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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the i-don't-need-twitter-on-my-fridge-but-a-smarter-oven-would-be-nice dept.

Technology 228

Tekla Perry writes: We cook our food today using technology invented to bake bricks. We can do a lot better. Nathan Myhrvold explains what's wrong with today's ovens and challenges oven designers make them better. He says, "Oven designers could do a lot to make ovens heat more evenly by taking advantage of the different ways ovens transfer heat at different cooking temperatures. At 200 C or below, convection moves most of the heat. But at 400 C, radiant energy starts doing a fair amount of the heat transfer. At 800 C, radiation overwhelms convection. Why couldn't we have an oven designed to cook primarily by convection at low temperatures that switches to radiant heating for high-temperature baking? ... The shiny skin of raw fish reflects heat, but as the skin browns, it reflects less and less energy. That’s why food under a broiler can seem to cook slowly at first and then burn in the blink of an eye. But technology offers a fix here, too. Oven designers could put optical sensors in the oven chamber to sense the reflectivity of the food, and then the oven controller could adjust the heat automatically or at least alert the cook as the surface browns. And a camera in the oven could feed to a color display on the front panel, giving the chef a clearer view of the food than a small window in the door can. Indeed, a decent optics system could allow designers to dispense with the glass in the door altogether, reducing the gap between the hottest and coolest corners of the oven and obviating the need to open the door and rotate the food midway through cooking.

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first post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363615)

Burma shave

the real question is... (4, Funny)

retchdog (1319261) | about 5 months ago | (#47363627)

the real question is "how many patents have Mr. Myhrvold and his minions already staked out in this area?"

Re:the real question is... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363947)

The real question is "who cooks at 800C?". I do quite a bit of baking and the only reason to go over 200C is pizza.

Re:the real question is... (1)

guises (2423402) | about 5 months ago | (#47364059)

Yeah... a charcoal grill is the hottest thing that a home cook is likely to have and they don't get above 375. You might think that he's talking about professional kitchens, though even they would have fairly limited applications for something that hot. In reality though, since it's Nathan Myhrvold, he's talking about patents and ensuring that no one will ever be able to make more innovative ovens without paying him.

Re:the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364237)

Whatever! I hit 800C with mine all the time. You just aren't using enough nitromethane!

Re:the real question is... (2, Interesting)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 5 months ago | (#47364123)

If I want a steak like a steakhouse, I want 800C

200C is too low for a pizza, unless you are talking "american" pizza. I get the pizza stone as hot as possible, somewhere north of 250C as I can get.

Prime rib or steak I get the oven as high as possible, leave a cast iron grill in there and then sear it fast.

Re:the real question is... (0)

meta-monkey (321000) | about 5 months ago | (#47364373)

You are correct sir. I've got a phenomenal recipe for steak with a brown butter sauce I got from either Esquire or Playboy, I forget which. So good. And when you serve it still in the cast iron pan, people are all impressed and shit.

Now I want a steak...damn.

Re:the real question is... (1)

praxis (19962) | about 5 months ago | (#47364501)

you serve it still in the cast iron pan

This recipe does not call for resting the steak on a rack?

Re:the real question is... (3, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 5 months ago | (#47364225)

Who doesn't want to cast aluminium in their oven?

Re:the real question is... (1)

rokstar (865523) | about 5 months ago | (#47364257)

800 is a bit much but I tend to do most of my bread baking at 500F (260C). If I could get it hotter I would so that I could do other things like pizza and breads.

Re:the real question is... (1)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 5 months ago | (#47364423)

Scones. They get cooked at around 230C, as do a number of other baked goods.

Re:the real question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364523)

Scones. They get cooked at around 230C, as do a number of other baked goods.

The question posed was "who cooks at 800C?"

Re:the real question is... (2)

Shoten (260439) | about 5 months ago | (#47363997)

the real question is "how many patents have Mr. Myhrvold and his minions already staked out in this area?"

Especially since he's co-founder of "Intellectual Ventures," which is a HUGE holder of patents.

Yeah, I don't know that a $5,000 oven that cooks a bit faster than the one I already have and has all of these points of calibration that can go wrong is going to be better than a straightforward metal box with a heat source and a thermostat.

Re:the real question is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364015)

Exactly.

The first thing that comes to my mind when i see the name 'Nathan Myhrvold' is - What kind of crappy pro-patent astro-turf [*] is he going to try and push on us _this_ time?!

[*] Charity, cook books, celeb profile, 'i'm just a regular ol' boy ya'll', yadda yadda.

