Are we smart as appliances?

Do smart appliances and smart food mean smart people?

Are we getting dumber?

There are all kinds of "smart" things in our world now:

  • Smart phones
  • Smart appliances
  • Smart homes even.

We have entered a world where cooking with your phone is not about being “hot stuff,” and it doesn’t just mean ordering meals to be delivered, either.

The pandemic has changed the way we eat. While it is true there was some binging on potato chips during lockdown, for the most part it wasn’t what we were eating but how we ate it. Cooking at home became a trend again (like it or not).

We got a bit smarter in the kitchen, learning how to make sourdough bread perhaps, or planting a victory vegetable garden last summer.

Our kitchens got smarter, too. There are now grill thermometers that work with wi-fi and Bluetooth, microwaves and instant pots that Alexa can operate, and scales and ovens that come loaded with recipes.

We still need to put food in these devices, but of course we can order it online and even have it delivered.

Many grocery outlets have prepared meal kits with ingredients pre-packaged, and there are subscriptions for everything from produce to coffee.

Restaurant food became more often about take out or delivery. Many more folks took up the cause of supporting local food producers and other independent businesses; it was the smart thing to keep our local economy going and show that we wanted their services.

Smart food became an even bigger topic in the last year.

As we sat at home and became stressed about the state of the world, we looked to foods to help us feel better and maybe even outweigh the effect of those potato chips eaten on the couch.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Pumpkin seeds – rich in many minerals, they help boost our brain function
  • Tomatoes – full of lycopene, which helps us retain memories
  • Berries – with plenty of anthocyanins, they help our brain neurons perform well
  • Walnuts – shaped like a brain even, this great energy snack has plenty of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eggs – full of many nutrients and key elements, not the least of which is choline that helps our nerve function
  • Dark chocolate – (one of my favourites) the flavonoids help improve our brain blood flow and memory
  • Fermented foods – kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha… all these living foods with probiotics help gut health, which works in tandem with our brain

I like all these foods and consume them on a somewhat regular basis, but I am not sure I got much smarter in the last year.

It seems like the plan was that we would get smarter as the technology got smarter, with all the super foods and supplements.

But instead, aren't we getting dumber, relying on the smart appliances to do the work and making excuses for our laziness?

I want to be smart. I don't want to rely on smart mechanical things to keep me going, and I know it takes more than just pumpkin seeds on my yogurt and putting kale in my burger to be a responsible eater.

While those may not be bad ideas, we need to be considering the big picture if we want to keep getting smarter.

I know we are not perfect, and life is busy. But that’s no excuse. It is time to use our existing smarts for some innovation. One full year into a pandemic world, we need to move forward.

Awareness is a big start and owning the results of our decisions sets a good example. Let us embrace being part of the whole world:

  • Support our local economy and consider the global environment. Maybe we can’t use our own containers when we pick up that take-out food – but how about reducing waste by shopping smart for groceries with a bit of meal planning or a list of what to use on the fridge?
  • Share good ideas when you can’t share good food. It might not work to have the office potluck anymore, but how about adding to someone’s repertoire with a recipe?
  • Engage others to help keep the momentum. Have your roommates or kids participate in meal planning and cooking. Change your focus from recycle to upcycle or reuse to reduce your waste. Make a date to meet a friend for a walk outside instead of only Zoom calls.

Our smart devices are useful tools. How about we make use of them to create a brand-new world, instead of having them use us to maintain their existence?

Then we will be using all that extra power the smart foods put in our systems.

Or you could ask Alexa if there are any potato chips left.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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