Thursday, December 18, 2003


In a fascinating post, Barista has gathered an impressive collection of links to various humanoid research projects and things that think from beads and toy animals to kitchenware.
Like David, I am rather taken with the Talking Trivet.
This project allows an oven mitt to understand the cooking environment. The Talking Trivet uses a thermoresistor to sense the temperature of foods and containers which it touches. It then can remark verbally on these temperatures. For example, it exclaims "FIRE!" when it comes in contact with a surface over 600 degrees; or it can inform you that the food "Needs rewarming." or affirms that your meal is "Hot and ready to eat!".
In addition, it sets an automatic timer for cooking based on the temperature of the oven. Therefore, when it detects a 275-degree oven, it exclaims "The food should be checked in 40 minutes.", whereas when it detects a 500-degree oven, the trivet recommends that "The food should be tested in 10 minutes".

The trivet's tendency to exclaim makes me feel s/he would be a rather edgy presence in the kitchen, dare we say a little unstable? Perhaps it will soon be babbling trivet, or will start channelling Blanche DuBois and scream FIRE! when the temperature is nowhere near 600 degrees. It would certainly make for very anxious cooking. Maybe the trivet could hook up with these extras and just go off and workshop a few scenes quietly in the corner.

Comments: trivet

My family had one of those new fangled contraptions way back when. A tool that well may have been separated at birth from its cousin, the Blanche DuBois babbling trivet.

It was a very excellent toasting fork made from left over fencing wire. My mother, the designated toaster, used to lean forward to the coals (preset Regulo 4) in the open fireplace with a doorstop of bread carefully impaled on the fork.

When browned nicely on both sides a half doorstop of freshly churned butter was taken from the ice chest (in later years it would be replaced by the latest in kero fridges) and spread as a pillow upon which was lain down a sweet head of melon and passionfruit jam.

Never once did our toast have to be scraped of black burnings. The fork warned. The fork spoke. Well, rather it channelled itself through my mother. When I heard "Buggery bloody hot handle!" in a voice that I didn't recognise as my mother's I knew that the message had travelled up the wire from 'the other side' warning her that it was "Danger Will Robinson ... Cinder Zone!"

(At times of extreme danger the fork would cause my mother's head to spin and projectile vomiting sometimes ensued.)

During the weeks when my mother was away in hospital ... she's O.K. now and to look at her hands now you'd never know she'd had the skin grafts ... I reluctantly had to stay with the Gleesons on the neighbouring farm. They used asbestos gloves that blocked the fork warnings and I had to suffer marmalade smeared charcoal nuggets for breakfast.

I've lately heard from my mother that the Gleesons seem to have mastered the art of toasting. I suspect that it is an art that they have acquired by omission rather by commission. Apparently the Rawleigh's man who used to supply them with their asbestos gloves died of some mysterious ailment.

My mother mentioned that Mrs Gleeson herself "was looking a bit peaky like" when she saw her last week at the "The Friends of the Wheat Silo" Christmas party.

Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 03:51 PM

LOL, Mr S.
We had a humble Jaffle iron ourselves, who was either your typical Aussie taciturn type, or who might occasionally and capriciously speak with forked tongue. 'She's apples' meaning "she's cinders" and voila: here's your carcinogens.Tough.

And better the Rawleigh's man, supplier of asbestos gloves, dying of a mysterious ailment than a mysterious element, I'd say. boom boom.
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 04:14 PM

We have a jaffle iron ... somewhere in the darkest reaches of hardware section of the cupboard.

Debate still rages in the Sedgwick household as to whether we made the right choice. A square one (for which she made a persuasive argument but upon which she was overruled) or a round one (my preference and final decision, citing traditional jaffle family values).

Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 04:27 PM

round. yes. round. like the banana bits inside, with the sugar and cinnamon..

but then, TRUE AUTHENTICITY has disappeared even here because the jaffle iron has become the toasted sandwich machine, which is highly mysterious inside and lacks all capacity for triveting about temperature or doneness..

can we invent this derivation:
trivet (verb); to trivet -the cry of a talking machine issueing instructions to the user, esp. in the kitchen or luxury car.

hence: to trive.. I wonder what that should mean?
Posted by David at December 18, 2003 04:37 PM

With Jaffles: Round = Best. Hence all the square dumpees in the shelves at the salvos.

to trive?
the cry of a talking machine issueing instructions to itself, esp. in the kitchen or luxury car.
as in the tertiary stage of domestic obsolesence

(nb - this is not very good I know. Suggested just to get the trivet triving.)
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 04:51 PM

A matter of utmost trivia ...

We have a toasted sandwich machine too ... sorry but we are unconscionably effluent. (©Someone else.) Rarely used and when so only with, and call me a gourmand if you must, baked beans filling. I am much put off by the product of this godless usurper of the one, true and indivisible (O.K. it's a bit divisible)jaffle iron. Looks far too much like a giant flattened and toasted witchetty grub.

Having said that, it has been mentioned in hushed despatches that my mother is giving us one of those sandwich/focaccia presses for Christmas. Oh well, guess it has to be better than the burnt orange electric pizza maker of '87 and the mission brown crockpot of '93.

I think I might take off the rest of the day to do me a spot of huntin' down and smokin' out bits of used fencing wire.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 05:04 PM

I may not covet a trivet, but I might be effin impressed by a foccacia press. (as long as it was mute. I suspect such a thing might speak rather coarsely)

and funny you should mention "Trivia"
I was just wondering whether "To trive" had anything to do with the sport of pub Trivia, of which we have been known to play.
Trive - to take a dive, to be burnt at Trivia.
(I trived last night as it turned out)
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 05:40 PM

As it so happened I was deadline triving yesterday.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 05:58 PM

Si! Correcto! That is absoloutely spot on!
Suspect you must have had a spy triving where we trove, or the feral eye has great divining power.
Posted by boynton at December 18, 2003 06:37 PM

The divination skills of the omniscient Feral Eye can be put down to a special length of fencing wire I picked up in a paddock outside of Lourdes.

(Consequential rumours of my stigmata were grievously exaggerated, said bit of wire had a nasty jagged edge.)
Posted by Sedgwick at December 18, 2003 06:49 PM

I leave here. I mingle with the real world.

I come back stiff from my bicycle. Alcohol has intervened, just a bit..

And what do I find?

Sheer delight.. sheer delight..
Posted by David at December 19, 2003 01:48 AM

That'll learn ya. Leaving, foolishly mingling with the real world ... and on a bicycle! That way madness lies.
Posted by Sedgwick at December 19, 2003 07:21 AM

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