I’ve started using the term COVID-safe to mean people are following the guidelines. You have been vaccinated or you have created a bubble with people who follow the state mandates. You don’t do social engagements with complete strangers, and you have learned to stick with all of the safety precautions, such as wearing a mask and social distancing at the grocery store. Good for you, it means you care about other people, especially the vulnerable.
Now it is time to party. A COVID-safe gathering means you are in a bubble or meeting with direct family members. The Super Bowl is coming up on February 7, and the social rules in your state might vary. (In my case, it means at least one or two of the attendees watching the game will be vaccinated by then, otherwise, it’s going to be my wife and my son.)
What hasn’t changed is the food you can prepare, the widescreen delights of an HDTV, and maybe the Kansas City Chiefs winning the game again. I hope to try some mini hotdogs, possibly some chilli, and a few other concoctions to go along with the action.
My cooking product of choice will be the Chef IQ, which is a smart cooker made for people who prefer to watch the game and not think about recipes, temperatures, or even weighing ingredients. The Chef IQ does it all. Using an app, you can set up everything for your meal, then let the cooker itself do all of the work, including keeping everything warm.
I have to say, though: I don’t trust myself to compare this model against other pressure cookers or even high-tech models that replace your pots and pans. I loaned the Chef IQ to my daughter who knows how to cook and together we found the system works exactly as advertised. I tested out a few meals, but she did the comparison to cooking using the normal methods. Also, I am better at tasting the food than actually cooking it.
Her only minor complaint is that the Chef IQ does require that you follow their guidelines. You can’t just plop a chicken inside the pot, press a button, and walk away. There’s a little more to it than that. The app was also a bit of a pain to connect but once it was working, everything was smooth and easy. Between the two of us (me being a techie and her being a cook), it was not a big deal because the benefits of remote smart cooking outweigh the steps to perfection.
One of my realizations: I like to make the most of my time. The cooker has a scale built-in so you can skip some of the measuring and weighing. There are a ton of presets to help you through the basic setup, about 300 or more. The Chef IQ website claims you can cook about 70% faster than other methods, using the pressure cooker, and I can see that. For me, it was more about hands-off cooking and being able to tinker in the garage longer.
And, I want to keep testing. It’s fun to try out different settings and meals to see what works best. While my wife won’t go near the thing (she prefers traditional cooking methods), I’m going to experiment with some new dishes and see if I can keep pace with everyone else.