Technological lines in the sand

Published 10:40 pm Friday, November 30, 2018


Coffee with Mimi

Just when I thought I had reached a place where I enthusiastically embrace the inevitability and possibility of technology in life, I get a dose of reality. I have slowly, but surely, learned how to maneuver clumsily through social media and can translate on a bit more than a beginner level, details of managing a website.

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I use my cell phone camera feature regularly. Mathew Brady I am not, but the results are acceptable for my needs.  The vast bank of internet sources for fact checking is employed frequently.  Email, texting and messaging are time savers for which I am grateful.  And, what would I do without my Google docs and cache of saved material?

While shopping and business tasks are much more fun when engaged in personally, I have resorted to on-line functions to accomplish the jobs without too much reservation. 

In short, I think I have assimilated the universe of technological tools at my disposal into my daily life with grace and a willing spirit.

However, there is a line in the sand.    

I have two of those electronic book machines. The original reason for the acquisition was beach trips. Just think of all the space saved by tossing in the little device which is smaller than even one book —  you can access as many books as you want right there on the spot.  The first version was pretty basic.  It was also hard to read in sunlight. The family provided me with the newer version solving that particular issue.

I don’t know where the devices are in my house.  I hope I do not live to see the day when printed books are extinct.  Maybe that explains my obsession with bookstores.  If I acquire enough books now, I will be prepared should the day come when there are none being printed.   

Perhaps I will organize all my friends and family members.  Each member of the group will agree to purchase books on different topics thus eliminating duplicates.  Should the sad day come, we can trade around into infinity.

The second potential technology “advancement” threatens my kitchen.  Of course, I own equipment which is time saving.  I appreciate the self-cleaning function of the oven, but I am content with knobs and simple on-off switches otherwise.  An ice maker is a necessity, but I do not want any enhanced digital features on my fridge.  A fridge is a piece of equipment, I don’t want to interact with it or access its contents while shopping.

But, the real crisis may be books, again.  According to a news item on my digital feed, cookbooks are dinosaurs in the making.  The popular creators are going digital.  In a big way.  There are projects on the board for “connected food platforms” and “eating technology companies.”  One celebrity chef has declared cookbooks and recipes dead.  He announced this with the proclamation that the new concept “integrates the disjointed aspects of the food ritual.”  What?

I’ve been a real sport about the technology thing.  But, this “concept” with food is a non starter.  A while back I purged my cookbook collection to winnow out the items I never use.  You know, the pamphlets which accompany a new crock pot, waffle iron or the honey glazed ham.  I eliminated the trendy bread machine, pizza stone and 50 appetizers with cream cheese booklets, and so forth. Room for new acquisitions.

I saved the books which contain good stories, recipes from travels, clear instructions and tried and true methods.  That culling process resulted in 85 favorites.  Of course, there is a binder of family and friends’ recipes which are invaluable.  Some of these papers and books are  stained from years of use.  The operative word is use.  I really use them.  They sit on the counter while I am measuring, mixing and blending.

This new concept for food production is that recipes are not necessary.  Modern cooks will create according to personal preference, needs, allergies, available technology and what’s in the pantry.  Modern cooks will whip up dinner from…what, and how, exactly?

Gee whiz, golly.  I do believe that’s what we do with a recipe.  The evolution of food production and meal preparation is exactly that.  One day, way back, a person needed to feed a family.  The family had flour, eggs, salt and some oil.  There was a fire and a pot in which to boil water.  A few tomatoes, some fresh herbs and maybe a bit of sausage.  It all came together and there was dinner.  The daughters of the family paid attention, and perhaps wrote down the process before hopping on the next boat to the new world.

You maybe can make a buck off your new “concept,” but memorable dinners will always be a product of that treasury of food knowledge that has been passed down and written down by those who wanted to share and teach others how to prepare and enjoy a good meal. 

When you get rid of all your recipes and books and your electronic device isn’t responsive, give me a call.  I’ve got a book, or two.