There are plenty of reasons to adore the classic food preparation methods of the past. When you go to a fine French, Italian or Spanish restaurant, you can expect to enjoy fresh food prepared with the simple, straightforward methods that food lovers across the world have revered for generations – and those preparation methods are definitely not going away any time soon. At the same time, though, the march of technology is something that never ends – and since everyone must eat, food preparation is a great area for any company to invest its research and development capital. Any new technology that becomes a hit among home cooks or professional chefs, after all, is certain to generate plenty of money.
So, what are some of the new technologies that have appeared over the past decade or so and allowed the culinarians of the world to experience flavors in entirely new ways? These are just a few of the more famous examples.
If you’ve never been a smoker, you might not think of vaping as a technology that relates to flavor at all. To you, vaping is just an obscure technology that’s helping some smokers quit. To the smokers who have quit successfully, though, vaping isn’t just a fad – it’s a way of life. It’s also a completely new way of experiencing some pretty incredible flavor profiles. Although there’s no way we’d ever suggest vaping to anyone who doesn’t already use nicotine, there’s really no reason not to switch to vaping if you’re a smoker. Vaping doesn’t just taste better than smoking. It also smells infinitely better – and it’s cheaper, to boot! One puff of a vape juice like No. 32 by Beard Vape Co, and you’ll understand exactly why the world’s tens of millions of vapers would never consider going back to smoking.
Sous vide is a French term that literally means “under vacuum.” Although the basic technique of sous vide cooking is at least several decades old, the use of the technique in mainstream restaurants and in many homes is relatively recent. To cook something using the sous vide method, you’ll use a vacuum bagging machine to encase the food in plastic and remove the air. Next, you’ll place the food in a pot of water heated to a precise temperature. These days, you can find sous vide appliances in many major stores. You simply clip the appliance to the side of a pot of water, and it provides a heating element along with a thermometer. Sous vide is completely unique in that it’s the only cooking method that allows you to heat any food to any temperature with no risk of overcooking or undercooking. It also prevents the loss of the food’s juices and aroma.
Are you the type of person who loves eating a salad with a bit of citrus juice or vinegar drizzled on top? A bit of sour flavor can really do wonders for vegetables. It’s easy to go too far with the liquid ingredients, though, and soggy leaves aren’t too tasty. Wouldn’t it be great if you could contain the flavor of a liquid until you’re ready to eat it? That way, you could keep the liquid ingredient in close contact with another food without that food becoming soggy. Spherification is the technology that makes it possible. Although different techniques are required to cause different types of liquids to form spheres, the basic technique involves mixing the liquid with sodium alginate before adding the mixture – one drop at a time – to a bowl of water and calcium chloride. This forms permanent spheres, in which the liquid is trapped within a layer of gel. When you bite the sphere, the gel breaks and releases the liquid. The potential uses are virtually endless!
If you enjoy a great cup of coffee or tea, you’ve probably found that brewing a perfect cup often feels far more challenging than it needs to be. Programming a coffee maker to have hot coffee ready for you when you get out of the shower in the morning is a serious pain, and it’s not even possible if you prefer pour-over coffee. If you like pour-over coffee, your only option is to turn a kettle on and stand around while you wait for the water to boil. Do you prefer tea? That’s even worse – especially if you’re a fan of certain high-end green teas like gyokuro, which brews best at temperatures well below boiling. If the water is too hot, gyokuro tastes unbelievably bitter. If the water isn’t hot enough, you’ll end up with a cup of tasteless green water. It’s enough of a challenge to make some people swear off expensive green teas entirely. What you need is a smart kettle. A smart kettle connects to your Wi-Fi network, and you can control it with your smartphone or Alexa device. Using an app makes it easy to program your kettle to heat the water to a specific temperature at a time of your choosing. You can even tell Alexa to program the kettle for you.
If you’re an avid home chef, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the efficiency and effectiveness of steam cooking. Steam is a great way to cook vegetables, for instance. You probably also use your oven to cook foods with dry heat almost every day. What you might not be used to, however, is using both wet and dry heat to cook the same food. Steam, for instance, is essential in the baking of great breads. It increases oven spring by preventing the loaf’s crust from setting, thus allowing the bread to rise just a bit further before the yeast dies. It’s dangerous to throw water into a standard home oven, though, because the water can cause the oven’s glass door to break if you aren’t careful. The latest smart countertop ovens have built-in water reservoirs, and they can inject steam automatically during cooking. Perfect bread is finally within your reach!