Siri Is Honestly Just a Terrible Kitchen Assistant

Illustration for article titled Siri Is Honestly Just a Terrible Kitchen Assistant

Photo: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Folks, we need to talk about Siri.

It has, on a number of recent occasions, been brought up among staff at Gizmodo that Siri’s hands-free help in a number of environments is considerably lacking—including and especially in the kitchen.

Questions often go unanswered, requests for volume control unheard, and god help you if you need Apple’s virtual assistant to pull up a recipe or navigate between your webpages. Siri, I’m afraid to say, absolutely sucks at being even minimally useful while you’re cooking. Siri will make you huff in exasperation after the third time you’ve repeated a simple request. It will test the limits of both your patience as well as what you thought you understood to be technologically possible in the year 2020. Siri will make you wonder why you use Siri at all and why you continue to torment yourself with repeated regret and disappointment.

Siri is absolutely useless as a kitchen helper. Just painfully, utterly useless.

Illustration for article titled Siri Is Honestly Just a Terrible Kitchen Assistant

I want to be clear that I’ve tried absolutely everything to make the codependent relationship I have with my phone’s supposed genius far less fraught. I speak loudly and slowly. I opt not to turn my music or broadcast up too loud for fear that Siri might miss a command. I keep questions simple and expectations low for a returned answer. And yet the Google Home Mini that occupies a small corner of my kitchen has no trouble navigating my music, answering my stray cooking questions, and will read me what it has found while scouring the web before sending it to a connected smart device with a display. How very helpful!

When questioned similarly, Siri often returns a webpage with a response that seems to say, “Here, read this you moronic know-nothing, you blithering fool. Would you like me to wash your windows while I’m at it, asshole?” I’m sorry I asked!

It’s not just the kitchen, either. Using Siri with CarPlay is a huge pain in the ass. I must repeat my instructions multiple times, every time, without fail. Sometimes Siri comes through on a request for a particular artist I’m trying to listen to—other times not so much. And dictation through messages is, well, fine. Siri can dial numbers too, which is helpful. Stray reminders? Yep, good there. Check the weather, tell you the time? Check and check.

But god help you if you have to go hands-free in the kitchen. You will curse your phone. You will wonder why you’ve bought into the Apple ecosystem, why you’re putting your family through hearing you scream the same instructions at a gadget over and over, increasingly louder and more strained until you’re nearly hoarse. Cooking will lose much of its joy, in part thanks to the emotional exhaustion that goes hand-in-hand with directing your errant robot helper to please—for the love of god, please—play the correct podcast or answer a simple question without deferring to Safari.

I’m not

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Honestly, No Kitchen Is Complete Without a Mandolin Slicer

a knife sitting on top of a table

© Williams Sonoma

Want to know the secret prep tool that will help you churn out restaurant-quality dishes in the comfort of your home kitchen?It’s a mandolin, my friends. Not only will it help you create more impressive meals, but it might also shave (pun intended) down some of your ingredient prep time. Whether you’re down about your knife skills or just looking for a tool that will switch up how you prepare your ingredients, this snazzy (and underrated, if I do say so myself) device is exactly what you need in your life.

Mandolins have a reputation for being a tool that is only used by professional chefs. I get it, I get it. That sharp blade is no joke and can definitely be intimidating, especially for somebody who may not feel completely confident with their own knife skills. If you are concerned about losing a limb, I’ll offer you the same advice that Hilary Duff offered me in the 2004 classic, “A Cinderella Story.” Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game! Wear the protective glove (so you don’t have to worry about any potential crime scene scenarios on your cutting board) and go slowly to start. You’ll get the hang of it in no time, and you will end up with just as many limbs as you started with.

The most common use for a mandolin is thinly, and consistently, slicing produce. Ever wonder how to get a potato gratin with completely uniform cuts on all the ‘taters? Or how to create a beautiful raw salad or slaw with dainty, thin slices of fennel, radishes, celery, and apples? You’re going to spend a lot of time and elbow grease trying to achieve those thin slices with your chef’s knife. Plus, if your knife blade isn’t its sharpest, then you might as well not even bother. In other words, get a mandolin—you’re worth it.

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What you may not realize about a mandolin is that it’s also great for so many other types of cuts besides thin slices. The day that we broke out the crinkle-cut blade in culinary school and made waffle fries was one of the best of my life. Mandolins also have a julienne blade that’s great for creating thin and uniform matchsticks out of carrots, cucumbers, beets, zucchini, and so much more. I am a huge believer in short cuts (how do you think I ran under a 10-minute mile as a plump 5th grader?), and whipping out the mandolin to help me with ingredient prep is one of my favorite time savers.

Okay, now that my convincing sales tactics have persuaded you that you need a mandolin slicer ASAP, you’re probably wondering which one to buy. Not all mandolins are created equal, so this is a valid inquiry.

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