The kitchen is like a holy shrine. It’s a place to meditate, focus on the mesmeric motions of cleaning and chopping, and yet be alert enough to get the timing right to tease out flavours, preserve colours and heighten textures. The kitchen can be therapeutic, a place for healing, with its comforting aromas and the promise of nourishment. And it can be a place of learning—how does great flavour-sealing technology work? How can it make my coffee better? More consistent in flavour? How can technology take me to the land of turbo cooking and help save fossil fuel? How can it help me fight bacteria, pathogens, viruses and other horrors staring out of my raw fruits and vegetables? How can the clothes-drying technique in my washing machine be used to create better salad? Ah, got you there, isn’t it?
But seriously, contemporary kitchens are changing. Today, they also spell excitement, pleasure, adventure. They give us a buzz. And if you discount the hyperbole, they give us a chance to become better chefs. Welcome to our very special collection of non-geeky gadgets and gewgaws.
Imagine being able to save 10-12% cooking gas; imagine being able to cook without oil; imagine being able to cook with pots one on top of the other when you run out of gas rings, especially when doing a large dinner. AMC cookware, made from surgical grade steel, retains and transfers heat better so you can cook with pots one on top of the other; it can cook without additional water or fat; it has a rapid cooking lid that can also do some serious turbo cooking…you get the picture.
Because the steel is non-porous, it is easy to clean and doesn’t retain food particles. AMC cookware comes with a special gauge on the lid that indicates when the pan is ready for cooking. Think about the material science, technology, innovation and design crammed in here and you’ll know that this cookware comes with price tags that require you to tighten your belt.
Not surprisingly, AMC cookware can’t be bought off the shelf. Their team will come home, do a demonstration—meaning, cook you an entire meal using your stove, your ingredients and your food style, but in AMC cookware.
Be warned: The cookware can only be bought in sets. Only existing AMC users can buy single units. Yeah, it’s almost an exclusive club—and the price to get in there is high.
Price: Rs17,500 for a basic set that can roast, steam, bake and cook
Available at:To set up a demo, complete the form on the “Contacts” page on www.in.amc.info
Zyliss salad spinner
One of the ways to keep lettuce leaves dry, so that your salad is not too heavy, is to pat them on a paper towel after the wash. But patting breaks the delicate lettuce. Now, there’s a technology that can rescue you. Use a salad spinner that works exactly like the dryer in your washing machine, using centrifugal force to remove the water from the lettuce. Drop the basket with lettuce into the spinner bowl, close the lid, press a lever and the basket goes spinning, drying the greens. Press another button and a disc brake halts the machine, fluffing up the lettuce. I picked up a humble brandless wonder from Thailand in a local store. Works just as well but looks nowhere quite as nifty. The Zyliss is an International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) winner, and it has the demeanour of a global star.
Price: Rs2,475 (small) and Rs2,975 (big)
Available at: Log on to www.hsw.co.in, visit the Howard Storage World Store at Mantri Square, Malleswaram, Bangalore, or call 080-22667313.
Kent Ozone Vegetable and Fruit Purifier
Vegetables contain insecticides, pesticides, chemicals and God alone knows what else; meat contains antibiotics and hormones and we fear imagining the rest. You can rinse your cabbage and chicken as much as you like, but the horrible stuff isn’t going anywhere. You could, however, try to sterilize or leach the food before cooking, using Kent’s purifier. It uses ozone to kill bacteria, pathogens, viruses and then some from the list of health threats. Your raw food goes into a rinsing tub, the Kent device irrigates it with ozone and in 30 minutes your food is safe. I use a Goodmaid veggie wash (Rs450 for 450ml) made from non-toxic corn and palm oil to soak my vegetables and fruit and remove pesticides and chemical residue. It doesn’t have the (literally) killer technology of Kent and is, I must admit, more difficult to find in supermarkets. But it has a biodegradable bottle and, heck, that’s seductive. I feel I saved the world.
Price: Rs5,500, inclusive of taxes
Available at :SMS Kent to 53636 or call 0120-3075075 for demonstration and delivery.
Lavazza Blue Espresso Machine
Before you get down to your favourite recipe in the kitchen, make sure you can turn out perfect coffee to keep you company. The new range of coffee machines from Lavazza use capsules that seal out atmospheric attrition on the beans to deliver the perfect cup every time. Plus, no mess, no grinding, no grits to manage. Just stick the capsule into the machine, press “Go” and an intense, full-bodied cup of Brazilian Arabica and South-East Asian Robusta is yours. Coffee comes in five different flavours— sweet, intense, delicate, creamy and decaf. The machine can also make tea in five flavours.
I have the no-frills, 1.2-litre manual home version with steam spout LB 800 but you could opt for the 4-litre LB 2301 with complete ‘jhatak-matak’ that automatically locks, ejects and disposes capsules, is programmable, has an adjustable cup shelf and is cappuccinator kit compatible. Smell the coffee, your regular percolator just won’t make the grade before this monster.
Price: LB 800, Rs10,500; LB 2301, Rs47,500; coffee and tea capsules Rs2,300 for 100 capsules, taxes extra
Available at: Log on to www.fresh-honest.com
Iwatani Torch Burner
Ever wondered why your dessert lacks drool? That’s because it’s not been sexed up with the perfect tan. It’s a trick chefs in top kitchens use—a blowtorch to give their crème brûlée that alluring brown topping, or fixing the pallid look of the cheese dish with a quick-fix tan.
The thing is that a blowtorch sounds like a pretty violent tool to use in a kitchen because we equate it with welding or with Jack Bauer in ‘24’ using an acetylene flame to cut through steel vaults. In reality, a blowtorch delivers fairly low-intensity heat that is perfect for a pie. The Japanese Iwatani Torch Burner (CB-TC-Pro) I have is an efficient, no-nonsense, pistol-type unit with a gas and air regulator to manage flame size and a small, detachable, low-heat LPG butane cylinder, so there’s no risk of your casserole getting toasted. The Iwatani Torch Burner is my new flame.
Price:Rs2,500 for the torch, Rs325 for a butane cylinder
Available at: Jamals, Sigma Mall, Cunningham Road, Bangalore, or call 080-32967279.
Arun Katiyar is a content and communication consultant with a focus on technology companies. He is a published author with HarperCollins and has extensive media experience spanning music, print, radio, Internet and mobiles.
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org