Re:the real question is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364137)

All the comments below are right on the money, as far as I'm concerned. He may be a genius, but he's definitely bordering on some minor kind of evil.
On a related topic, this reminds me a little of James Dyson, getting all engineery on a household device usually associated with women. But now that it looks like a high-tech thing, and is expensive, maybe men will vacuum too (I doubt it, but maybe).
If an oven is made wildly expensive and high-tech, with the occasional need to be rebooted, will men cook more? And I don't mean once a month, making a huge mess they don't clean up and demanding all sorts of kudos, but the every-day chore of shopping/prepping/cooking/serving/clearing/cleaning that women do?
Again, I doubt it. Reminded of the once in a blue moon event where my father made scrambled eggs, and expected to be treated like Albert Schweitzer.

Re:the real question is... (1, Flamebait)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about 5 months ago | (#47364517)

My wife and I both use the oven equal amounts, more or less. Same goes for the vacuum. What point were you trying to make? That men doing housework is evil? I'd accuse you of trolling, but I am too confused to.... ahhh. Touché.

Cost (3, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 5 months ago | (#47363633)

Because the incremental improvement adding all of these optics and electronics, make it robust, and make it work is not cheap. And most cooks do pretty darn good with just what they have.

Small benefit vs big cost => no change

Re:Cost (3, Insightful)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 5 months ago | (#47363725)

In order to see a real change you really need a few "killer apps". i.e. some dishes that are significantly easier, better, faster
if prepared using this new oven. A single incredible dish that can only be cooked in this new oven would be a start but I'm not
sure very many people would buy an oven for a single dish. The microwave became popular because it was faster than the
oven for a whole range of things.

Re:Cost (2)

jfengel (409917) | about 5 months ago | (#47363841)

I could imagine, say, pastry chefs, who are already famous for being control freaks. Producing truly great pastry, reliably, is an extraordinary feat of both science and art. I could imagine them wanting this for a high-end patisserie.

But beyond that, it seems to be a solution looking for a problem. This is Myhrvold, who already wants to see you a $600 book containing a recipe for a hamburger requiring several thousand dollars worth of tools you don't already have in your kitchen (including a dewar of liquid nitrogen). To make a hamburger. I'm sure it's a very, very, very good hamburger... but in the end, it's a hamburger, and I do a pretty fine burger with a cast-iron skillet.

Re:Cost (2)

slashdice (3722985) | about 5 months ago | (#47363845)

Nah, just befriend a few members of congress and they'll ban traditional ovens in favor of your newfangled ones that use slightly less energy.

Re:Cost (1)

mjm1231 (751545) | about 5 months ago | (#47363919)

In order to see a real change you really need a few "killer apps". i.e. some dishes that are significantly easier, better, faster
if prepared using this new oven. A single incredible dish that can only be cooked in this new oven...

Garlic bread. The kind you buy in the supermarket. Either the frozen stuff of the kind in the ovenproof foil bag. It never quite cooks all the way in the oven, so I pop it under the broiler. Just for a second, to brown the top. A second or two to long and it ends up charcoal burnt. And this is what happens. Every. Damn. Time.

Re:Cost (2)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 5 months ago | (#47364233)

The burning occurs because once all the water has evaporated from the top of the crust, it'll burn incredibly quickly. Typically it's difficult to gauge from a quick glance how much moisture is remaining in the top layers of the bread - although much easier to gauge the amount of steam you see when you open the oven door.

Easiest solution to tackle the evaporating of water is to brush a little oil over the top. Water evporates, oil soaks in instead, the hot oil helps the crust brown quicker and prevents it drying out as quickly yet makes it very crispy. If you want the bread cooked more evenly, re-wrap the whole thing in foil - the inside will stay soft but the crust will be more pliable too.

This isn't the sort of thing you can do in advance - if you apply oil to soon-to-be-pre-packaged garlic bread, it'll soak throughout the bread, negating the effect, so if you must use the premade stuff, crack open the foil and get busy with the pastry brush. Lots of people will say use olive oil, but at 200ÂC rapeseed or groundnut oil will cook better and won't spoil the taste of the garlic butter.

Can't believe I just had a minor geek-out about garlic bread, something I don't even like that much. But I've done it this way for others and none of the survivors have complained yet :)

Re:Cost (2)

dfsmith (960400) | about 5 months ago | (#47364217)

In order to see a real change you really need a few "killer apps".

You're right: this would be the perfect oven for the budding serial killer. Set dial to "cremate" and you're done!

Re:Cost (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 5 months ago | (#47363753)

The added cost and complexity would result in a pricey oven that only serious/professional cooks could justify; the same group who would probably raise their little French noses at such a contraption.

Also, cooking is an art. no Rube Goldberg oven is going to allow people like me to make anything more than digiorno pizza.

