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I love poached eggs. Love ’em. Can I make them? Not so well. But technology may soon come to my rescue in the form of the Meld, a smart kitchen gadget that promises to make careful, precise cooking accessible to the culinarily inept like me. The project, currently funding on Kickstarter, is expected to ship this October.
Rather than making you invest in all new equipment, the clever premise of Meld is that it will work with the gear you already have. It comes in two parts: a knob that replaces the one on your stove’s burner and a temperature probe that clips onto your existing saucepans and pots. The two communicate via Bluetooth LE, with the probe determining when the temperature needs to be adjusted, and the knob automatically decreasing or increasing the heat as necessary, according to its internal algorithm. It can also work in conjunction with a smartphone app, following programmed in recipes (or those you add yourself) to automatically change the temperature based on your progress through the cooking process.
Granted, connected temperature probes are nothing new, especially with the current craze for sous-vide cooking, but it’s the smart part of Meld that appeals–especially since at an eventual retail price of $149, it’s way cheaper than getting a whole new cooktop. While I’d ordinarily be wary of the knob’s purported automatic control, the use of the paired sensor is what sets this apart: Since it can get feedback in real time, Meld doesn’t have to “know” where high or medium or simmer are on your particular stove.
Personally, though my favorite feature of the Meld is its most idiot-proof: if you’re following a recipe from the app, it can detect when you’ve reached the end and automatically turn the heat off. Which is great, because leaving a burner on accidentally is totally my move.