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A couple months back, The Spoon got in a little tiff with WIRED writer (and all around great guy) Joe Ray when he bylined an article that said the smart kitchen is very stupid.
As we’re a publication that’s all about the convergence of food and technology, this, naturally, got our goat. But here’s the thing, though. Ray wasn’t totally wrong. I experienced this firsthand over Thanksgiving when I tried my hand at connected holiday cooking.
Thanksgiving is typically the domain of my wife. But with an abundance of guests and a shortage of ovens, I decided to try my (slow) hand at smoking a turkey.
Armed with a Traeger pellet grill equipped with WiFire tech, and a block of Meater connected thermometers, I figured contributing to the holiday feast would be a snap.
I was wrong. I wrote about the whole experience, but the TL;DR version is this: Between getting the thermometers to actually connect (they didn’t) and a less-than-stellar app experience, my smart holiday cookout actually had to rely on the brains in my head and not in any device.
Thankfully, the turkey wound up tasting great, even if it did take a little more time and manual work than I was expecting. It tasted so good, in fact, that smoking another one next year is probably not a dumb idea (I just won’t be using any smart appliances).
Ghost Kitchens Are Very Much Alive
Everyone, it seems, is looking to get in on some of that sweet ghost kitchen action. Travis Kalanick, DoorDash, Chick-fil-A and now grocery retailer Kroger are making use of facilities that specialize in fulfilling meals for delivery (no dining in).
Yesterday, The Spoon’s Jenn Marson wrote about Kroger hooking up with the (fantastically named) meal delivery service ClusterTruck to launch multiple ghost kitchens. As Jenn wrote:
While the partnership is a high-profile one for a regional company like ClusterTruck, which is available mostly in the Midwest at this point, it’s also a smart move for Kroger. The concept of operating virtual restaurants out of ghost kitchens appeals nowadays to not just restaurants but also lifestyle brands, diet concepts, and celebrity chefs. Grocery stores were bound to follow at some point.
The line between grocery store and restaurant is already blurring, with many retailers offering fully prepared hot meals ready to go. So it makes sense that as off-premises dining continues to grow that we’ll see more retailers jump into the ghost kitchen delivery game. Why not order a hot dinner for tonight and get your groceries for the week dropped off on your doorstep at the same time?
A 3D Printed Vitamin Gummy
Everyone eats their kids’ gummy vitamins, right? Or is that just me?
Well, my days of stealing vitamins may be soon be a thing of the past, if Nourished makes it to these shores. As my colleague, Catherine Lamb wrote about today, Nourished makes 3D printed gummies layered with vitamins personalized for your needs.
The vitamins won’t be cheap ($51 for a month’s supply), but Nourished says its 3D printed approached improves the pills’ efficacy. As Catherine writes:
Typically, active ingredients that show up in vitamins — like ashwagandha and Vitamin A — interfere with each other when combined into the same capsule. However, by printing these ingredients on top of each other, Nourished can fuse them into the same bite-sized supplement.
Nourished is only available in the U.K. right now, but the company is heading for the U.S. next year. Just don’t tell my son.
Nourished is actually part of a wave of startups bringing more personalization to the food we eat. The Spoon is giving a nod to that space with Customize, a new one-day summit in NYC in February that will bring together leading innovators across the restaurant, retail, grocery, food and consumer industries to explore how personalization is changing these markets. Get your (personal) ticket today!