I hold conversations with my food.
I don’t mean that weirdly. It’s not like I imagine that the chicken drumsticks on my plate are the legs of those who have wronged me in the past or that the peas are the heads of my enemies.
That would be insane.
I was about six when it was first noticed by family members, whose justification for this seemingly odd behavior was it being “a phase that he’ll grow out of.” Being six, I was probably quite cute when I engaged in this activity and not at all an indication of underlying mental health issues.
Grow out of it, I did not. This is probably a good thing because, over the years, my culinary conversations have been converted from the direct anthropomorphization of the rice grains on my plate to more encompassing speeches about the cooking process.
“Yeast! Undergo respiration faster! Is it seriously that difficult to produce carbon dioxide? A TREE CAN DO IT, WHY CAN’T YOU?”
“Why won’t you hold properly, meringue? I gave you a pH of 3.8. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!”
“Come on tomato paste. You can reduce quicker than that, right? All that water’s just holding you back from being the best pizza topping since batch #42!”
The majority of my kitchen ramblings usually have one common topic: temperature. It doesn’t matter what I’m heating or cooling down, I can never seem to accurately gauge the optimal time taken for my kitchen experiments to complete. And the temperature is really important. As I’m not flush enough to afford the fancy temperature probes that directly save data to the computer, I can’t accurately compare the results of different tests quickly.
This is the point where a nifty little Kickstarter-funded project comes in.
The range is a temperature probe designed for the modern kitchen scientist. It connects to an iOS device (they hope to develop it for Android in the future) and allows you to plot temperature data taken from what you’re working on in the kitchen.
I think that the release from Supermechanical – the team behind the device – explains it better than I ever could:
“Range will help kitchen scientists better account for some of the variables that are critical for making consistently good food. We heard this need from our friends at Dandelion Chocolate, and then again many times over from other artisans we talked to while developing Range. Temperature is invisible unless you’re looking at a good reading, and that doesn’t help you see the trends over time, or over multiple experiments. The range aims to fix that.
In portrait mode, the Range iOS app is just a thermometer that’s super-quick to read or set alerts…Landscape mode gives users more data, graphing time-temperature and overlaying past runs of that recipe
In portrait mode, the Range iOS app is just a thermometer that’s super-quick to read or set alerts. We’re usually hitting our iPad with the one clean finger we have, so the interface is designed with that in mind. It’s simple for casual use, but will let you add rising or falling alerts. Landscape mode gives users more data, graphing time-temperature and overlaying past runs of that recipe.
The thermometers themselves are designed with our users and their kitchens in mind. We’ve seen a lot of creaky plastic gadgets, but they don’t look or feel as good as our favorite kitchen tools! Range belongs in the jar with your other kitchen utensils.
We’ve designed two models, Aqua and Ember, each with durable silicone clip-on handle. Ember Range is perfect for grilling meat with a 2″ probe and a pointed tip, and Aqua Range, featuring a 6″ probe with a rounded tip, is great for making candy and cheese, tempering chocolate, brewing, and distilling.
Range belongs in the jar with your other kitchen utensils
You don’t have to worry about batteries or wireless troubleshooting (there’s no time for fussing over that when you’re in the kitchen!). The range is a tool, and tools disappear into the task. You’ll use Range to craft the perfect meal; we crafted Range to let you do just that.”
Upon first hearing about this device, fellow Science Fair editor Kevin Liu declared this to be one of the coolest damn things that he’d seen for a long time and I’m inclined to agree with him.
However, the fact that it uses wired temperature probes means that a potential Range user would have only one meter (3 to 4 feet) in which to place their (rather expensive) iOS device. I don’t know how other people function but I’m not the most cleanly kitchen user when carrying out experiments and I’m not sure that I’d be comfortable putting an expensive device that closes to a bubbling pot.