Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
I first heard about sous vide cooking a decade ago. Sous vide is French for “under vacuum,” and sous vide cooking starts by vacuum sealing food in a bag and then submerging the sealed bag in a water bath held at a very precise temperature. Doing so means food is cooked to the precise level of doneness you desire every time.
I was fascinated by the science but in those days, a sous vide machine was a very expensive proposition (close to $1,000). Even if I had been inclined to spend that much—which I wasn’t—the sous vide machines at the time were huge, and we didn’t (and still don’t) have enough counter space.
When our daughter, who happens to be a professional chef, gave us a sous vide machine for Chanukah this year, I was shocked to discover how much the technology had improved over the years, and how much more affordable sous vide cooking was today.
Sous Vide on a Beer Budget
The one she sent us was an Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker with Bluetooth, which retails for $149 and is roughly the size of an immersion (stick) blender.
It clips onto the side of almost any vessel you can fill with water (we use a stock pot), and offers a companion iOS (or Android) app that you can use to set the temperature and cooking time.
In addition to letting you control the device from across the room, the app also features guides with time and temperature suggestions for many foods; and over 1,000 recipes including many easy enough for an amateur like myself. It also contains video tutorials, a user manual, and a quick start guide.
There is also a version of the device with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi that retails for $199. The advantage you get with Wi-Fi is the ability to start or monitor cooking remotely. Our device, which is Bluetooth only, can’t do that. It requires you to be within around 30 feet of the cooker to control or monitor its settings.
Add Wi-Fi to Sous Vide from Anywhere!
With the Wi-Fi model, you can fill the water bath with ice and water in the morning. Then, when the ice water warms to 40°, you receive an alert—wherever you may be—so you can set the time and temperature remotely, so your dinner is ready when you get home.
The more I use it, the more enamored I am with sous vide cooking. Everything we’ve cooked has turned out great so far. Steaks turned out exactly the way we like them—medium rare—and sous vide cooking is the perfect way to cook eggs perfectly every time.
Plus, the geek in me loves having an app that lets me control the device from another room, not to mention having all those sous vide recipes, suggestions, instructions, videos, and everything else in my pocket at all times.