HOW hot? (0)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | about 5 months ago | (#47363929)

at 400 C, radiant energy starts doing a fair amount of the heat transfer. At 800 C, radiation overwhelms convection.

800 degrees C??? That's 1470 degrees F! Who has an oven that goes that high? That will turn just about anything into charcoal in under a minute.

Even 400 C-- 750 degrees F-- is quite a bit hotter than most ovens.

Re:HOW hot? (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | about 5 months ago | (#47364175)

most of the things I would think about using an oven for would be in the 200-250 C range.

Re:HOW hot? (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 5 months ago | (#47364267)

at 400 C, radiant energy starts doing a fair amount of the heat transfer. At 800 C, radiation overwhelms convection.

800 degrees C??? That's 1470 degrees F! Who has an oven that goes that high? That will turn just about anything into charcoal in under a minute.

Even 400 C-- 750 degrees F-- is quite a bit hotter than most ovens.

Commercial ovens, and specifically commercial salamander ovens. And what the summary failed to explain is that the heating elements get up to that temperature, not the air - hence, infrared radiation cooks the food, rather than convection through the air.

They're useful for anytime you want a quick and hard sear, including steaks, creme brulee, flash broiling fish, etc.

Re:Cost (1)

rgmoore (133276) | about 5 months ago | (#47364297)

Actually, a lot of serious/professional cooks are buying exactly the kind of extremely fancy cooking gear Myhrvold likes talking about. This stuff got started because there are things that are much easier to prepare with the right technology, and high-end restaurants thrive on providing things that other places can't. Professionals have been the driving force behind sous vide [wikipedia.org] cooking, for instance.

Re:Cost (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 5 months ago | (#47364649)

The point is, we can have a much better oven without an increase in price. Same amount of material, or even less material. There is low hanging fruit that is being ignored. Consider how long it took for toaster ovens to get timers. Years after the introduction of microwave ovens, all of which have timers and automatic shutoff, most toaster ovens still had nothing more than a cheap thermostat.

It's a similar story in housing. The features of the site are routinely ignored. Air conditioning coils should be placed on the east side of a building. It would be so easy and zero cost to simply flip and rotate the plans to position the coils there, but they don't. In most places, half the energy used by a house is spent on mere heating and cooling. Houses should have much better insulation. Instead, money is spend on useless bling like the unnecessarily complicated rooflines that will cost a fortune to reshingle. A simple roof would be better and cheaper. Then there is the completely stupid fireplace that was recognized as inefficient in the 18th century by none other than Benjamin Franklin. He advocated a wood burning stove. But we still put badly deisgned fireplaces in every house today. They are not serious methods of heating homes, they are entertainment devices so people can watch pretty flames. But a lot of people are fooled by them, think a fireplace can serve as heat if the furnace is out of commission.

What's with this knee jerk thinking that improvements are always costly?

Re:Cost (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47363857)

No one likes cleaning ovens.
I don't want to be forced to clean my oven every time I want to cook something because the camera lens is fogged up and can't figure out how hot my food is.

No amount of thermal imaging is going to tell the oven how hot the inside of my chicken is, so I don't end up with salmonella.

Re:Cost (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 5 months ago | (#47363995)

You are right, the camera idea is stupid. The solution to your 'Chicken a la Salmonella' issue is to incorporate a probe thermometer INTO the actual oven, so you stick your chicken in the oven, unclip the probe from its holder on the inside of the oven, jam it in the chicken, and close the oven, then monitor the internal temperature of your chicken on the readout on the console of the stove, without ever needing to open the oven. (i guess that'd be what you call the part of the stove where the clock and whatnot is, never considered it before).

Re:Cost (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47364315)

Microwaves have been available with temperature probes like that for 20 years. My parents owned one and it was quite useful for heating up drinks, you just put in the temperature, plug in the problem and away it goes.

It was great until one day it wasn't plugged in properly. You know what happens when you put metal objects in a microwave right?

You can also buy them for conventional ovens. Although they don't control the oven, an alarm can be set to go off at a predetermined temperature. They're not too expensive.
Example: http://www.breville.com.au/dig... [breville.com.au]

For it to be integrated in to the oven, you'd need it to be detachable for easy cleaning and so you don't have to put gloves on to unclip it and put it in the food after the oven has heated up.

Archair engineers are teh failz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364209)

You can blow pressurized air across the lens assembly to keep it cleared. We do it all the time with jet engines. I hate all of you armchair engineers with a passion of 10,000 of these 800C ovens.

Re:Cost (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 5 months ago | (#47363905)

No shit. My oven blew something on the "motherboard" that caused it to require a repair of $450. In checking on line, folks recommended just putting a piece of 3x5 between the plastic cover and the board which seems to corrected the problem, for now. But jeeze, it's an oven.

