On Wednesday we said goodbye to my parents who headed home to California after their extended holiday stay. Having them here for the holidays, while I was away at CES, and for Emily’s birthday gave us lots of time together to create new memories. One of the best things about having my parents visit is lots of home cooked Chinese food, favorites that I grew up with that I don’t cook nearly as often as I should but my kids love eating.
In our family, food is an expression of love. Whether they’re helping shop for ingredients, doing the prep work in the kitchen, or eating, my kids love every step that goes into bringing us around the table to enjoy a meal together but sometimes I wish my parents were right here with us instead of 3000 miles away.
Sure, we Skype to stay in touch and call whenever we need some recipe advice but what if I could bring my parents into our kitchen virtually to peek in on the progress of our meal as we’re stir frying on the stove or ask them a question how to prepare a mystery ingredient we’ve selected at the store?
In an era of connected homes, an interactive kitchen might not be too far behind. Last year I saw an interactive kitchen concepts while visiting Microsoft’s headquarters and the “how cool, maybe one day” factor seemed to be more real this year thanks to Whirlpool.
This year Whirlpool demonstrated the Interactive Kitchen of the Future 2.0 at CES. This fully connected cooking environment serves as a social media hub that syncs devices and all your kitchen appliances so everything and everyone you communicate with is within reach using existing surfaces. The Kitchen of the Future is something like I dreamed of as a kid while watching the Jetsons but rather than seeing the future play out through an animated cartoon, ever-evolving technology could make this a reality.
The Interactive Kitchen of the Future anticipates your needs to streamline the act of preparing meals because all of your appliances work together. Whether you’re throwing a dinner party, making a holiday meal for the masses, or just cooking dinner for your family, the Interactive Kitchen of the Future is designed to do all the thought and planning for you from start to finish.
Prep would be made easier thanks to a refrigerator that assesses the ingredients you have at home and then works to recommend dishes based on what you already have on hand. Side dishes and menu suggestions, like what kind of wine pairs well with a meal, also comes up automatically so you’re not having to search online, through cookbooks, or magazine clippings for the perfect accompaniment. Plus a huge benefit for parents whose house serves as the hub for all their friends? When one of your kids asks “Mom, can my best friend stay for dinner?” you’ll automatically get alerts to add extra menu ingredients to your meal.
If timing your dishes to be done at the same time is not your forté, no worries! A progress timeline guides the times of each dish, provides step-by-step instructions, and versatile smart vessels that can measure, inventory, and cook are at your disposal for accuracy. The oven heats up automatically based on your recipe, and when your meal is almost completed, you don’t have to tell anyone that your dazzling plating techniques were provided by your interactive kitchen!
And while all the automation is great, what I love most about the idea of the Interactive Kitchen of the Future is connectivity not only between my kitchen appliances but to those I love who are far away. Instead of Skyping my parents and placing the tablet on our kitchen counter where they never have a great view of what I’m doing and there’s always the possibility of spilling or knocking the device over (because they’re never really immune from kitchen hazards even with features like hands-free gestures and protective cases!), they could be brought into our kitchen via the backsplash above our stove. The interactive backsplash with personalized touch screens enables live chats.
I can’t think of a more fabulous way to stay connected across the miles and bridge a generational gap to pass along important family traditions through cooking as part of every day care. My young chefs could connect with my parents over the stove to learn how to make traditional Chinese dishes or my mother-in-law to get real time pie lessons from a true pie-baking master!
Travel, lodging, and compensation were provided by Whirlpool for my CES brand ambassadorship however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.