Tag Archives: appliances + gadgets

The Coolest Kitchen from the International Consumer Electronics Show

Jetsons via Hanna-Barbera

The toasters really did tweet at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
The ovens downloaded recipes, the refrigerators were on Facebook, and the dishwashers chatted with the washing machines about the hot water.
The kitchen of the future is here, and can be summed up in one word: connected.
You talk to your appliances, they communicate with each other and the outside world.

The LG ThinQ refrigerator has a smart food monitor that texts you updates when you run out of groceries. It recognizes each family member through voice-recognition software and suggests dishes appropriate to each diet. The refrigerator can cue the ThinQ oven to the appropriate cooking time and temperature, and the oven will text you when it’s preheated and completed the cooking cycle.

The app-enabled Samsung refrigerator tracks the expiration dates of groceries and will soon be upgraded with an e-commerce app that will allow you to shop for food straight from a screen on the front of the fridge. For now, the LCD monitor can be used to stream TV and Facebook or download recipes.

You can ring up the internet-connected Jura-Capresso coffeemaker from your smartphone to start brewing before you even get out of bed. It stores individual preferences for coffee strength, water amount, temperature, and milk-frothing steam.

There are features to appeal to the tech-geek inside us, but the real smartness of the appliances fits into the broader conversation around the connected home and overall home management. Connected appliances can minimize down-time and waste by running their own performance diagnostics, and they can connect to the manufacturer for repairs and upgrades. They can tap into signals from power companies and use the data to adapt their cycles to optimize energy usage and shift their energy consumption to off-peak times.

Smarten up your old appliances.
There are devices out there that let you create your own connected home without replacing your old appliances.

The Wifi-connected Twine is loaded with temperature, pressure, moisture, current, RFID, and motion sensors. It knows when the refrigerator door is opened and closed, when the ice maker is jammed, and when your oven thermostat needs recalibration; and it can report on status via emails and tweets.

Remember the Clapper? Belkin’s WeMo is the 21st century version of ‘clap on, clap off.’ You plug in any appliance that has an on-off switch and control or schedule its operations via smartphone or tablet computer.

The connected home is not exactly the futuristic utopia of The Jetsons, where a hungry Jane pushes a few buttons on the food-a-rac-a-cycle and there’s dinner for four. But we’re getting closer.



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New Uses for Microwaves

Happy microwave via Chazzyllama

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but I’d cast my vote for convenience.

Take the microwave oven.
It’s entirely redundant in our kitchens. It does nothing more than duplicate cooking processes that are nearly always better-performed by other appliances. Yet every one of us has one. Why? Because it’s convenient. It’s quicker, easier, and usually requires less cleanup than other cooking methods.

Most of us use our microwaves to defrost, reheat, and boil water. But why stop there? With a little know-how, we can do so much more with our microwaves.

Make skinny potato chips: Lay thin potato slices in a single layer on a plate. Season (salt, pepper, vinegar- whatever you like). Microwave for about 5 minutes until they reach the desired point of brown and crispy done-ness.

Soften brown sugar: Microwave the package of brown sugar on high for 15-30 seconds. Voila!

Dry fresh herbs or grated citrus peels: Spread herbs or peels on a paper towel. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until dried, stirring every 30 seconds. Cook another 1-2 minutes for thicker peels and herbs.

Freshen soggy peanuts: Spread in a baking dish and microwave, uncovered, on high for 3 minutes per cup. They’ll crisp up as they cool.

Make scratch chocolate pudding: Mix 1/3 c. cornstarch, 1/4 c. cocoa powder, 1/2 c. sugar, pinch of salt, and 2 1/4 c. milk. Cook for 2 minutes and stir. 2 more minutes and stir. 2 more minutes and stir in 1 t. vanilla and 2 T. butter. Let stand for about 5 minutes until it’s pudding-thick.

Get twice as much juice from a lemon: Give it 30 seconds in the microwave and then roll it around a few times on the counter. Double juice.

Roast a whole head of garlic: Put a whole, unpeeled bulb of garlic on a paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute, turn it upside down and give it another minute. The soft, roasted cloves will squeeze right out.

Need some melted chocolate for a recipe? Snip the corner off of a bag of chips. Microwave for 20 seconds and knead the bag to mix. Keep repeating in 20 second increments (you’ll need a potholder as it heats up) until fully melted. Squeeze the chocolate out of the cut corner for a completely bowl-less, spoon-less experience.

Cook corn on the cob right in its husk: Put unshucked ears of corn on damp paper towel. You can microwave 4 or so at a time, adding a little under 2 minutes cooking time for each ear. Let the corn stand for 5 minutes before serving. The husks and silk will slip off easily.

Ripen an avocado: Microwave an avocado on medium for 2 minutes. Turn over, and microwave for 1 minute more.

Make a little cake in a mug: Coat the mug with nonstick spray. Add to the mug 4 T.  flour, 9 T. hot chocolate mix, and a pinch of salt. Give a stir and add an egg, 3 T. water, and 3 T. oil.  Mix it up well and microwave for 3 minutes. It will rise to alarming heights and then settle back into the mug. It’s not the best chocolate cake you ever tasted, but not-the-best is better than no chocolate cake.

Read Gigabiting’s Kitchen Hacks for many more kitchen shortcuts and helpful tips.




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Modernist Thanksgiving, Anyone?

Modernist cuisine is one of the glories of the 21st Century.
By borrowing from the laboratory, pioneering chefs have blown through the established boundaries of cooking, upending centuries of culinary tradition. They’ve refined and deepened our understanding of techniques and ingredients, astounding us with new and intensified flavors and textures. But can we please keep it out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving?

You don’t want to mess with Thanksgiving.
It’s our most traditional and food-centric holiday. For most families, the food traditions are inviolable—swap out the creamed onions for butternut squash and you’ll never hear the end of it from someone claiming to wait all year for those damned onions.

Call me old-fashioned, but I want my gravy thickened with roux rather than hydrocolloids, and please hold the alginate spherification when you cook my cranberries. This is not a day when my senses should be stunned.

Trading cast iron pans for the rotor-stator homogenizer
The modernist Thanksgiving kitchen is a sterile, precise environment. Cooking is reduced to the often soundless, odorless elements of physics and chemistry. Vacuum-sealed bags of deconstructed turkey swim silently in their sous-vide bath, and the beep of a digital touch pad signals the centrifuge cycle of the sweet potatoes. You’re not just hands-off;  you’re in protective gear.

Gone is the cacophony of rattling pans, the sizzle of fat, and the tangle of smells that fill the house. Gone too is the romance of cooking—the creative imprecision of a dash of this and a splash of that; the blast of heat when you open the oven door to baste the turkey; the hand-cramping satisfaction of mashing an enormous pot of potatoes into submission.

On November 25th, let’s put away the autoclaves and cryo-guns, and bring on the tradition.

Read about the ground-breaking text Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, in Gigabiting’s The Biggest, Greatest, Most Revolutionary Cookbook Ever. No kidding.



Posted in Science/Technology, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Beverage, Meet Laptop

image via Remember the Plamo

You know you shouldn’t, but you do.
You check your email every morning with the day’s first cup of coffee at your elbow, and wind down in the evening with a little facebooking and a glass of chardonnay perched nearby. Your latté and laptop share a table at Starbucks, and when you’re on an airplane, everything’s crowded together on the fold-down tray .
Sooner or later, beverages and laptops cross paths.

Now what?

Electric Power Plug Icon Clip Art Unplug and disconnect the power cord fast: the electrolytic activity from combining electricity and liquids begins on contact.

http://www.toshiba-india.com/laptop/images/common/battery-icon.png If it’s running normally on the battery, shut down in your usual way and remove the battery. If there’s a burning smell, smoke, or sparks, turn it off by any means possible and get that battery out.

http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs71/i/2010/024/7/7/USB_Icon_by_momentscomic.png Disconnect any other drives or devices that are connected to your laptop.


Invert the laptop to drain any excess liquid to prevent it from coming into contact with the screen. And wait.

It’s a bit of a crap shoot.
The laptop could eventually power up without skipping a beat or there could be complete ruination. If you opt to bring it in for a professional repair, just know that liquid damage is almost never covered by the warranty—even Apple Care and other extended service contracts—and they will know.

Of course nobody relishes the disruption of their activity, and there is the possible expense to repair or replace, but it could be worse (think superglue or maple syrup). And you’re not worried about your data because you back up religiously, right? Just in case (no lectures, no recriminations) you can contact a data-recovery company like DriveSavers. You’d better be desperate, because you’ll pay dearly for this service.

http://www.777icons.com/libs/art-toolbar/hourglass-icon.gif Still waiting. You really don’t want to power up for a good 72 hours after it’s completely disgorged the liquid. Every day or so you can give the laptop a gentle jiggle to drain any trapped fluid. Some people swear by hair dryers to speed up the process, but unless the spill was water, you run the risk of baking the liquid’s sugars and impurities right into the computer’s innards. Stick to air-drying, and resist the temptation to try it out too soon.


You’re back online and it’s all looking good. You know that nothing fried on contact, but there could still be damage that has yet to be revealed.

If you spilled water, you should be fine. Anything else—coffee, tea, soda, juice—and you’ve got potentially corrosive sugar or acid residue in there. Unless you’re totally confident in your ability to take your computer apart and swab the components with distilled water or denatured alcohol, take it to a professional for a thorough cleaning.

An ounce of prevention…. Lifehacker gives us The Best Foods (and Strategies) for Eating at Your Computer.



Posted in gadgets, Science/Technology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

BabyNes: Like a Coffee Maker for Babies

Eager to repeat the success of its Nespresso coffee makers, Nestlé has rolled out machines that make tea, smoothies, and now baby formula.

The BabyNes works just like a single-serve coffee maker, minus the cappuccino frothing wand. Add water to the tank, pop in a capsule, push a button, and you’ve made perfectly warmed and mixed baby formula. The company’s  press release emphasizes safety, convenience and hygiene, touting a ‘microbiological’ filter built into each capsule to eliminate bacteria present in the water.

An extravagant new mouth to feed.
Naturally, such convenience doesn’t come cheap. The machine costs around $300, and the single-serve capsules cost more than $2 a pop. That’s 2 to 3 times the cost of canned, pre-mixed formula, which is itself a few times the cost of powdered formula (and, if you were curious, triple the price of an espresso pod). Figure that the capsules alone will run you an extra $650 each year.

What else is wrong with this picture?
Nestlé has engaged in a decades-long tug-of-war with public health advocates over baby formula. The two sides are always going to be at odds since breastfeeding is key to improving health, nutrition, and child mortality rates, especially in developing nations, and Nestlé is the world’s largest manufacturer of breast milk substitutes. Now, global health advocates are gearing up for a new tussle over the BabyNes.

The BabyNes machine has been cited for 130 violations of the World Health Organization standards, mostly for Nestlé’s misleading and inappropriate marketing claims touting its superior nutrition. The most serious charge is that it fails to meet basic standards for use in markets outside of the U.S. and Western Europe. The BabyNes reconstitutes powdered formula with water heated to 40 degrees celsius, a temperature that is pleasing to a nursing infant but far below the 70 degrees necessary to kill water-borne bacteria commonly found in developing nations, even after it’s passed through the capsule’s filter.

Nestlé is hoping that the pricey BabyNes will join the ranks of high status baby products like thousand dollar all-terrain strollers, digital video baby monitors, and electric baby wipe warmers. It’s a market with little price sensitivity, and presumably one with few concerns for water-borne bacteria.

Nestlé's BabyNes: This is NOT a coffee maker

Nestlé's Nespresso: THIS is a coffee maker














Posted in gadgets, Health | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Best Cup of Coffee You Ever Had.

The New York Times called it “majestic” and “titillating; Time Magazine named it to the list of The Top 10 Everything of 2008; and when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz happened to stumble across one at a tiny café in lower Manhattan, he declared it made “the best cup of brewed coffee I have ever tasted.”

They’re all raving about the Clover, an eyebrow-raisingly pricey coffeemaker that brings high-tech precision to gadget-loving coffee drinkers. It also brews a hell of a cup of coffee.

Schultz discovered the Clover in 2006, curious about the customers lined up to get into a small, independent coffee shop. The Clover was then a cult object, hand-built in a converted, Seattle trolley shed. Costing $11,000 and requiring the equivalent of a masters degree in barista arts to operate, there were fewer than 200 in use worldwide—you could find more Flickr photo tributes to the Clover than there were machines in existence. So wowed was Schultz that Starbucks bought the Clover’s maker, and now distributes Clovers exclusively to Starbucks.

Why all the fuss?
Your home coffeemaker is probably an automatic drip; it boils the water and pours it over the beans, dripping the coffee into a carafe. You control the beans and the grind, and the coffeemaker and gravity do the rest. Some prefer the pour over; basically a manual drip that lets you adjust the water temperature and timing of the pour for a bit more nuance.

