There isn’t a room in the house that has been given the futuristic treatment in sci-fi more than the kitchen, or the garage, or the family room, and certainly not the sunroom. I don’t know what a solarium is either, but I want one.
We envision fully automated kitchens where the eggs travel down a small conveyor belt to a frying pan and the fruit is sucked into a vacuum juicer, and we adjust the brightness of the morning sun via remote control.
That’s what we imagine, then we look around our current kitchen at the overcooked eggs in shells, the beat-up refrigerator making loud, creepy noises that startle the dog, and a pack of ants walking away with an undercooked slice of bacon. This is good.
Smart kitchens are not what you dream of doing
Even if you have one of those fancy smart kitchens, it’s hardly an improvement. Yes, your smart fridge has a camera that can remotely display what you need via an app while you’re at the grocery store, but its best feature is still keeping things cold. And yes, your smart toaster uses an LED display to show how close you are to finishing your toast, but that old lady in your cupboard giving you third-degree burns can do the job just as well.
Smart kitchen appliances are obviously cool and fun, but they don’t measure up to anything in the world. Jetsons, and you’ll never know until they actually start making food for us. We don’t need a fridge that has Wi-Fi; we want one that will give us a beer on demand and automatically throw away that bag of expired, wet lettuce.
We don’t care so much if our oven can perfectly cook the turkey; we want our oven to shred the turkey and give the bad parts to our annoying uncle. We want our smart dishwasher to unload itself. And while it’s nice that our smart toaster can toast anything from bagels to English muffins with perfect precision, we want it to also butter our toast and drone it to bed for us. is it too much to ask? Probably.
When you go for a smart kitchen, go small
Looking at the vast field of smart kitchen appliances, it’s clear that you may be better off going small when going smart. There’s not much argument against the automatic pot stirrer that frees you up to go play wiffleball and a smart meat thermometer that lets you monitor that roast on the grill while yelling at his son for losing a spot on the lawn. I would buy those.
I’d also buy the smart microwave that knows I’m probably going to overcook or undercook what’s in there, and the trash can with an automatic sensor so it pops open when I’m angrily throwing food away. I’ll even grab the smart toaster when they add a few more creative features.
This is not to say that all small kitchen appliances are useful. This milk cooler is a bit silly, smart coffee mugs are putting pressure on you, and if you’re using a smart cocktail shaker, you’re ruining the fun of making imprecise cocktails.
Our dreams of the futuristic kitchen will have to wait for now, but that’s okay. Not that I want the art of cooking to be fully automated, but if a robot wants to flip an egg or write an article about smart kitchens so it doesn’t have to, I won’t say no.