When we stop to think about the ways technology has impacted our lives, the obvious ones like the workplace, entertainment and how we learn and consume information comes to mind. But what we don't realise is just how much it has affected our personal space. With more and more people in the world, there's less space to work with and so more efficient means of using this space is needed.
Of all these spaces, the kitchen has undergone the greatest change. What was the home of cookbooks and large unwieldy stoves has now become sleeker and better designed. Now, you're more likely to see iPads and other devices helping you with your cooking, brewing coffee for you and room temperature. Also, the introduction of tablets into the kitchen has meant anyone has access to thousands of recipes and can become a competent cook in their own right.
Below, we gathered the best ways to take advantage of this as well as giving you a glimpse into what might feature in the kitchen of the future.
Renewable energy kitchen
The Philips design Proves project designed this concept kitchen,which is designed to cut the environmental impact our kitchens have and convert waste into energy. The waste material, which can come in the form of vegetable scraps among other things, is collected, burned and fed to a cooking range and gas mantle lights.
[Via Design Taxi]
Electromagnetic Laser Cutter
This may be a concept device, but it shows the direction that technology is going down that this might be a feature. The 'Innovative Laser Device for Cutting of Foodstuff,' created by Andrey Kokorin, would have cooks placing foods in a spherical pod to be cut into custom segments using lasers. The device was entered in this year's James Dyson Award.
Mobile Induction Heat Plate
If you're out and about, you can use this device to cook food, using your smartphone as a remote control. Using NFC-tags to provide instructions, your smartphone also remembers what and how you previously cooked.
Prisma Toncelli Kitchen
Italian company Toncelli Kitchens created a high-tech kitchen worktop
allowing you to eat and cook while using your tablet. With a Samsung Galaxy tablet fitted into the kitchen counter, the tablet allows users to control kitchen functions such as adjusting cooking temperature and fridge temperature among other things.
Electrolux InfinitePro Hob
A smart cooker that's activated solely by touch. The hobs automatically recognise how large pots or pans are and adjusts the hobs to cope with this.
Retractable Kitchen Bench
If you're tight for space, web developer Tim Thaler created a motorized retractable kitchen island, all controlled by using your iPhone. Pretty handy but expensive to put together, reportedly costing somewhere around the region of $4,000.
[Via Design Milk]
Kitchen Gadgets & Apps
So you want to go the extra mile and make your kitchen stand out from all the other normal kitchens out there, or you just want some handy gadgets or tools to make things more efficient, well read on.
TopBrewer Coffee Maker
A built-in coffee maker that is controlled entirely from your iPhone or iPad. Brewing coffee that is up to barista standards, you can even add hot chocolate as well as juices to create a hot and cold drinks menu, all completely hidden away.
Touchscreen Coffee Table
Effectively a large screen 32" HD tablet built into your living room table
, this one from Australian company, Touchscreen Solutions, lets you browse the web, read the newspaper online or browse your documents. You also have the option to add a wireless keyboard and mouse, a DVD/blu-ray, webcam, headphones and microphones to enhance the experience.
If you regularly refer to your iPad for recipes but have nowhere to put it, then it's worth getting a stand so you can place it. The Belkin chef stand comes with a stylus that lets you browse recipes and the web without having to touch the screen, which is handy if you don't want to get the screen messy. Belkin also has a kitchen cabinet mount which lets you hang your iPad on a cabinet or shelf.
Nest Learning Thermostat
We're getting to the point where we can use our smartphones to control every aspect of our lives. This thermostat lets you to control the temperature of your house remotely or manually when you're home. The clever bit is that this can program itself by tracking the temperature settings that you use over a week and change the temperature based on when you change it yourself.
iPad Chef Sleeves
If getting a stylus isn't possible, you can opt for this cheaper alternative. Covering your iPad with a clear plastic sleeve and sealing, you can prevent flour, oil or any foodstuff from staining your beloved tablet.
If you've come home after a long week and you need something a little bit stronger to take the edge off, you could do worse than install one of these in your kitchen. Storing five litres of beer at serving temperature of 38 degrees, the BeerTender comes with a LED display keeping you updated to how much beer is left and the temperature it's being served.
Cooking & Kitchen Apps
For: iPhone, iPad
Foodily is only compatible with Apple devices, but it is a useful little app, and it's free to boot. The app has a greater social element than most others would, perhaps, encouraging you and your friends to share tips and recipes and allowing you to compile the best and most popular user-uploaded recipes that the Foodily community has to offer. Your can fill your daily feed with the latest recipes from top chefs or you can specify it to match your foodie interests, all before you decide to share your endeavours with your friends and Foodily users.
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How to Cook Everything
For: iPhone, iPad
How to Cook Everything does its best to live up to its ambitious title and is one of the most comprehensive, in-depth and cookery knowledgeable apps on the market. From the mind of the New York Times' Mark Bitman, How to Cook Everything houses over 2,000 recipes; it should prove inexhaustible and easy to use for the average user as everything is explained in simple terms and the app has over 400 illustrations. It is optimised to reflect the cooking experience and there are many helpful details - the display will never dim while you are cooking and recipes are easily bookmarked, for instance - and it just seems to have everything covered.
