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Smart kitchens do everything but cook, and now Samsung will even help with that

With a new degree of self-awareness and deeper connections than ever before, Samsung’s latest kitchen appliances aim to push connected cooking further than ever before. And like it or not, the Intelligence of Things could shape your next dinner party.

At CES 2021, the technology giant unveiled SmartThings Cooking, a new app function that connects its various products, and a new lineup of kitchen appliances that help you surface new recipes, shop for the ingredients, and even prep and cook a meal. SmartThings Cooking can recommend recipes that fit your tastes and dietary restrictions, then build weekly meal plans to match, Samsung says. And here’s the cool part: As you’re cooking, it sends recipe instructions directly to synced Samsung cooking devices — so a Samsung Family Hub fridge can order groceries and send a signal to the latest slide-in range to start preheating, while the fridge’s built-in LCD screen will guide you through every step of meal prep.

Connecting home appliances to apps and the Internet lends itself easily to jokes, most notably: Why would I want to turn the stove on remotely? Aren’t I right in front of the darn thing? But here’s a use case that makes sense: You’re walking through a recipe, and the next step is “preheat the oven to 375.” Yes, you can walk over the range, but you can also simply push a button to make it happen from where you are.

It’s not rocket science, but a lot of the best innovations in the kitchen are simple time- and labor-savers: Consider the connected appliances that automatically sync their clocks, so you never have different times flashing in your face.

But this is really just the beginning: In 2019, Samsung bought a startup named Whisk, which aids in the commerce side of recipes. It also essentially “atomizes” a dish: Sure, you’re eating an apple strudel, but you’re also eating 1 pound of dough, one-third cup of raisins, 8 tablespoons of butter (yikes!), and so on. By breaking recipes down into elements, Samsung is better able to help you shop for them, study your caloric intake and its impact on your health … and down the road, guide you through the steps of a recipe.

Yes, the concept of guided cooking is a little weird, but it also feels like a natural conclusion for the connected kitchen. Imagine a world where a pan tells the stove that it’s too hot for a given recipe? Or a pot that can work with your range to come to a boil but never to boil over? There’s plenty of innovation yet to come in the kitchen – and SmartThings Cooking seems like a great step down the road.

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Jeremy Kaplan
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