The next step up the scale of coffee fanatacism is the French press. The grounds and sub-boiling water steep until you push down on a plunger attached to a mesh filter that uses pressure to separate the brewed coffee from the grounds. The vacuum pot, those glass-globed contraptions found in cafes frequented by coffee geeks, achieves similar results. The pressure is created by heated water vapor that’s forced into the top globe; it agitates the ground coffee until the pot is removed from its heat source and the finished brew filters down to the bottom globe. Both of these methods add elements of control to the temperature and brewing time.

None match the precision of the Clover. It brews one cup at a time using pistons and valves that alternate a pressure push with a vacuum pull. It’s outfitted with proprietary Cloverware software and an Ethernet port connected to an online database that micromanage every variable of the brewing process. In the hands of a skilled barista, the choice of bean, grind, coffee dose, brew time, water quantity, and temperature contribute to one perfect, magnificent cup of coffee that will have you reaching into a wine lover’s vocabulary to describe it: a cocoa nose to the Sumatra; hints of tobacco and walnut in the Nicaragua; a voluptuous, plummy Peaberry.

Where can I get this ambrosial brew?
Starbucks has placed Clovers in just a few hundred locations, and done so with so little fanfare that you have to wonder if the company really wanted the Clover coffeemakers or just didn’t want them in the hands of the competition. You can click Clover Brewing System in the search filter on the Starbucks Store Locator and hope there’s one nearby. And keep an eye out for Clovers in the independent coffee shops, where they are holding tightly to those they purchased before Starbucks cornered the market.


Posted in coffee, gadgets | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Your 12-pack Toting Days are Numbered

[image via the Purple Sprout]


Why are we buying all those bottles and cans of soda?
Oceans of corn syrup, mountains of glass and plastic waste, money, fossil fuels; this is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.

Americans consume about 50 billion liters of soda a year. That comes to 216 liters for every man, woman, and child, most of it sealed in plastic or aluminum. It’s labeled and packaged and packed into cartons. It’s shipped around the country, passes through distributors and wholesalers and retailers, before it’s toted home in 12-packs loaded into the trunk of a car.

All that for water and flavoring and some CO2 for carbonation. The stuff could come from anywhere, and we’re importing it like it’s lobsters from Maine.

You can (and should) make soda at home.
It’s economical and green and better for your health. The easiest way to go about making soda and sparkling water is with a home system. The newest versions are light years away from the old-fashioned, cumbersome seltzer siphons. All you do is fill a bottle with tap water, pop it into a soda maker, and in 3 seconds you have seltzer. You can make sparkling fruit juice, adjust the bubble size to your preference, or add extracts and syrups to make soda.

The initial investment (machine, carbonation, bottles, a few syrups) starts at around $100, but quickly pays for itself. You only have to give up a few inches of counter space, and it works without electricity.

Slate’s Get Busy with the Fizzy marvels at the home carbonation phenomenon, and details the perfect storm of economics, health concerns, environmental awareness, and nostalgia that shaped it.

You can make classics like homemade ginger ale, root beer, and cream soda, or experiment with herbs and seasonal ingredients like strawberry-rhubarb, chai tea, and orange-lemongrass. The Homemade Soda Expert has tips and links to suppliers and recipes.



Posted in appliances + gadgets, sustainability | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The 10 Most Dangerous Foods to Eat While Driving

[image via Los Angeles Times]

Texting while driving gets all the attention these days, but few things are more distracting than a hot cup of coffee in your lap.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified the ten most common and dangerous foods to eat or drink while driving, and naturally, coffee is at the top of the list. Even with a travel lid, coffee seems to find its way out of the cup. The other nine on the list are:

2. Soup and 3. Chili.  No explanation necessary.

4. Tacos.  A well-known tendency to disassemble.

5. Hamburgers.  Messy, often two-handed eating, with the added distraction of condiment packets.

6. Chicken and 7. Ribs.  Saucy and greasy, plus bones to navigate.

8. Jelly donuts.  The prudent choice is glazed.

9. Soft drinks The potential to fizz and spill increases when a can or bottle is involved.

10. Chocolate.  Sticky, melty, and a wrapper to negotiate.

It’s estimated that 80% of all car accidents are caused by distracted and multitasking drivers. Eating and drinking rate at least as high as cell phone use for their ability to distract a driver, but they are legal activities practiced by the vast majority of drivers. Mobile dining has been institutionalized through the proliferation of drive-through windows and in-vehicle dining accommodations like the 15(!) cup holders found in the Honda Odyssey.

More food-related accidents occur in the morning, when commuters make a greater effort to keep spills off of their work clothes. Manual transmissions contribute to the hazard, with gear-shifting adding one more variable to the equation. A cell phone call while eating and driving increases the risks exponentially.

