Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nintendo moves into the kitchen

Or at least that's what Nintendo of America Inc. is banking on as it unveils a new interactive Game Boy-like device called Personal Trainer: Cooking.

Using Nintendo DS technology, Personal Trainer: Cooking is basically a small gray hand-held box -- with a touch screen and voice recognition -- that stores more than 245 recipes.

Once you decide on a recipe (based on country of origin, cooking time, ingredients, calorie count, etc.), a little animated chef with a monotone electronic voice and a bushy mustache talks you through the steps to making the dish. Videos of the more difficult steps are available for viewing. There is also an interactive shopping-list function that helps would-be chefs check off ingredients as they buy them.
The official Web site for this strange little device (although it is high-tech, it looks weirdly primitive -- maybe just because it's geared toward novice chefs) has a video of two teens cooking crab cakes using their Personal Trainer. It's worth watching for its sheer awkwardness and unintentional tawdriness. I can't imagine a seasoned home cook relying on such a device, but I can see that home cook using it to engage his or her children in the cooking process.

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