Cooking Smarter

How technology has infiltrated the kitchen to modernize cooking

So you want to cook something. Maybe you’re experienced in the kitchen. You know how to mix and match ingredients, you can look in the fridge and run through a list of recipes in your head, and whip up something restaurant worthy in minutes. More likely though, you are like most people: you have your go-to recipes that you’ve learned along the way, and anything else would probably require a fair amount of prep, studying, and time to get right.

A traditional recipe presented as a block of written instructions and an ingredient list. Source: Simon and Schuster

We’ve all seen the traditional recipe books that consist of a long ingredient list, strict formatted instructions, and a wonderfully delicious picture of the final product at the end. Unfortunately, for most people with a busy lifestyle, there is just too much reading involved and a real possibility of failure if you miss a step or don’t time them properly. The other practical problem is that a kitchen becomes an extremely hazardous environment for a cook book. Thankfully, you can find most recipes online now, and even more helpful, recipe videos. Accessing these on our smart phones is trivial. Yummly is a wonderful example of an app that lets you find recipes based on the ingredients you have or allergy restrictions. But, at the end of the day, you are still left with a just another recipe.

Screenshot of the Recipe App displaying a simple instruction and action. Source: https://www.getdrop.com/features

Recently there have been a surge of new recipe apps that have attempted to simplify and sometimes gamify cooking. The idea is having an app cook with you and guide you along the way so that you don’t need to do any of the mental prep. Drop scale is one such product that provides a scale along with their cooking app. As you go through each step, you feel like you are clearing a level to advance to the next stage. There is considerably less text to read and process and everything is laid out to be visually intuitive.

The scale allows for you to actively weigh each ingredient as you go, thereby ensuring your proportions are just right to minimize the risk of failure. Correctly measuring out ingredients seems to be straightforward, but the subtleties in density when measuring a cup of flour by scooping or spooning incrementally can make a big difference. With the scale, you are measuring to the gram and the app will tell you when its just right. As their website says, no more #bakingfails!

There are some other nifty features that you would expect from a smart app, such as unit conversion from pounds to grams and ounces to millilitres. Furthermore, the app allows you to scale recipes to different quantities so that you don’t have to try and do mental math as you go. Another crucial feature is the substitution suggestions. We’ve all been there half way through a recipe and you realize you are missing that one ingredient you forgot to pick up at the store. The app can suggest what you can use instead that would be more likely to find in your fridge at home.

Highlighted features of the Drop Scale and Recipe App. Source: https://www.getdrop.com/features

Overall, Drop Scale has definitely succeeded in making cooking easier! And the approach of simplifying and gamifying the complex task makes it much more approachable to everyone. You no longer need to worry about studying and planning out each step of a recipe beforehand. You don’t need to familiarize yourself with all the measuring quantities and how to convert between them. You can simply follow a step by step guide that ensures you are on the right track. At the end of the day you can enjoy the satisfaction of having made something from scratch and also indulge in, hopefully, a delicious meal.