Oct 6, 2009

Gadget gap

We have always been talking about generation gap for many generations. While I was thinking about different habits in my family, I couldn't help but notice that there is a strong gadget gap as well. Flashback to the late 80s! My father bought home a big Prestige pressure cooker. As a child, I was so excited about the sound of the whistle, while keeping track of the count. The cooker sat proudly on top of the gas stove as a king of the kitchen while the rest of the cooking utensils looked humble like its royal subjects. But this treatment lasted for just a few days as my grandma was completely uncomfortable with this giant new entrant in the kitchen. Although she was scared to use this gadget, she gave excuses like "Oh, the rice doesn't seem to quick properly in this cooker" or "the rice is very dry and doesn't taste good". After the few days, the cooker was safely kept in the topmost kitchen shelf. We were back to our good old ways of using the traditional brass vessel where it takes 30 minutes to cook 1 cup of rice. Yes, you heard it right - 30 minutes of time and LPG energy. It's of no use arguing with grandma for she felt very strong about not using pressure cooker. This continued for many, many years.

Coming back to the current decade, my father is very much comfortable using pressure cooker and when one seems to think the gadget gap is closed, yet another gap opens widely. My brother has bought a cute, little Black & Decker coffee maker. In a family where every morning begins with a hot cup of coffee, this should be a very useful gadget in the kitchen. Before this cute thing landed up, we have been using a manual coffee filter for God-knows-how-many-years. The gentle tapping on the head of this filter used to be my morning alarm. There is a strict and time consuming process that was followed using this filter. There could be severe repercussions if you don't adhere to this process such as spilled decoction, light flavor or burnt fingers.

An automatic coffee maker could solve many of these issues and one can grab a cup of coffee within 10 minutes and get on with the day. But it doesn't seem to be the case. Even though the process is cumbersome, my dad still prefers the manual filter as he believes that coffee from coffee maker is very light and doesn't taste good. I could notice a slight difference in the taste but nevertheless, it doesn't drastically cross my JND thresholds (just noticeable difference). But it's not the same with dad.

I wonder how I would be 30 years from now. What kind of gadgets would come up that would make life easier but I would be reluctant to change my good, old ways? Will it be a robot that programmes as per the recipe details and prepares the meal on its own? Will it be a gizmo that reads from all my books and gives me a summary?

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