How a smart Countertop could make you and your kitchen greener
I had to laugh when I saw the video below of a woman eating a quesadilla with nothing but bare tortilla and a blob of melted cheese.
How many times has that been me – rushing down to my kitchen mid-day, ravenous for food and in a hurry, looking to eat right but ending up slapping a tortilla on a pan (or sometimes, embarrassingly, right on the gas) to melt some cheese on it before returning to my writing lair.
Eating at home still doesn't necessarily mean eating healthy, because I'm too lazy to make great lunches or dinners for one.
So by the time I was finished watching the video for Countertop, a smart countertop scale and iPhone/iPad app system from Orange Chef that aims to try to help you eat healthy and get the most out of kitchen appliances, I was initially intrigued.
Partly I liked the system because I think the Vitamix - one of two appliances that can be linked to Countertop currently with NFC (near field communications) adapters - is the best thing I've purchased in the last few years as far as improving my healthy eating. The other reason I was intrigued was because it seemed like maybe the Countertop system might help me throw away less food.
For example, I could put my Vitamix on the Countertop (it's sized at 9.4 x 6.6 x 1 inches) and it could recommend a new smoothie or soup idea for those boring lunches. And perhaps suggest meals to pop in the Crockpot, which doesn't get used nearly enough around here.
And doesn't this sound promising?
From the moment you start, Countertop learns what you like and don't like, what ingredients you're likely to have on hand, allergies, and more. As it learns, it gets smarter and the meal recommendations get more precise.
The current price of the device - it would cost about $125 to pre-order the smart scale and the appliance adapters for the Vitamix and Crockpot - shouldn't deter me, because I spent more on the Vitamix itself. I already have the iPhone, so downloading the app is easy.
Yet after perusing the web site pretty exhaustively, I realized what was holding me back from thinking the Countertop system was a great new gadget I had to have is my own tendencies.
Me (and the woman in the video) couldn't be bothered to make anything more imaginative than a cheese quesadilla for lunch - could I (we) be trusted to suddenly start engaging with the device long enough to make a green soup for lunch?
For me personally the answer is currently 'no'. During yoga or workouts (the Countertop can also connect to a Jawbone wristband) and also during cooking, I don't really want to be connected or interact with smart devices. Many times I don't even want music during these activities.
And Orange Chef isn't touting the advantages of the system for making less food waste. At least, not yet.
It's also not spelled out in the promotional material how well the Countertop and app will be able to learn about the food you have on hand and make the most of it. That's important to me. So though my finger got near the 'buy now' button, I restrained myself. For the moment.
The idea is good. It may be exactly what I need to use what I buy in more creative ways and throw away less produce, which would definitely improve my household sustainability. It could make me even more of a veggie consumer and less of a veggie discarder.
I'l just have to wait for a more-connected friend to get it so I can see the gadget in action before I commit.