[John]

Re:Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364245)

And next time you'll google the problem before you get bilked for $450. Nah, you probably won't. Bitching on /. is way easier.

Re:Cost (5, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#47363989)

Because the incremental improvement adding all of these optics and electronics, make it robust, and make it work is not cheap. And most cooks do pretty darn good with just what they have.

This is spot-on. The suggestions in this article mostly range from the impractical and expensive to the barely useful and ludicrously expensive.

I do a LOT of baking, roasting, braising, etc. in my oven. I'm also the kind of guy who owns multiple probe thermometers with different sensitivities and speeds, multiple kitchen scales with different accuracies for different quantities, a pH meter for kitchen use, hydrometers for fermentation, miscellaneous lab glassware for accurate measuring (and often convenient pouring), etc.

Basically, I know there's a lot of room for precision in the kitchen, and I make use of it all the time.

On the other hand, I'm also the kind of guy who throws in a handful of some herb and a couple pinches of another spice while I'm cooking or baking -- I recognize that there are sometimes when precision is warranted, and sometimes when it doesn't really make a huge difference becauses there are other variables in play. (How fresh is the herb or spice, is it small new leaves or large old leaves, etc.? -- sure, I could weigh a small amount of it, but those variations mean that a "handful" is probably about as reasonably precise as I'm going to get in terms of flavor potential.)

Cooking and baking generally involves a lot of ingredients that have significant variation to them -- it's not like you order "laboratory grade" spices that have stable flavor profiles and are 99.99% pure or whatever. And kitchen conditions are variable enough in temperature and humidity that even if you had the perfect yeast that always started out exactly the same, by the time your dough ferments for a couple hours in your kitchen, each batch is going to be a little different. (Even with my temperature-controlled proofing box for proofing dough, my pizza timing and process will require adjustment from batch-to-batch.)

So why exactly am I going to pay a ridiculous premium for these features on my oven? Most of them can be easily approximated with cheap fixes for those who care. If I want to have higher humidity in my oven, I put a steam pan in. Great. Whee. Cost of a few bucks for a cheap pan. If I want bursts of steam like a commercial bread oven, I can use a water kettle and a piece of tubing that costs me a couple bucks -- a valve too, if I want to be fancy about it. Myhrvold worries about how some of these "fancy" ovens can produce high humidity, but what if you want to brown your food and need to get rid of the humidity, which the oven isn't designed for. What the heck? Take my $5 steam pan out of the freakin' oven after I'm done with the steaming phase. What is so hard about this?

Or I could spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for some ridiculous improvements to have precision equipment when I'm not generally using ingredients or cookware or whatever else that are built to the same precise tolerances... so I'm wasting money. The biggest improvement to my pizza-baking, for example, came NOT from precision measuring instruments for ingredients or from my special proofing box (both of which need to be adjusted according to variances in ingredients and kitchen conditions), but from buying a cheap steel plate to bake my pizza on (a suggestion that originated with Myrhvold's book, by the way).

I'm not saying that ovens can't be improved. Many of his ideas would be interesting for general features, but his obsession with precision is just ridiculous.

Re:Cost (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 5 months ago | (#47364117)

I do a LOT of baking, roasting, braising, etc. in my oven. I'm also the kind of guy who owns multiple probe thermometers with different sensitivities and speeds, multiple kitchen scales with different accuracies for different quantities, a pH meter for kitchen use, hydrometers for fermentation, miscellaneous lab glassware for accurate measuring (and often convenient pouring), etc.

- hello, Dr. Lecter.

Re:Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364163)

We all know what you "cook" and it's called meth.

Dollars. (5, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about 5 months ago | (#47363645)

How to improve the oven has been known for ages.
The problem is that it's costly to do right, especially if the oven needs to actually be a reliable oven and last at least 10 years daily use.
For example 'optical sensors can be placed in the oven to ...'

How do you keep these clean after the four hundredth time they're spattered with grease at 250C and it's burned on to a nice black film.
How do you determine what the food is, and what the surrounding dish is in order to pick what needs to be browned.

The 'right' way to do this would be with thermal IR cameras.
Unfortunately, this raises even more cost issues.

next up, Nathan Myhrvold's Cutting Things in Half (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#47363765)

Unfortunately, this raises even more cost issues.

Not for Nathan Myhrvold.

Followed by Eggs Should be Round... (2)

raftpeople (844215) | about 5 months ago | (#47363959)

from his new book "If Only God were as Smart as Me!"

