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The future of Sous Vide


Shalmanese
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I remember hearing that in the 80's Sous Vide was going to be the next big thing in convenience foods. It would be like TV dinners, on steriods. Sous vide baths would be as common as microwaves and people would buy pre-prepared vacuum foods which they would pop into their sous vide machine in the morning and have a nice, piping hot gourmet dinner when they arrived home.

Now, on the face of it, none of this seems absurd. Sous Vide really would be great for this purpose and I think it would drastically increase the average quality of food that people are eating.

But sous vide seems to have morphed into a edgy haute cuisine trend now on the road to being played out and tired. Why did it end up taking the road it did and is there any home for mass consumer sous vide?

To me, it seems like a classic chicken and the egg problem. Noone was willing to invest money developing a sous vide machine without a ready market and manufacturers weren't willing to develop sous vide foods when noone owned a machine. However, now with a strong enthusiast home market in sous vide, there seems to be a ripe niche in the market for a basic home sous vide rig. It doesn't have to be super precise and people have been making tolerably accurate home brew kits for quite reasonable prices. Why is it noone has really made a move in this direction?

PS: I am a guy.

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It did come out in the 80's to the home consumer. It was called "boil-in-bag."

Clearly not the same thing as sous vide, but remember mass food producers need to make products that appeal the the average person, and the average person's IQ is pretty darn low. About 20% of people can't even get microwaving right you know. :wink:

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. . . . To me, it seems like a classic chicken and the egg problem. Noone was willing to invest money developing a sous vide machine without a ready market and manufacturers weren't willing to develop sous vide foods when noone owned a machine. However, now with a strong enthusiast home market in sous vide, there seems to be a ripe niche in the market for a basic home sous vide rig. It doesn't have to be super precise and people have been making tolerably accurate home brew kits for quite reasonable prices. Why is it noone has really made a move in this direction?

I'd buy one if it wasn't stupid expensive.

My set up is a big stock pot with a thermometer. I know I'll get 55C +/- 2 from my element at the first setting, 60C +/- 2 at the second mark and so on.

Actually there are s.v. products at my grocery store, they're just not marketed as such. I'm talking about "jig's supper" or "ready to boil brisket". It's cryovac seasoned beef or pork, fresh or frozen. Label says to boil for 30 minutes, open and serve. I simmer the bag for several hours at 60C and get much better results.

I'm not comfortable leaving the stove unattended for hours at a time, so that right there is a reason/excuse to buy a new kitchen gizmo.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I buy sous-vide packaged, ready to eat meals all the time (had one last night). You can get ones for camping that you slip into another bag, add some water, and a chemical reaction heats it up. The ones I buy for home you can either heat up in a pot of water, or in the microwave.

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I've been contemplating checking the temp on my rice cooker in its warm setting. I won't be able to set the temp, but it might be slow enough to make it work.

I suppose you could take a deep fryer that has immersion coils and a thermostat in it and get it low enough to sous vide in it.

Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)
Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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There are several wide-spread consumer implementations of sous vide:

--As someone says below, boil in bag;

--Those FoodSaver things you see on the infomercials;

--A lot of pricy bistros, delis and charcuterie type places, as well as caterers, sell not only sous vide cheese and pates, but also hot meals with protein, sauce, carb and veg all plated, ready for mike oven or boiling water.

The other thing is when we remove air from a wine bottle and 're-seal' it, or when we add a thin film of Saran Wrap to the top of a custard (to prevent skin), or when we squeeze the air out of a bag of potato chips before closing, we're kind of doing sous-vide there too, which is to prolong the life of foods due to reduced contact with air. 'Sous vide' just means 'vacuum-packed', and any use of it to indicate a trend or cooking method is incidental.

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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