Kitchen of the Future

Weeks ago, we watched a corny Food Network special on “Kitchens of the Future”.   There was plenty of nonsense gadgetry and expensive ideas, but by far the silliest was the Microsoft Kitchen of the future.   Demo-ed by a Microsoft exec (she was female of course), the kitchen had the voice-response lighting and music controls, the baseline automation that comes with any futuristic home.   And then there were the add-ons, like the canned computer voice-response system, the recipe projection and the inventory management.   All of these “aids” were really annoying, even to watch, but by FAR,  the most aggravating feature was the real-life equivalent to that wretched paper clip;  as the woman started removing flour and yeast from the cupboards, the computer voice screeched “Looks like you are baking bread.  Do you want to see a bread recipe?”    Argh! Even typing that makes me cringe.    So the woman shouts. “YES.” and the computer projects a list of bread recipes onto the kitchen counter, through which she scrolls and then selects “Focaccia”.    “Hal” read the recipe aloud, at a pace too fast for the woman actually baking the bread, and then interrupted part of her on-camera interview as well.   She rolled her eyes and paused to shout at the computer voice to shut up stop.

The only thing that I might possibly concede as useful – though it is far outweighed by the amplification of annoyances in the kitchen – was the projected diameter for the focaccia she was rolling out.   This might make it marginally easier to roll out dough to the required diameter, if one’s head didn’t block the projection.    At any rate, MS has a looooong way to go before being welcome in my kitchen.

img_0038.jpgBut after all this, I was tempted to make focaccia.  Never made it before, and bread is always a little daunting, but what’s the worst that could happen-  over-yeasting?   wasting bread flour?   I went straight for the recipe in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice;  the recipe was not read aloud by any annoying computer voice and no paper clips barged in on my baking.  Without a computer, I was miraculously able to turn out a rather spectacular focaccia, if I do say so myself.  Still warm from the oven, I cut wedges of the loaf in half, slathered them with fig jam, some hot coppa, a little asiago and grilled them melty on the Foreman.   Crisp, chewy perfection.

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