Good luck with Whirlpool (1)

John Bokma (834313) | about 5 months ago | (#47363855)

Last 10 years? Make sure you don't buy garbage made by Whirlpool as it's made to fall apart in a very short time. This is the front of our gasrange after less than 5 years of careful use: http://toxicice.com/images/eng... [toxicice.com]

According to Whirlpool this is "normal wear and tear". Good luck using an oven if you can't even read the markings anymore

Aside: the "clock" doesn't even have battery backup. It's 80's technology but made to last way less long.

Re:Dollars. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364389)

How do you keep these clean after the four hundredth time they're spattered with grease at 250C and it's burned on to a nice black film.

Baking soda sprayed with water. Let sit overnight.

Wow! Will we need... (1)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about 5 months ago | (#47363651)

Photoshop to cook our food?
We could use the device to preview the finished dish, too.
Of course, he is theoretically correct, but, as we know, theory and practice are different things.

And when it breaks... (1)

LaRoach (968977) | about 5 months ago | (#47363655)

...it will costs thousands to repair... if parts are even available...

Re:And when it breaks... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#47363711)

parts?

buy this years ver of it we don't make parts for stuff after 1.5-2.0 years also no software updates as well.

Re:And when it breaks... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 5 months ago | (#47364447)

I think I'll stick with a good old conventional oven. The one I use these days was made in 1975, parts are still available for it.

Master troll Nathan Myhrvold (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363659)

Master patent troll Nathan Myhrvold. I hope one day, the sooner the better, I will dance on his grave.

Re:Master troll Nathan Myhrvold (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363733)

Ok, but be sure to avoid my piss puddle.

Re:Master troll Nathan Myhrvold (3, Funny)

slashdice (3722985) | about 5 months ago | (#47363867)

I think we're going to need to set up a calendar since I don't like shitting with an audience.

Simple appliances (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363671)

I like to keep my appliances simple. Fire for one is excellent and is still used 1000s of years since it was harnessed. I like my oven to last 20 years and not need an upgrade or be connected to the net, so no thanks to the proposed enhancements.

How are you supposed to keep the camera clean? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363697)

When cooking something gases and boiled off fats condense on things inside the oven. How are you supposed to keep the camera lens clean so this idea will work right? You can't so this is all one big what if that can't work.

End of discussion.

n00bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364187)

It's called pressurized air blown across the lens assembly. If we can stare up the ass end of a jet turbine or rocket motor, I think this guy can put one in a simple oven. Armchair engineers need to STFU.

I'd like to see someone "bake" at 400C (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363713)

Rarely, if ever, will the temperature inside your oven ever exceed 230C -- there are entire cooking techniques that rely on the uneven heating patterns of a traditional convection oven and broiler.

Re:I'd like to see someone "bake" at 400C (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363851)

I can only think of one situation where an oven would get that hot, and that's the self-clean cycle...

WTF Nathan?!! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#47363721)

If the skin on your fish is going in silver and coming out brown, you're doing it fucking wrong!

Re:WTF Nathan?!! (2)

beelsebob (529313) | about 5 months ago | (#47363891)

No, pretty sure you're doing it wrong actually - crispy fish skin is a wonderful thing.

At 800ÂC, your new oven comes with a fire sui (0)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 5 months ago | (#47363729)

You geeks in basements better stick with microwaves before you burn the house down.

Re:At 800ÂC, your new oven comes with a fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363791)

Nope. Because boom, headshot [xkcd.com]

Complexity (1)

robstout (2873439) | about 5 months ago | (#47363749)

This all sounds way too complex for an oven. Lots of moving parts in a high heat area sounds like a recipe for failure (HA!) Things I'd like to see: Faster warm up time for the oven More even heating throughout the oven

Re:Complexity (2)

dfsmith (960400) | about 5 months ago | (#47364027)

Have you researched an Aga [aga-ranges.com] ? It's always on—solves both your problems.*

* You didn't list cost and controllability. B-)

Re:Complexity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364477)

Amen to that. I've got a wood-burning Rayburn. It took some time to get used to, but I'd never go back to electric.

Who cooks at 800C ? (1)

agurk (193950) | about 5 months ago | (#47363761)

I usually cook at maximum 225C except for thin pizza which likes 250-270C. I canÃt understand what you are supposed to cook at 300C or above. This normal ovens never gets into radiant energy territory.

What am I missing here?

Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (1)

ledow (319597) | about 5 months ago | (#47363837)

Don't think I've ever cooked anything in an oven at over 220C. Even less if it's fan-assisted.

To be honest, ovens are one of the few things that just work and shouldn't be messed with. I don't want an oven as complex as some microwaves can be... as soon as you move from a thermostat to microprocessor control, there's something too complex about heating up your dinner.

Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (3, Insightful)

Dzimas (547818) | about 5 months ago | (#47363871)

Lead melts at 327.5 degrees, zinc melts at 319.5 degrees, tin a bit less than that. You could have some serious metalworking fun in the kitchen -- get it up to 1200 degrees and you could liquify gold, silver and even copper. I seriously hope that the numbers in the summary were just an awkward conversion error, because the notion of your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying.

Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (2)

Hartree (191324) | about 5 months ago | (#47363949)

"your very own kitchen smelter is terrifying"

I must admit, I've used my oven more for preheating cast iron for welding and low temp curing of refractory than I've done for baking lately. But smelting in it is a bit much even for a lunatic like me.

Re:Who cooks at 800C ? (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 5 months ago | (#47363893)

My oven dial doesn't even go past 500 F / 260 C.

Too complex, too expensive (2)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 5 months ago | (#47363777)

Because building it would be so complex it would be overly expensive and break down a lot more. My oven has been running for over a decade. It may well last several more decades. That's a lot longer than the expected life cycle for 'smart' products. I'll take a dumb oven and be a smart cook any day of the week. A ring of stones and a cook fire is better than too much technology.

Re:Too complex, too expensive (-1, Offtopic)

Numeena Kaneena (3726815) | about 5 months ago | (#47364171)

Because building it would be so complex it would be overly expensive and break down a lot more. My oven has been running for over a decade. It may well last several more decades. That's a lot longer than the expected life cycle for 'smart' products. I'll take a dumb oven and be a smart cook any day of the week. A ring of stones and a cook fire is better than too much technology.

my neighbor's step-sister brought home $20864 a week ago. she has been making cash on the internet and bought a $519900 home. All she did was get lucky and apply the advice exposed on this link MAX43.

Gaggenau (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363853)

Too expensive is not a reason. Nor an excuse.

Check out Gaggenau... they could do with these hints

Alex.

How about just a good thermostat instead? (3, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | about 5 months ago | (#47363877)

Something cookbooks harp on: most ovens do very poor temperature regulation. Baking books in particular recommend getting a separate themometer, and adding thermal ballast (such as stones) to your oven to get it to keep an even temperature.

That's not just for ultra-high-end stuff; that's for just making good bread. Bread is fairly sensitive to temperature, because you're trying to orchestrate a complex set of reactions including yeast production, internal steam, setting the internal protein structure, and browning the crust. Swings of 25F are enough to throw off that balance, yielding loaves that are too high or too low or too brown or other problems.

Most home ovens do it very badly. It seems to me that's a much more fixable problem without spending a fortune on the ultimate oven.

Re:How about just a good thermostat instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364011)

citation needed

Re:How about just a good thermostat instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364095)

. Swings of 25F are enough to throw off that balance, yielding loaves that are too high or too low or too brown or other problems.

You can get a "Zimmerman loaf" where it's not brown enough . . .

Re:How about just a good thermostat instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364143)

Alternatively, don't use an oven. For one thing, they're non-existent in most cultures.

I long ago realized that the oven requires nearly scientific precision, especially for baking, which is pretty much the polar opposite of what you do on the stove. So I stopped pretending that I'll ever be able to cook something to my liking in the oven. Unlike stove-top cooking, acquiring that skill requires careful and deliberate study and experimentation, but I'm too lazy and busy. Obviously there are stove-top dishes that require more precision, for example some types of roux, but that's still an easier and more convenient skill to acquire, and your mistakes are more enjoyable.

Except for the occasional dish, our oven is for storing pots and pans.

If I ever got into baking I'd get serious about learning the oven. But it's just a very unforgiving tool. You can't dabble. Many of the "easy" oven dishes are even easier on the stove, so why bother.

Re:How about just a good thermostat instead? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364453)

A good thermostat and temperature control would also be appreciated on the stovetop, in the refrigerator and freezer, and with home heating and cooling. An induction cooktop with precise digital temperature control (SI) and a magnetic stirrer would also be great.

We are more than a decade past time the when any new household device should be set by a knob labeled with low-med-high or some other crude mis-calibrated scale.

so what? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 5 months ago | (#47363895)

It's a hammer looking for a nail.

800C? WTF???? (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 5 months ago | (#47363917)

Is this due to unfamiliarity with Centigrade?

All the food baking I've done is well below 260C (500F).

800C (1472F) is cherry red can melt a lot of metals.

It's in the range you would use a muffle furnace or kiln to get.

800C? WTF???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364615)

If you want a perfect Neapolitan-style pizza, you do want temperatures in excess of 500F. That said, 800C is really hot, I'm guessing 800F was intended, which is a totally reasonable temperature.

