The Cool Kitchen of 2110

By / Food / July 28th, 2010 / 1

Do you ever wish that your kitchen appliances and utensils would just prepare your meals for you? Maybe you love to cook but sometimes feel at a loss about how to bring together the mishmash of ingredients waiting forlornly in your fridge and pantry.

Well, has MIT got the answer for you! Of course, you’ll have to wait about a hundred years before you can actually use any of the technology. In the meantime, imagine a time when every appliance and every utensil will be somehow wired to the internet. Utensils will lock into web-based recipes and techniques, and will help you cook up fabulous meals, while dishes will be recycled right in your own kitchen. Thanks to Cari Martens at CultureWaves for tipping us off to this potentially amazing idea.

The kitchen of the future will do most of the work for you, reports Alok Jha, writing for The Guardian. You (well, not you, but someone like you a century from now) can pull a random collection of ingredients from your cupboard — some vegetables, a few spices, a half bag of pasta — and pass each item in front of the webcam next to your cupboard. Moments later, a screen on your fridge displays a delicious recipe.

Martens explains: While you cook, your utensils let you know if you’re making the recipe properly — if you’re stirring too long, or if the temperature is too warm or too cold, etc. After dinner you bring the plates over to a box next to the sink, which then recycles them to produce new plates for the next meal. Your cupboard is programmed to take inventory and automatically add items to your shopping list when supplies are low. Sensors in the kitchen keep you safe from fires or poisonings. It’s all part of a project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called Counter Intelligence.

Despite all the latest improvements of the last couple decades, today’s kitchens “remain dangerous and messy places, and in a world that is increasingly vying for our attention, we are abandoning the hearth for a meal on the run.” So reads the mission statement for the MIT project. The statement continues: “Our goal is to reverse this trend to make the kitchen the center of family life by providing technologies that improve functionality and engage us cognitively and socially.” Counter Intelligence has been an ongoing operation for years, helping creative engineers develop and build prototypes of advanced kitchen appliances and utensils (such as a spoon with tiny sensor to measure the temperature, acidity and viscosity of the food you’re preparing).

So while NASA is scaling back, science is working to make our kitchens more efficient and safe. Instead of focusing on Mars, we’re developing a better way to make meatloaf. Who knows? Maybe some of these exciting kitchen advancements will be available before 2110. Like, during our lifetime would be nice. Stay tuned for further developments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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