When a recipe requires boiling a pot of water, people can get cocky. It seems like an easy task to complete; you’ve probably done it hundreds of time. Steps include: take out pot, fill pot with water, put pot on stove, turn on stove. (And, in a lot of cases, add salt—it actually does change the boiling temperature.)
But it’s never that simple. You might leave the room and take for granted the ease of this task, only to reenter the kitchen and find a scalding hot pot with no water and a kitchen full of water vapor. But there is a hack, courtesy of Lifehacker, which can make this problem a thing of the past.
All you need is a smartphone with video chatting capability, a secondary device for monitoring, and a mini tripod. The third item you might not have, but they really do come in handy for everything from taking a family photo to seeing how well you picked up the latest dance craze after recording your extensive rehearsing.
Take your phone and place so that it is in position to clearly view the pot of water you are boiling. You can use Tupperware or cookbooks to prop the phone and tripod up so that it gets a clear view of whatever you’re heating. Once it’s in position, open your video chatting software (Skype, FaceTime, or ooVoo if it was 2010), then call whatever account you have open on your laptop. Accept the call on the laptop and there you have it, a live stream of whatever is on the stove.
This trick can come in handy for more than just boiling water, however. If you’re cooking down something that requires a lot of time of reducing, this can save you from running downstairs to check on your bone broth every fifteen minutes for a six-hour cooking time. (Did you know that there actually is a difference between broth and stock? Believe it.)