New Tech Food

Paris Hilton and her boyfriend Doug Reinhardt arrive at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday, May 31, 2009, in Universal City, Calif.
AP Photo
If necessity is the mother of invention, the father of invention is sheer laziness. Well, this father's idea of fine cuisine after a long day at the office revolves around choices from one of a dozen take-out menus. Sometimes, however, my wife suggests a nice sit-down meal at home is needed. So, with that necessity in mind, and the sheer laziness I muster, we decided to find inventive high-tech gadgets that make cooking at home less of a chore.

DeLonghi Convection Oven
The toaster oven isn't what you might consider a radically new concept. But DeLonghi has redesigned the old toaster and added a convection oven with electronic touch-pad controls and digital read-outs. Convection ovens cook food evenly and perhaps 30% faster with superheated air moved by a fan. It also has an enamel interior so it cleans easily. But can you cook a whole chicken in a toaster oven? Well, just ask Elsie, my cantankerous colleague in the office down the hall. I just roasted a 3 1/2 pound chicken in about an hour and even Elsie agreed it tasted delicious! Also cooks great cookies. Available at Williams-Sonoma for about $199.

Remote Thermometer
Getting my mother out of the kitchen to join the rest of us has never been easy. Now, a device that should eliminate the need to watch the oven. Williams Sonoma has a remote meat thermometer that actually pages you when your roast is roasted or your grill is grilled. The stainless-steel thermometer probe is connected to a wireless transmitter. When the meat is done, the remote pager alerts you within 100-feet of the stove. It has a very easy-to-use preprogrammed mode for 6 different types of meat and poultry but you can also select your own settings. It kept me from burning the aforementioned chicken. Remote Thermometer lists for $54.00.

Capresso C1000
If you love coffee, you probably have a cappuccino machine, or at least have thought of buying one. If you are OBSESSED with coffee, the Swiss-made Capresso C1000 is a technological marvel to brew with. Why would anyone spend $899 for a coffee machine? If you want a fully automatic machine to grind the beans, brew the espresso and discard the grounds in less than 50 seconds, you need one of these. Until using this machine, I never could steam milk to an acceptable froth. And pity my poor excuse for "crema." This machine takes a small manual to get it working just right, but this time I'm not sorry I read the manual. Also available from Williams Sonoma. (They even have the "Capresso C3000" which does all the same stuff as above but with a fancy timer system and even more doo-hickeys... and this "Grande" machine costs $2395.00. Ouch.) The Capresso C1000, a mere $899.

1,2,3 Spresso Espresso Machine
If the price tag above is a sharp kick in the head, you may find the 1,2,3 Spresso Espresso Machine an easy alternative. Available for $99, this machine is designed to be used for even simpletons like myself. Just fill with water, turn it on, drop in the specially designed coffee pods (they call them "doses") and watch it brew your shot of espresso. The vacuum -packed pods mean each cup is brewed fresh.... and cleanup of the used coffee-grounds is a snap. The 1,2,3 Spresso machine is Swiss-made and imported by Boyds (Portland's coffee family since the early 1900s.)

Automatic Bread Baker
Well, the French bread just came out of the Automatic Bread Baker and Elsie, our toughest critic, agrees that the bread is even better than the chicken. (She's still saying "It's delicious," as if shocked and as if I didn't taste it myself.) Basically, you take all the ingredients and throw them in the mixing/cooking bowl. The programmable display lets you select standard breads or mix pasta or pretzel dough. Push the start button and come back when the bread is done. That's it. The display window shows all the excitement: the kneading, the rising, the baking, etc. Alright, it may not be as much fun as watching the food channel, but warm bread on demand becomes addictive. The dispenser automatically adds fruits, nuts, or other extras at exactly the right time. Also from Williams-Sonoma at $199.00

Daniel Dubno