Catalogs, gadgets, and apps

Catalogs

As the holidays approach, one thing is almost guaranteed--a glut of catalogs in your mailbox. No sooner are the Halloween decorations down than the Christmas sales promotions begin (whether you like it or not). Even if your kitchen is very well stocked, there is a certain allure to the stunning images of beautiful serving vessels, cookware, and gadgets. In addition to these cooking tools, each season brings a plethora of new apps for tablets and phones.

One intriguing new app is a Bluetooth-connected kitchen scale with accompany iPad app that "aims to make baking foolproof." Its combination of recipes and automatic weighing means that the iPad acts as an supervisor of sorts. As the weight of each ingredient is reached, the app automatically moves to the next item to be added or to the next recipe step. As with most cooking apps, however, you are limited to the recipes that come with the app - a dicey proposition.

The NY Times has a video review of more high-tech tools and gadgets that can connect to the internet, including a slow cooker. The app for the slow cooker looks quite complicated and one wonders what, if any, advantage there could be to having it. Inspiration website Remodelista's top picks of kitchen tools for 2014 trends in the other direction. Although it does include an iPhone-connected thermometer with alarm, most of the list has decidedly old-fashioned tools including wooden spoons and a hand-cranked apple peeler.

As you peruse the catalogs in your mailbox, what products do you find yourself adding to your wish list?

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