Eating while driving is not in itself illegal, but plenty of citations have been issued to especially careless drivers. New Orleans Saint Bobby McCray was involved in a very public incident he called a DWP— Driving with Pizza, and one chronic offender was issued a restraining order banning all edibles from his car. In perhaps the most egregious example, the driver wasn’t cited for eating but for feeding. That would be breastfeeding, While driving. And she was on a cell phone.

Meals on wheels indeed.



Posted in food safety | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Are Vending Machines the Next Big Thing?


We saw it happen to food trucks.
Those street corner fixtures, branded colloquially as ‘roach coaches,’ became food world darlings. Instead of withered hot dogs of questionable origins, suddenly you could find pastured-beef burgers on brioche buns, duck-filled dumplings, goat cheese cheesecake, and sustainably-harvested fish tacos. The jangly tune of a Mr. Softee truck was replaced by twitter tweets announcing truck locations and daily specials. Combining food-savvy, tech-savvy, and political correctness, a new breed of entrepreneurs elevated humble and much-maligned street food into a full-fledged culinary phenomenon. Are vending machines next? […]

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Watch Where You Sit: Attack of the Flesh-Eating Furniture

[image via DJ Reko]


Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of technological advancements.
iPhones, electron microscopes, instant streaming Netflix—all good stuff.
But every once in a while, something comes along that makes you wonder what those scientists are smoking.
This one feels like a big, big mistake. […]

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You Can (and should) Make Soda At Home.

The History Of Soft Drinks


You drink too much soda.

Last year Americans consumed 50 billion liters of soda. That comes to 216 liters for every man, woman, and child. Not you? Someone is drinking all that soda.

This is not like pineapples from Hawaii or lobsters from Maine—it’s water and flavoring and some CO2 for carbonation—the stuff could come from anywhere. And sparkling water? We haul San Pellegrino from Italy like it’s Prosciutto di Parma. Oceans of corn syrup, mountains of glass and plastic waste, money, fossil fuels; this is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. […]

Posted in appliances + gadgets, cook + dine | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Here’s the Scoop: Home Ice Cream Makers


Of course you should make your own ice cream.

It’s fresher than what you’ll buy, with no artificial flavors, stabilizers, or weird freezer taste. You control the ingredients: high-fat or low, dairy or not, honey-sweetened or sugar; and you can stretch your creativity with flavors and add-ins. […]

Posted in appliances + gadgets | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

8 Great Microwave Tricks


They say that necessity is the mother of invention, but I’d cast my vote for convenience.

When it comes to convenience, it’s tough to top the microwave oven. It is entirely redundant in our kitchens. It does nothing more than duplicate cooking processes that are nearly always better-performed by other appliances, yet 95% of us have one. […]

Posted in appliances + gadgets, cook + dine | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Induction Cooktops: A Better Way to Cook


What are you waiting for?!

There is a stove out there that cooks faster than what you have. The heat is instantaneous and adjusts with precision. It steals a mere 2 inches of cabinet space when installed. It’s safer, cleaner, cheaper to run, and better for the environment than the gas or electric cooktop you are currently using.

We are talking about induction cooking.

A traditional cooktop gets hot so that it can heat the pan, and the pan heats the food. An induction stovetop does not get hot. There is a high-frequency electromagnet in place of a gas burner or electric heating element. […]

Posted in appliances + gadgets, cook + dine | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Other People’s Refrigerators: Let’s look inside.


They say that the eyes are the window to the soul…I say, look inside the refrigerator.

Refrigerators are as individual as fingerprints. More than the clothes we wear or the cars that we drive, the food in our refrigerators speaks of income and education, age and health, religion and ethnicity, even where we like to go on vacation. Refrigerators can be treasure troves of exotica or wastelands of deprivation. They can speak of careful planning or organized chaos. They can remind us that we are overscheduled or underpaid. And sometimes they just scream Take out the trash!

The magnets we stick on the door, the stash of Girl Scout cookies, the science project growing in the back of the produce bin; refrigerators combine public display, private pleasures, and dirty secrets. It’s that combination that tempts us to peep. […]

Posted in blogging, cyberculture | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

A Message to the Unconverted: you really want a rice cooker.

Creative Commons image by anomalous4

To those of you who don’t own a rice cooker…

I know what you’re thinking. What self-respecting home cook keeps a one-hit wonder? Especially a single-purpose appliance that hogs counter space AND requires electricity.