Better question... (4, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | about 5 months ago | (#47363965)

Why the fsck should we listen to anything this dishonest vulture says or wants? He has worked to single-handedly ruin everything about anything we could ever care about. Intellectual Ventures is the scum of the Earth, and is akin to the mafia coming to you and mentioning that they need some money else something bad could happen to your precious new business venture. Everything this man and his cohorts touch is tainted - Intellectual Ventures and Mr. Myhrvold needs to be removed like a cancer before they can spread even further.

Fsck Intellectual Ventures.
Fsck Nathan Myhrvold.

In some parts of the world, they'd cut off his thieving hands. I wouldn't take one of his new ovens even if they gave it to me - except maybe to smash the crap out of it on YouTube.

Re:Better question... (2)

gander666 (723553) | about 5 months ago | (#47364029)

Shit, my world for mod points. Amen brother

Re:Better question... (0)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 5 months ago | (#47364295)

Why the fsck should we listen to anything this dishonest vulture says or wants?

Because, IV and patent trolling aside, he's also the author of Modernist Cuisine and an award-winning BBQ chef. Hate him for his IP policies if you want, but that doesn't mean you have to hate his cooking.

Re:Better question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364419)

Because, IV and patent trolling aside, he's also the author of Modernist Cuisine and an award-winning BBQ chef. Hate him for his IP policies if you want, but that doesn't mean you have to hate his cooking.

And how the fuck am I supposed to evaluate his cooking if I have to worry about being sued for infringing his recipe by making dinner for guests? (Or should I patent "Method for cooking a recipe likely to appear in the next edition of Modernist Cuisine using a toaster oven" and take him to court?)

Re:Better question... (4, Insightful)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about 5 months ago | (#47364599)

*Co-author* of Modernist Cuisine, along with two other co-authors, 50 staff, 36 researchers and14 outside experts. He may have financed the project, but its not as if he wrote the bulk of the material himself.

His "award-winning BBQ" was one cook-off in 1991, where he won in a pasta category.

The guy is a professional self-aggrandizer and that's about it.

Re:Better question... (0)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 5 months ago | (#47364693)

*Co-author* of Modernist Cuisine, along with two other co-authors, 50 staff, 36 researchers and14 outside experts. He may have financed the project, but its not as if he wrote the bulk of the material himself.

I see... And which cookbook did you co-author?

[crickets]

Nobody will ever build this oven (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47363981)

Nobody has built such an oven, Mr. Myhrvold, because you're sitting on so many patents you did not create and have no intention of implementing that whoever built this perfect oven would be sued into oblivion.

1200 C?? (4, Informative)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 5 months ago | (#47364025)

"With reasonable energy efficiency, electric broilers can heat quickly and reliably to temperatures as high as 2,200 C. Maximum settings are typically restricted to 1,200 C in order to extend the life of the heating element and avoid charring the food."

I think repeatedly confusing C and F should immediately disqualify someone as an oven engineer. Or an oven operator, for that matter. :-)

Re:1200 C?? (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 5 months ago | (#47364141)

Gosh 2200C? That's hot enough to melt steel by quite a margin. Tungsten would survive, but not many other elements would,

Heck, 1200C is nearly enough to melt steel (actually 1500C), and would be more than enough to cast copper, bronze and brass, blow glass, fire ceramics and so on.

Where can I get one of these atomic furnaces?

Re:1200 C?? (2)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 5 months ago | (#47364313)

"With reasonable energy efficiency, electric broilers can heat quickly and reliably to temperatures as high as 2,200 C. Maximum settings are typically restricted to 1,200 C in order to extend the life of the heating element and avoid charring the food."

I think repeatedly confusing C and F should immediately disqualify someone as an oven engineer. Or an oven operator, for that matter. :-)

What about confusing the temperature of the food or the air in the oven and the temperature of the heating element?

Electric broilers use bars or rods made from Nichrome, an alloy of nickel and chromium (and often iron) that heats up when electricity passes through it. With reasonable energy efficiency, electric broilers can heat quickly and reliably to temperatures as high as 2,200 C. Maximum settings are typically restricted to 1,200 C in order to extend the life of the heating element and avoid charring the food.

The nichrome bars heat up to 1200C. They heat up the air and also radiate in the infrared to cook the food.

I have no idea why so many people reading this article got confused about that point and think the guy's trying to cook food to 1200C.

this guy is out of his mind (3, Insightful)

serbanp (139486) | about 5 months ago | (#47364045)

Not only it's not obvious what "better" means when baking is involved, but he's showing his Microsoft roots here, stupid "improvements" that make the whole system break so much easier.

