I'm a sucker for hi-tech ideas, so was interested to see what Electrolux are predicting as the way kitchens will be in 2050. Here's what they reckon:
‘Heart of the Home’ is an intelligent, amorphous, interchangeable cooking surface that adapts to user needs. When using the Heart of the Home one simply places one’s ingredients on the surface. The appliance then analyses the ingredients and presents a list of suitable recipes. After deciding on a recipe, the user marks an area with his hand to determine how large the cooking area should be. Then the desired depth of the surface is created by simply pressing the hand against the malleable material. After achieving the required width and depth it’s just a matter of setting temperature and time with a simple touch of a finger.
Hmm. It's always useful when projecting forward 40 years (say), to look back 40 years. That takes us to 1970. Let's see. Back then I was cooking (well, my parents were) on an electric hob. Now I've got a gas hob with real, caveman-style flames coming out of it - I've actually moved backwards technological. Now, admittedly our last hob was a touch-pad controlled halogen thingy. But really it wasn't that different from the 1970s version. So it's entirely possible 40 years will result in very little change.
Equally, though, technology tends to go through sudden spurts, and it's quite possible that something will come along that will make what Electrolux is describing feasible. The two big things to be overcome are the ability to analyze the ingredients, and the malleable surface. That analysis had better be pretty specific, or it might feel the urge to cook your hand - not a good move. As for that surface, I just have no feeling for anything now that's even leading in that direction. Please tell me I'm wrong, but I haven't come across it.
It doesn't stop it being amusing though. Dreams are always worth indulging. So here's Electrolux's idea of how it might look in action: