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Reminder: Your Shiny New Amazon Echo or Google Home Is Great for Food Tasks

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Guest Nicole


It’ll do everything but the actual cooking.

This holiday season, a voice-controlled virtual assistant (in the form of Amazon Echo or Google Home) turned out to be one of the most popular gifts. If you’re the newfound owner of one of these futuristic devices, you’re in luck: It just became easier than ever to cook and consume food, because of the following functions:

• Create and edit a shopping list: The second you pour your last drop of olive oil, you can shout to Alexa to remind you to purchase more. Or, you can order your condiments directly through Amazon.

• Set a timer so you don’t overcook your steak yet another time.

• Ask questions about measurements, so you can halve recipes with ease.

• Learn nutrition information, like how many calories are in eggnog. (Not a recommended function until January.)

• In September, the Food Network partnered with Amazon so that you can say, “Alexa, enable the Food Network skill,” and receive the recipes from specific shows, a programming schedule, and more. (If only Alexa could sound just like Ina Garten.)

• After letting you drunkenly order pizza right through Twitter, Domino’s went one step further by creating programs on both Google Home and Amazon’s devices. On the latter, you just have to slur, “Alexa, trigger ‘order pizza.’”

• Make restaurant reservations — which will certainly come in handy after reading this.


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When the price dropped for Amazon Dot (Black Friday), I bought one, only after reading that one of its skills would be "Allrecipes" that actually walks you through a recipe step by step, hands free, while you pull out the pots and the ingredients, etc. I couldn't get the Allrecipes skill to come up on the list of Alexa skills for several days, but it finally showed up and I like it.

My wife liked it so much that we bought an Echo for the living room, which replaces the stereo, because Spotifiy plays through either it or the Sonos speakers in the living room. Got one for my parents, but when I called to tell them, they had just bought the Dot, so I gave the Echo to my daughter and son-in-law. But their neighbor also just gave them the Google Home, so who knows what they'll use the most. The Echo was easier for them to make their automatic shades go up and down through a voice command.

I still like the Echo better than Google Home because, believe it or not, Alexa can edit my Google calendar and Google can't.

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