By Jen Gosett, BS, CTRS, MATP Staff
For any of us who enjoy cooking and baking, we know that time is a key ingredient of many recipes. How long we need to bake cupcakes for, boil water & noodles for, fry an egg, etc. can mean the difference between delicious and disgusting! The built-in timers on a lot of ovens/appliances are not great to use: text is tiny/hard to read, buttons are cumbersome or inaccurate, the alarm is too quiet or way too loud, etc.
Last year, I started using Siri to tell me when my scones had been in the oven for long enough (usually 16 minutes for my oven). Early on I learned an important lesson: Siri is not always a great listener. When I said, “Siri set an alarm for 16 minutes”, Siri heard “Siri set an alarm for 60 minutes.” There is a huge difference between 16 minutes and 60! Luckily, my sense of smell helped me realize the error and I was able to get the scones out before they burned! I told this story to a friend of mine and he suggested telling Siri “one six” instead of “sixteen”. I tried his idea out and I haven’t had a problem since (fingers crossed).
There are a lot of alternatives to the standard, built-in timers (including voice assistants like Siri and Alexa) and I’ve included a few in this post. If you think you might be interested in trying some of these out, contact your local Disability Network and ask for an AT (Assistive Technology) demonstration. You’ll get to use various kinds of timers and see if they are a good fit/learn about other options.
Happy cooking & baking! Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, Tasty Tools: Assistive Technology in the Kitchen! Here’s Part 1 if you missed it.