From salad spinners to wine aerators, the kitchen is a magnet for gizmos that go out of date faster than an unwatched avocado.
Every now and then, we are told about a kitchen gadget that begs the question ‘Have the End Days started?’ It is possible that an email about a banana slicer gizmo may not mean society has become so decadent that Armageddon has actually begun. However, the ping of the press release arriving could be mistaken for the distant thundering of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
This all sprung to mind recently when news of the Primo Ager fridge slid into the Entertainment Now inbox. Making a strong bid for the Most Absurd Gizmo Ever title, the appliance is billed as ‘the world’s first pro dry age smart fridge’. Apparently, it enables Joe Public to professionally mature their own steaks. Of course! How have we come so far without one in every home?
This is your fridge calling
Coming on like a lockdown project that got way out of hand. The fridge is so smart that it automatically adjusts the temperature, humidity and airflow of its interior to optimise your meat.
Once your sirloin, T-bone or porterhouse has achieved perfection, the fridge will notify its owner via a mobile app. Having a steak aging facility in a butcher’s shop or restaurant is appropriate. Does a domestic cook really need a text from their fridge to inform them that their rib-eye is ready? According to its blurb, the Primo Ager is ‘disrupting the landscape of home cooking’. I suspect that particular landscape is unrecognisable to most home cooks. In fact, it seems likely that the sort of person who purchases a Primo Ager for their beef does very little cooking themselves. They have people to do that sort of thing for them. The primary function of the Primo fancy meat locker is to make the owner’s kitchen look impressively professional.
Curated steak collection
To be fair, there will be a small number of home cooks whose carnivorous inclinations are so ravenous that a Primo Ager seems like a necessity. They will need it to house their carefully curated steak collection. And beef bores definitely will have a steak collection that they will happily discuss at punishing length.
It is odds on that they will also own an espresso maker that requires four baristas and a PhD to operate. These are people for whom grind size really matters. By people, I obviously mean men. Yes, it is a generalisation but it seems reasonable to assert that were a woman to ask a question about a knife it would be ‘Does it cut?’ For the gadget-obsessed bloke, a blade’s cutting qualities are something to be considered after mulling over its carbon to iron ratio and then debating the heft of its tang. The niche geekery of gadgets is at least as important as their functionality.
At least a knife is a true kitchen essential. Perhaps the only one. Other kitchen tools or rather, gadgets, come and go. The toastie maker so beloved of the Eighties is rarely spotted on a kitchen side these days. Although the Soda Streams of the same era seem to be making a comeback. How long before lockdown bread makers migrate from the frontline of the kitchen to the Siberia of the kitchen cupboard? Will today’s air fryers become yesterday’s microwave egg poacher?
Are Nutribullets still a thing? Would you confess to owning a spiraliser in 2022? Given the trend towards a plant-based diet, owning a fridge dedicated to maturing meat might even become a hate crime in future decades. Perhaps its manufacturers should get ahead of the game and rebrand the Primo Ager as a vegetable maturing device. All it would need for it to get off the ground would be a couple of influential chefs to create signature dishes using 60 day-aged carrots and we will all be googling Primo Ager.