To those of you who have one…

Remember when that was you?
Few things divide the cooking community into two distinct, equally impassioned camps like the rice cooker. […]
Posted in appliances + gadgets, cooking, gadgets | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Luck! Prosperity! Harmony! Feng Shui Your Kitchen


Feng Shui is not just a collection of superstitions.

Feng shui is a scientific system of aesthetics that adds up to a technique for living. Global businesses like McDonald’s and Disney are regularly guided by feng shui principles when they develop properties. Some U.S. cities have toyed with incorporating the techniques into their building codes.

When the elements of your environment (wood, water, metal, earth, fire) are in harmony, and negative energy is deflected, there is a flow of positive energy that brings balance and vitality to your life. Practitioners believe that health, wealth, fertility, personal growth, and positive relationships come to those living within a harmonious environment. […]

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I Didn’t Know I Could Recycle That!

[image via Living Etc.]

Yogurt containers into toothbrushes, Cheetos bags into CD cases.
While you were dutifully rinsing out tuna cans and bundling newspapers, recycling kept moving forward.

Specialized recyclers have sprung up to handle everything imaginable— or unimaginable in some cases: broken crayons, used dentures, old sports trophies, even sex toys. The kitchen is particularly fertile ground for recycling. Following are kitchen items that you’ll probably be surprised to learn are recyclable.

Hershey’s Kisses
Those little bitty foil wrappers sure add up. Around 80 million chocolate Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped every day. That’s enough aluminum foil to cover nearly 40 football fields. Instead of tossing it out, toss it into the bin with aluminum cans.

We like our chocolate and our wine. 13 billion natural wine corks are sold each year. Get mailing instructions or find a local cork drop-off location on the websites for recyclers ReCORK and  Yemm & Hart. Used corks can  find new life as placemats, shoe footbeds, flooring, and other building materials.

Terracycle turns food packaging into products like clipboards and backpacks. Terracycle aceepts:

  • Drink pouches (like Capri Sun) and single-brew coffee pouches (like Flavia)
  • Single-serve treat packaging (granola bars, cookie, gum, and candy bar wrappers)
  • Lunch kits (like Lunchables)
  • Chip bags
  • Cooking oil

I hope you know not to pour used cooking oil down the drain. It’s the number one cause of clogs, so clearly a lot of people are pouring it out. Whatever you’ve been doing,  you might be surprised to learn that your used oil can be recycled into biofuel. Check Earth911 for a nearby recycling location.

Bottle caps
Bottle caps need to be removed for plastic recycling. But don’t toss them. Salons and retailers that carry Aveda hair products partner with local schools to collect caps—threaded caps from water, milk, juice, and soda bottles, flip tops from ketchup bottles, and squeeze tops caps from dish and dishwasher soap. Find a participating drop-off location.

Produce stickers
Barry Snyder doesn’t recycle but will upcycle all those little stickers that come on supermarket produce, turning them into mosaic homages to well-known works of art. Visit Stickerman Produce Art to check out his work and for sticker shipping details.

Kitchen appliances
Remodeling a kitchen, or even just replacing the old toaster— use the Steel Recycling Institute’s location finder to pass along old appliances large and small.

If your unwanted items still have some life in them, get them into the hands of people who can use them. Sell them or offer them up on Freecycle, Craigslist, Throwplace, or iReuse.com.

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Grocery Shopping Jetson-Style.

     Jetsons image courtesy of Hanna-Barbera


If only life could be like the futuristic utopia of The Jetsons. A hungry Jane pushes a few buttons on the food-a-rac-a-cycle and there’s dinner for four. No chopping, no sauté pans to wash, and best of all– no grocery shopping.

Grocery shopping is the most universally detested of all household errands.

We are inconvenienced by trips to the dry cleaner, we shudder at the thought of holiday gift shopping, but nothing fills us with dread like a trip to the supermarket. […]

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What’s the Big Idea?!


A better mousetrap

The bagel guillotine. The salad shooter. The Veg-O-Matic. Not a one came from GE Research or Westinghouse Laboratory. Each of these contributions to the culinary arts was conceived in the mind of a home cook.

A new website has come along that applies a crowdsourcing model to turn concepts into products. Quirky is not exclusively a platform for kitchen innovations, but with a strong natural affinity between cooking and tinkering, the site receives a steady stream of cooking-related submissions. […]

Posted in food business, gadgets, Science/Technology, Web 2.0 | Tagged , , | 1 Comment
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