Thank you Anova

Until relatively recently I actually disliked eating. Not in an eating-disorder kind of way, but the long habit of eating bland and uninspiring food meant that my efforts in the kitchen were directed entirely towards spending as little time as possible in the kitchen, simply because the payoff wasn’t worth it. The usual meals were a frozen pie or frozen crumbed fish fillet and some microwave steamed frozen mixed vegetables, a frozen ready meal, a frozen pizza, or a burger on the way home from work. Food was something I had to do, not something I wanted to do, let alone look forward to. I actually used to fantasize about being powered by batteries because the whole food thing was so wasteful and inefficient. 

But the one thing I loved to eat was a good steak. And I tried, I really did. Failure after failure; blaming the recipe, blaming the poor quality of the meat, blaming contradictory methods, and becoming more and more discouraged with each expensive loss. I couldn’t cook, the steak failures proved this beyond doubt, so what’s the point trying any more?

Then, a few years back on a casual trawl of the internet on a quiet day, I saw mention of a supposedly “foolproof” method of achieving the perfect steak every time. I was of course sceptical and dismissive, but the term “sous vide” was distinct enough to stay in the back of my mind. Over time, seeing it mentioned in other places made me more curious, but this was way back when commercially produced SV controllers cost thousands of dollars. Why would a complete kitchen failure such as myself pay so much just to get a nice steak every so often? By chance I stumbled upon (literally, via StumbledUpon) an Instructable on how to make your own sous vide controller using a slow cooker and $30 of electronics parts from eBay. I already had a slow cooker and a soldering iron so what did I have to lose? 

Cue “Eye of the Tiger” on your iTunes playlist for the Rocky training montage. 

I loved the results, but the cumbersome contraption was a pain to use, pulling it all out of the cupboard each time, filing it up, making sure I didn’t accidentally touch any of the live parts with wet hands, emptying it out again afterwards (so wasteful!). Plus it wasn’t exactly accurate (+/- 4c). But the technique had proven it’s worth so I started to seek out more information. Which led me to Kenji.

If you’re not familiar with Kenji please go seek him out now. I can wait. 

Hi! As it happens Kenji had reviewed the then new breed of Sous Vide home circulation controllers and liked the Anova a bit more than the others available at the time, so the name Anova was now on my radar. Didn’t hurt that it looked so cool! And when I finally got my end-of-year bonus at work, the new version of the Anova was on top of my shopping list. Boom! I have experienced very few genuinely life-changing events over my 45+ years on this fair planet, but unboxing and using this beauty for the first time counts among them.

Because of the sous vide technique, I discovered food at the ripe old age of 40. From a complete food skeptic to a complete enthusiast in the space of a few years at this late age has been an incredible experience. Sous Vide has opened my eyes up to a universe I never believed could exist, one full of wonders that I had never before imagined. Flavour. Texture. Aroma. And the beauty of the thing is that Anova have made it the nearest thing to foolproof that you can get. 

The realisation that I could cook steak, chicken and pork perfectly every time without risk made me wonder what else is possible? Instead of making excuses, I started having people over to eat. Recipes from websites no longer looked daunting, and experimenting with them became natural instead of something to be afraid of in case ingredients were ruined and the meal wasted. 

TL/DR (at last, I hear you say!). With all sincerity and from the bottom of my heart, thank you Anova. Thank you. Your Precision Cooker has changed my life for the better, and in ways that I can only begin to express. Good food is no longer something I hear other people talk about without understanding; a club I wasn’t a member of. You’ve seen those videos of deaf children receiving cochlear implants and having them switched on for the first time? That’s me and my taste buds.

So I freely and humbly offer an apology to anyone who’s eyes have glazed over when I’ve started on the subject. Friends, family, fellow employees (you know who you are), I hope you understand. I can’t help it. Thank you.

@Simon_C You’re not alone, I can completely relate to kitchen avoidance pre-Precision Cooker. Now I find myself scouring culinary shops for new tools to use in the kitchen. Mind you, I didn’t even have a cast-iron skillet until I got the Precision Cooker so my “new tools” are others’ kitchen basics. Shame on me, I know…but I can’t help but agree that the Precision Cooker is a life-changing device. I LOVE cooking now, and I never thought I’d say that – I’m venturing way outside my kitchen comfort zone these days. Anova yayayay!

@Simon_C have you tried fish yet? I recently had some salmon and it was delicious. Most fish goes well with a little lemon.