It's a known fact that most "modern" residential ovens, the ones with displays, lots of buttons to set baking programs etc, should never use the self-clean cycle. The thermal insulation is not good enough to protect the electronics (a.k.a. control board) and the oven fails, typically after a high-heat cycle (the self-clean reaches 700-800*F). This is equally true for GE and Whirlpool as well as for Viking and Ilve.

Adding more electronics to a hot environment is asking for more and expensive trouble.

Commercial appliances are better built though, are they Myhrvold's target? In any case, his post is just a petulant rant showing overkill application of technology, just because "he can". Zapping mosquitoes with laser beams sounds more realistic...

Utter drivel (1)

shilly (142940) | about 5 months ago | (#47364077)

Given that he raises the spectre of salmonella from uneven temperature in sous-vide cooking, it's pretty clear he knows fuck all about cooking. Hey Nathan? Sous vide is done in a precision-controlled water bath, you numpty. Not an oven.

Re:Utter drivel (1, Flamebait)

Theaetetus (590071) | about 5 months ago | (#47364371)

Given that he raises the spectre of salmonella from uneven temperature in sous-vide cooking, it's pretty clear he knows fuck all about cooking. Hey Nathan? Sous vide is done in a precision-controlled water bath, you numpty. Not an oven.

From the article:

Domestic ovens tend to swing in temperature and can be off by as much as 5 percent at any point during cooking. At 205 C—a temperature at which you might cook a turkey—that 5 percent isn’t a big deal. But consider a style of cooking known as sous vide, in which you cook food in bags in a water bath at low temperatures such as 60 C, near the threshold at which bacteria can survive. Here, 5 percent can be the difference between safe and unsafe.

He raises the spectre of salmonella from uneven temperature to point out why ovens can't do the low and slow temps in sous vide cooking. And I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that he knows significantly more than fuck all about cooking [amazon.com] .

I find it VERY ODD a jew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364079)

Would work on inventing an oven, don't you? Hitler would've loved Nathan Myrvold.

He is a superb cook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364087)

I will buy any oven he has a hand in designing.

Perfection is reached... (1)

knarf (34928) | about 5 months ago | (#47364115)

...when there is nothing left to take away. Myhrvold seems to think the opposite is true. Did he by any chance work for Microsoft? It would explain the byzantine maze of Windows-related API's...

Re:Perfection is reached... (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about 5 months ago | (#47364263)

In case you didn't know, Myhrvold's major claim to fame is being former CTO at Microsoft. Yes, it really does explain a lot.

Legacy issues (1)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | about 5 months ago | (#47364139)

We have about 80 years worth of recipes based on the current oven standards.
All of them would need revisions and people who don't cook that often wouldn't be aware of why their recipe failed if they used a new style oven.
Convection is great for crispy skin, not so great for custards.

Hacking ovens? (4, Informative)

GooDieZ (802156) | about 5 months ago | (#47364271)

I modded my almost new dumb oven (2 knobs and indicator light) with cast iron plates about 5 millimeters thick on top and bottom, with some additional rails to quickly remove them if necessary. The heat up process is a bit slower, but overall the oven performs way better than stock one and bakes evenly.
This is thermal mass right over heaters for even roasting/baking.
If I want crust, I just pop on the ventilator in the oven for 10 minutes before done, perfect every time.
As for bread, i pop out the plates, Heat the oven and cast iron pot with lid to 260C, pop in the bread when hot and forget about it for 45 minutes.

If he wants Tech in the oven, well let's see his ideas. At friends house they bought new $INSERT_NAME oven (overpriced around 1500€) with all the bells all over, you can't even expect to turn it on without at least reading 10 pages of the 80 pages long manual. It's super energy saving design takes like 20 minutes to heat up to 200C or ~30 minutes to 250C. For the fun of it we popped in an NTC sensor to see what's going on in heat up and baking process. Nice SLOOOW and steady heat up, then we popped in a roast. Temperature dropped around 40C then heating back up for 16 minutes, overshoot set temperature by 18C, dropped back 21C under set temp and oscillated all the way to the end. All the micro controlling in there failed with REGULAR use.
With that price tag you expect at least steady even temperature, but noooo, $INSERT_NAME decided to screw the customer with poor excuse for an oven, and telling you that you baked your stuff wrong all your life, so they decided to set you straight.
If I wanted to die of waiting I would go to DMV line...

Sounds complicated (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 5 months ago | (#47364415)

I'll just rely on Chef Mike for the time being.

or.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47364633)

you could just use your nose to tell you what is happening in the oven.

welcome to the million dollar oven (1)

jsepeta (412566) | about 5 months ago | (#47364651)

thanks, nathan, you scumsucking patent troll!

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