Look, it’s no secret that within the last 10 years everyone has completely lost the ability to read maps. Well, everyone except Candy Industry Magazine’s editor-in-chief Bernie Pacyniak, the last man on earth without a cell phone. The rest of us though? We can’t get anywhere without pulling up our GPS app on our phones.
And the more we rely on them, the more they advance, so that we end up relying on them even more. The directions continue to get ever more specific making it unnecessary to even think about which lane you need to be in.
“Use. The. Center. Lane. To. Make. A. Left. Turn. Then. Prepare. To. Make. A. Right. Onto. Lake. Cook. Road,” she says in her patient, robotic voice.
“Wow, thanks GPS! You’re so clever!”
“Use. The. Left. Lane. To. Enter. The. I-94. Ramp.”
“I love you GPS Lady!”
But why limit our total dependence on technology to driving?
That’s where the new Perfect Bake app system comes in. It comes with a scale that connects to your phone or tablet and then does all the hard parts of baking for you.
“It hand-holds the user throughout the entire baking process, from recipe selection, scaling and prep, measuring and adding ingredients, mixing and portioning, to baking and cooling,” says Pure Imagination, the company that makes the app.
The whole process starts with ingredients. The system comes with color-coded bowls for the various ingredient stages, such as dry or wet. So, if you’re making chocolate chip cookies and you need to mix the flour, sugar and chocolate chips, you put the orange bowl on the scale.
Then, you throw away your measuring cups because you don’t need them anymore if you’re using this app. Perfect Bake doesn’t care about your three-fourths cup of sugar. It’s all about the grams.
All you do is pour the ingredient into the bowl until the app says stop.
“As an ingredient is poured, the virtual bowl on their tablet or smartphone fills up in real-time, showing progress. "Ding!" An audio alert tells the user it's time to stop. With baking, precise measurement of each ingredient is critical. Measuring by weight is more accurate,” Pure Imagination says.
Yes, I would be worried about how accurate the “real-time” progress was too, especially with ingredients like a dash of salt or a spoonful of vanilla. But these days my GPS knows how to navigate the intricate turns of a mall parking lot, so hey, anything’s possible.
Plus, we haven’t even gotten to the really cool part yet — the recipe modification. Let’s say you want to make exactly 26 peanut butter cookies — there’s a setting for that. Or let’s say you want use exactly the half bag of butterscotch chips you have left in the cupboard — there’s a setting for that. Or, all you have is a 4-inch pan from the dollar store? There’s a even a setting for that!
“The app does all of the calculations for you, automatically rescaling the recipe and adjusting the ingredient amounts — math that is complicated for even the best pastry chefs,” Pure Imagination partner Darin Barri says.
And, of course, what would a cell phone app be without timers? Perfect Bake tells you exactly how long to stir, cook and cool everything.
It’s not hard to translate this whole thing into at-home confectionery cooking. Simply replace “Chocolate chip cookies” with “Fudge” or “Caramels” and it’s just gotten a lot easier to heat sugar to exactly the right temperature.
So who knows, 10 years from now, our entire society might no longer be able to navigate a recipe without a cell phone. Personally, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. Now excuse me while I check Google Maps for directions from my job to my house.