Smart dishwasher, halogen oven are part of `intelligent kitchen'

Computer, Web play big roles in up-to-date room of many purposes

September 03, 2000|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Better Homes and Gardens' editors have used technology to develop an "intelligent kitchen" that is both high-tech and livable.

The kitchen was designed with input from the magazine's readers, according to Joan McCloskey, the magazine's executive building editor."[Readers wanted] the style and comforts of a traditional kitchen equipped with the fast-paced cyber-world we live in today. In the intelligent kitchen, we've combined cyberspace with warm home space," said McCloskey

According to McCloskey, the kitchen has to look good and work efficiently. One reader described the ideal kitchen as bright with windows, appliances that are easy to use as well as clean, and with plenty of room to work.

Kitchen-design theory has changed over the last few years, favoring smooth and efficient work flow. For example, new designs accommodate more than one cook working at the same time.

The halogen oven also is becoming an integral part of any modern kitchen.

These so-called "speed ovens" use halogen lamps to reduce cooking time, and can bake a potato in 10 minutes and roast a whole chicken in 20 minutes, with no need for preheating.

The cooktop has both gas burners and an electric grill/griddle.

The kitchen has a warming drawer that keeps meals warm between cooking and serving. The drawer gently heats foods between the time the food is cooked and served, or it can be used to warm dinner rolls before the gravy congeals.

It also can be used to heat take-out food. Because the temperature controls can be adjusted to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you can use the warming oven to proof bread.

But the kitchen isn't just about cooking.

It can contain a laundry room and an area described as "family/hearth," in which members can relax around a direct-vent gas fireplace with a glass door that pulls down to be used as a food warmer.

The family/hearth area has the ever-present television set -- TV dinners, even the gourmet variety that doesn't come in aluminum tins, have become an integral part of the culture.

It's WebTV, by the way.

The kitchen -- 900 square feet -- features a number of innovative appliances that have debuted over the last few years and have slowly been gaining acceptance.

Critical to any high-tech kitchen is the computer. This one has a computer with a flat-screen monitor, printer and scanner in a desk area.

High-tech but somewhat more expected in the kitchen is the DishDrawer, which is more versatile in its use of space than the traditional dishwasher.

Manufactured by Fisher and Paykel of New Zealand, the DishDrawer, which was introduced two years ago, was designed to wash big loads as economically as small ones.

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