Jamie Oliver's 20 Minute Meals
For: iPhone, Android
Zolmo's easy recipe app, endorsed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, has a total of 60 recipes for you to learn and try out for yourself. Oliver gives step-by-step instructions accompanying video and photo to guide users through the process, and there are tips about ingredients, equipment and little shortcuts littered across the app. The shopping list feature will help you in your preparation, and the app is well-designed and easy to use, with a clean yet homely aesthetic that is intent on making this app as easy to navigate as possible and teaching amateur chefs a few key recipes. The app has not been updated since January, but its original content is sufficient.
For: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free, actual iGrill: $79.99
iGrill is a wireless meat thermometer that will allow you to monitor the temperature of your food from up to 200 ft away, as it is cooking in the oven. It is bluetooth-enabled with multiple probes (that are easily stored after usage) so you can keep track of a few different dishes at once. You will be required to buy the actual monitor at a steep cost of $79.99, but the iGrill app will give you the time to do other things as your meals cook and give you peace of mind when you cannot afford to be stood next to your oven or grill barbecue for the duration of the cook.
AG Wine Guide
For: iPhone, iPad
The AG Wine Guide is more like a wine encyclopedia than anything. It has detailed guides to all the distinguished and popular wine-producing regions, and its simple interface will enable users to become wine experts in no time at all. It is an intelligent app that will expertly advise you on what wine you should choose to complement your meal. Wine is an intimidating subject that can be rife with snobbery and navel-gazing, but AG do their best to make it less intimidating. Also, his app also knows everything you would ever need/want to know about grapes, so there's that.
For: iPhone, Android
Everybody can read a recipe book, and yet not everybody can cook - something must be getting lost in translation, and this is where Ratio comes in. Not only does ratio give simple recipes, but it puts a greater precedence on the measurements and, of course, the ratios of your ingredients, so as to ensure that you will have consistent success when cooking. Its dedication to the numbers may seem impractical at points (who measures eggs in volume?) and it may boil cookery down to a formula rather than an art in some minds, but it is especially helpful to first-time cooks and those who just don't get cooking.
The Professional Chef
Some of you may want to step beyond a dumbed-down recipe book and add a more professional element to your repertoire, and at nearly $50, The Professional Chef certainly costs as such, but it provides a true education in the culinary arts. The app contains 850 recipes and 750 images, but its interactive features and tips are what will really enable you to raise your game in the kitchen, and provide knowledge that only top chefs could possibly administer. Every part of this app, from the guides to the design, is top-notch, and the attention to detail is astonishing. This is a premier app and a must for iPad users who want to start taking cookery seriously.
For: iPhone, Android
Much like How to Cook Everything, BigOven's database is tireless, but BigOven is even more so. With over 250,000 recipes, you will likely never get to discover the very depths of BigOven's knowledge, but that doesn't matter as BigOven has an extremely competent search feature, so you can find any particular dish that may pique your interest; it even gives ideas for creatively disposing of your leftovers. You can add your own recipes, rater others' or share them with your friends; either way, you're unlikely to become bored with BigOven any time soon.
Gordon Ramsay Cook With Me HD
For; iPhone, iPad
The sweariest chef going has his own Apple compatible app for you to enjoy as well, and it comes with HD video, ingredients lists, step by steps and shopping lists to make your culinary experience as easy as possible. There are visual aids where possible and a cacophony of great recipes for you to try out, even if you have no experience in the kitchen whatsoever. Everything is clearly designed and the text is very large, so you can just put your iPad on a stand and get going as soon as possible.
So you have the equipment, the apps and the gadgets, but you might want to find inspiration or just admire other people's recipes. Thankfully, there are numerous sites that provide recipes and guides about cooking better on the Web. Even if you're not interested in cooking, you will certainly enjoy looking at photos of the numerous recipes that are on display.
The online video cooking school, Rouxbe provides you with high-quality instructional cooking videos and breaks them down into easy to understand step-by-step guide so you can focus on getting the basic skills right. This is handy when you want to go through a specific step again without having to drag a slider-bar around to find the start.
The most popular cooking website out there, AllRecipies is a brilliant resource for cooks of all levels. With a quick and easy section for beginners to video tutorials, it should be your first stop whenever you're trying something new.
The best way to think about Plummelo is that it's a search engine for recipes. If you want to make something from specific ingredients, you can ask the site to give you suggestions. You can also search dishes by location, courses and difficulty.
Open Source Food
If you're looking for delicious recipes to admire and look at, then Open Source Food has thousands of recipes to choose from. All recipes come from its members and is updated regularly, bringing food-lovers together.
If you rather see how certain dishes are prepared instead of reading text, Food Network has a wide range of video tutorials for you to watch.
A handy food site which focuses on catching your attention through stunning photos of recipes and cooking. All the images are crowdsourced so while TasteSpotting has its own blog, it also takes in recipes and dishes from other sites. A handy reference for when you want to mix things up, or just look at some amazing food.
When you reach the stage where you want to learn some advanced skills, Epicurious has numerous guides covering every area you can think of. From seasoning to quick recipes, it also has a regular section where some of the top chefs give advice and tips on preparing dishes.
Another great website following the same presentation style as TasteSpotting. The emphasis here is on sharing and commenting as each item is presented in the same way as Instagram where you can like and bookmark certain recipes.
The Vegan Stoner
Because not everyone is a meat eater, The Vegan Stoner is stylish and brilliantly presented make cooking a cinch, photos are crisps, ingredients are presented as mini- cartoons, and the step-by-step guide is incredibly easy to follow.
Always helpful and never Stone Soup only gives recipes that use no more than five ingredients and provides handy tips for those who are living on a budget, but don't want to sacrifice quality.