The Perspective 
Monday, 19 November 2007
 
It’s a familiar scene in many houses on the fourth Thursday in November: Relatives young and old chat together, cousins and siblings play football in the back yard, and the introverts watch old Westerns in the basement. In the kitchen, an assortment of gourmet gurus peel aluminum foil off the Thanksgiving dishes they’ve prepared.
 
But how does an inexperienced cook even begin to contribute to the family feast?
 
One place to start is the grocery. Recipe and shopping kiosks come to the aid of those in dire need of culinary support. During the month leading up to Thanksgiving, some self-service devices provide recipes and shopping lists of ingredients for such culinary emergencies.
 
ShoptoCook, a provider of turnkey meal content kiosks, places a seasonal button on its kiosks, which are deployed in more than 200 grocery and retail stores. Leading up to Thanksgiving, the recipes there provide dozens of basic recipes for turkey, stuffing, vegetables and deserts. Advanced dishes, not for first-timers, also are available.
 
“It’s during that whole holiday season that people need help with what to cook,” said John Picard, chief operating officer of ShoptoCook Inc. “Many are interested in trying something new.”
 
In fact, Picard said, many experienced cooks want to impress and entertain their guests with new recipes. ShoptoCook’s kiosk provides an assortment of new deserts and side dishes that were not an option the year before.
 
And when the feast is finished, the kiosk even has ideas for the leftovers.
 
“The seasonal buttons are very popular,” Picard said. “It is a key part of what we offer.”
 
Giant Food Stores, a deployer of several self-service solutions, offers its own Shopping Solutions and Recipe Solutions kiosks. The search capability lets eager hosts search for innovative Thanksgiving recipes. Its kiosks include recipes for roast turkey with corn bread stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry relish, roasted zucchini and yam casserole. Many of the recipes also come with preparation and nutrition information.
 
For those looking to interject some healthy alternatives into their Thanksgiving feast for friends and family with special dietary requirements, Portland, Ore.-based Healthnotes Inc.’s “Fresh Ideas” kiosks offer tips and recipes on fresh foods and health-related products. The Healthnotes kiosks include content on fresh foods, organics, diets, supplements and medications, as well as science-based product recommendations for managing health conditions, and even wines.
 
Connoisseurs who are especially serious about what they toast their turkey with can find kiosks that exclusively offer beverage assistance. According to a June Newsweek story, roughly half a dozen companies are testing and marketing interactive touchscreen wine kiosks for placement in grocery and liquor stores, as well as in wine shops. The kiosks allow shoppers to search for wines by name, grape, region, price or menu compatibility.
 
No matter what your experience level in the kitchen, self-service tools can help bring together a fine dining experience.

Posted by: Patrick Avery AT 11:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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