This is the year of the “internet of things” at the Consumer Electronics Show, but in two days prowling the aisles I did not see many things for the adventurous cook. An exception is the Anova sous vide cooker shown at left, which compares in features and design to the Sansaire and, at $179 is $20 cheaper… and it has Bluetooth! Okay, that’s mostly a gimmick because of the short range (I guess you could keep an eye on your sous vide while you’re in the next room watching the game). But a future release will have wireless and that really will be useful: you could control your cooking from the road and lower the heat when the food’s done (while still keeping the bath at a food-safe temperature, obviously).
I also ran across the Picobrew Zymatic, a gadget that is essentially a sous vide cooker with a filtration system that controls the temperature changes needed when making beer, then runs it through baskets of hops and into a vessel where you’ll pitch the yeast and ferment the wort. It’s also advertised as a sous vide device though at $1799 it’s less cost effective than the Anova or even the more expensive cookers that have their own vessel. What it does that others don’t is allow you to cook with a liquid other than water, which would foul an exposed heating element. I am interested in how the Picobrew manages this and also wonder if Anova has a filtration system and the not-very-knowledgeable booth guy didn’t know about it; their website mentions a dishwasher safe sleeve and why would you want to wash it if it had not gotten mucked up in some way?
I did not see apps for turning on ovens and ranges from your smartphone as there are for defrosting food or doing the wash. Maybe that’s for safety reasons: make a mistake and you could remotely burn down your house. I talked to the Samsung rep for the high end induction ranges (which have embedded LEDs to give the appearance of a gas flame even though there isn’t one; it’s supposed to be user feedback that it’s cooking) and he said there are no plans to bring Asian ovens with steam baking (for bread) to the U.S. A couple of ovens advertised a steam cleaning cycle but that involves you pouring a little water in the bottom of the oven, as it turns out. For the several thousand dollars they charge for these units, seems like they could at least throw in a spray bottle.