for a good kitchen gadget. I’m even a sucker for a just-okay kitchen gadget. Unfortunately, I also face a shortage of square footage and can’t give up real estate to every strawberry huller that comes along (although I did).

But there are some things I’d actually clear space for. These items don’t exist yet; but technology being what it is, I’m pretty sure they can be made real. Just not by me (I’m an idea person, no follow-through).

Here are a few -- would love to hear yours too!

• You know how some cars have an alarm that beeps when you’re backing too close to the car behind you? I don’t have one, and my rear bumper has the pockmarks to prove it. I want an alarm on my oven that warns me when I’m too close to the hot racks. So my arms and hands don’t look as bad as my car.

• My brother’s kind of in love with the voice in his phone that reminds him to buy his wife a birthday gift. I want a voice like that to read me a recipe as I’m working on it so I don’t have to keep putting my flour/oil/egg-covered hands on my phone or tablet. I’d be in love with that voice, too.

• My running buddy also hates touching stuff with food-covered hands. She dreams of a wall-mounted, voice-activated spice rack that automatically dispenses the exact measure of spice you request so you don’t have to open jars in the middle of a recipe. She also dreams of a cute poolboy to make her coffee every morning, but that’s a different kind of wishlist.

• I’m not ashamed to say it (well, I’m kind of ashamed to say it), but I’ve found more than my share of science projects in my fridge over the years. I’d love re-usable containers that change color as the food in them starts to spoil. Every container in my fridge is happy yellow? Yay me. Light blue? Time to eat those leftovers. Darkest green? Get the Hazmat suit.

• As long as I’m talking refrigerators (and dreaming), can I have one that will give me a recipe using the (unspoiled) ingredients on hand? And how about a refrigerator that’s smart enough to tell me when I’m dangerously low on an item? Maybe that’s a task made for a machine. Certainly no human in my house can manage it.

What are your dream kitchen-gadgets-that-haven't-been-made-yet?


This post is brought to you as part of our Food & Technology Series, in partnership with Intel, a company that is all about making our lives better with technology, just as Food52 is with food.





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Comments (19)


over 3 years ago orlenda

how about a voice that reminds you to "stand back" when you open the oven? I cant seem to remember that and am allways poking my head in there before the heat has a chance to dissapate! My poor face!

I agree that self cleaning appliances would be amazing! (blender, toaster oven, food processor, mixer)


over 3 years ago Madame Fromage

How about a self-cleaning blender? A robot named Al Dente to make the perfect pasta? I love one reader's idea of pulling cold winter air into the freezer. I would love to see indoor window wells for growing indoor gardens -- like reverse window boxes.


over 3 years ago LE BEC FIN

I am enjoying reading about realistically possible wished for items, things that could be invented. In this light , I was pleased to read ideas about automatic oven shelves and refrigerator shelves that come forward. Those would certainly be helpful.

some other ideas:
--I would like to have home sink faucets that are easily operated by knee, or foot(like surgeons have). Aside from freeing up both hands holding a pot or armful of dishes, this would also enable hands or produce or anything- to be quickly rinsed or washed.

--Candy thermometers - why can't someone make a great one? I want an instant digital thermometer with a timer that goes off 5 degrees before the pre-set goal temp (like my does) but that also has :
a telescopic probe that can go from short to long,adjustable for shallower and deeper pots
a flat bar w/ extending arms to clip over the pot edges, that has holes along the bar that allow the thermometer to sit securely on the bar and extend its probe down into the pot's mixture at various points both close to and far away from the pot's sides.

-- a fixture that would serve as a sturdy cap over a receptacle, that would have at its center an adjustable opening , into which an upside down closed bottle could fit and sit vertically, enabling the last of a bottle's contents to accumulate and be usable before the bottle is discarded.

-- the same adjustable fixture could also secure a bulb baster sitting upright in between bastings

--lightweight, thin, burn-proof oven mitts

-- an electric deep fryer with a mechanism that removes sediment from the oil. Maybe a 2 chamber unit modelled after the lock system in a canal- that allows used oil to flow into an adjacent holding chamber, but leaving the sediment in the fryer chamber-to be removed by hand, after which the oil can be directed back into the frying chamber......

--and finally, maybe a fantasy item, but: an air spray that would absorb deep fat frying grease particles in the air.


over 3 years ago SKK

Self-cleaning kitchen floors, Twice a day the floor gets swept and every night the floor gets mopped.
Self-cleaning counter tops would be good to.


over 3 years ago FranB

My dream kitchen is getting much more dreamy. Love all these ideas


over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

how about an built-in wine/beer dispenser on the fridge door??


over 3 years ago Niknud

A woman after my own heart!


over 3 years ago MaryAnnS

I would like a stove that can be programmed so that every different dish I'm making for every different child in my house (including the picky husband) came out perfect at exactly the right moment. No more over-cooked or cold anything. Just perfect and ready to serve.....and maybe some roller-skates to get it on the table at the right time.


over 3 years ago orlenda

you could add a warming drawer to yoru kitchen so foods that get doen early can be kept warm....many ranges coem with warming drawers now....(we use ours for storage though, since we eat teh same stuff and we dont have adequate storage).


over 3 years ago Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

The last thing I'd want would be that the fridge would have a 'blue screen of death', or the Toaster to pester me about software upgrade.

I would like a fridge that pulls cold air from the outside in the winter.


over 3 years ago SKK

I can hear that toaster now "Time for security updates. Toasting suspended until security is updated."


over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I'd be extremely grateful for the dishwasher that empties itself. And as long as we're dreaming here, I'd put the house that cleans itself on the same list.


over 3 years ago SKK

And the trash that sorts itself into appropriate recycle and takes itself out.


over 3 years ago orlenda

I have allways wanted a robot or device that can vaccum stairs...tahts the worst chorse with no easy ways to make it better....


over 3 years ago Bevi

A refrigerator with shelves that are powered to pull out automatically to you can see the full contents. Less food experiments will happen that way. An oven with automatic racks would be nice as well.


over 3 years ago smccassell

I want an oven door that opens to the side, not dropping down right in front of my knees. Had a nice German one that had to be replaced. Its oven door openned to the side, like a refridgerator door. It was very easy to get pans in and out of the over, even when using a water bath. Cleaning was much easier too - no not a full cleaning, let the oven do that but just wiping up a spill or overflow. You did not have to lean over the door to get at the oven. I never realized how much I loved that side openning door until it was gone.


over 3 years ago Niknud

It's like when they invented 'self-cleaning' stoves they forgot to invent 'self-cleaning' stoveTOPS. Grievous oversight in my opinion.


over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Along with the self-cleaning refrigerator.


over 3 years ago MTMitchell

Rosie, the robot from the Jetsons, who could take on things like the washing the dishes, the run-of-the-mill grocery shopping, the prepping of things that I am not good at and always seem to either mess up or hurt myself doing, taking out the garbage, etc. And would also love the beep-beep-you're-close-to-burning sensors, the fridge that says "you have a bell pepper, some onions, tortillas, and some meat in the freezer - how about fajitas?" -- oh, it would be great if the pantry could chime in with something like "there's a forgotten jar of salsa in the back here, too!" -- and the containers that let me know my leftovers have gone from lunch to science experiment.