By Bill Hensley
After ISE in Barcelona my wife and I enjoyed some vacation time in Spain, Valencia to be precise, with our daughter and her family. We rented an Air B&B in the Benimaclet neighborhood, nothing fancy, in fact nothing special, which was indeed perfect. Except for the post-trade show head cold! From our California perspective, food seemed like a great bargain, whether in a restaurant or the local supermercado. I was aware that most countries do not refrigerate their eggs, but it was still a bit surprising the first time we grabbed a half dozen off the shelf. They ended up with plump yolks and clear whites, protected by solid shells.
In the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began requiring all egg producers to wash eggs, following a strict protocol that leaves the shells squeaky clean but washes away a barely visible sheen that naturally envelops each egg, increasing the chances for bacteria—salmonella— to get through the pores or hairline cracks in the shell. In some European countries, egg-laying hens are vaccinated against salmonella. Basically, it’s two approaches targeting the same food safety result.
Yes, the eggs were delicious, and I became a huge fan of the Spanish tortilla, the traditional “omelet” dish, made with eggs and potatoes, often including onion, that is an essential part of the Spanish cuisine. I was hooked.
No, you haven’t stumbled onto a misplaced blog from a food writing nomad. This is after all, Technology Designer, and Valencia was where a six-pack of eggs led to my first encounter cooking on an induction stove top. The flat we rented had a small galley kitchen with a 30” counter next to an equal-sized cooktop. It wasn’t intimidating but the controls were just a couple icons and took a couple minutes to decipher. Pre-cleaning the pans took considerably longer; the previous guests apparently were not inclined to good kitchen hygiene.
But the overall experience was just as advertised. The pan got hot, not the stove top below it, other than some transient heat around the cooking area which dissipated quickly. The eggs on Day 2 were better than Day 1, and those on Day 3 were better still as I learned to control the temperature. Then pan was a little sticky and spatula iffy—after all it was an Air B&B. Of course, I boiled water as well mainly to see if it was as fast as Wei-Tai Kwock (Ad Man to Climate Advocate) has claimed, and it was impressive.
The timing of this could not have been better as I was writing an article for the next issue of Technology Designer on a San Francisco area startup company with a novel approach to the induction range. Channing St. Copper is launching an induction range that plugs into standard 120V outlet. It adds a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery to store the energy that powers the induction cooking and can back up other appliances as well. It’s a story of changing the way we think about cooking, about indoor air quality, about energy storage, about lowering our carbon emissions, about the planet on which we live, and about starting a company that delivers on all of these.