Having the right kitchen gear there when you need it is a great way to get the job done right. However, as we all know that idealized reality doesn't always happen. Most often a quick substitution of gear or gadget provides an acceptable (or even superior) level of utility. But sometimes, you just have to make it yourself.
The DorkFood DSV Temperature Controller conquers half the battle when attempting to repurpose a piece of kitchen equipment into a sous-vide cooker. The controller is meant for use with a manual slow cooker or similar, non-digital appliance and monitors the temperature in the water bath -- for a price of less than a hundred dollars.
Sous-vide cooking has exploded in popularity and entry-level appliances are gaining steam. (For comparison's sake, check out the AquaChef reviewed earlier this month.) The DorkFood unit keeps costs low by controlling the flow of power to the appliance. This is why a digital slow cooker or rice maker would not work; as the power switches between on and off, the rig needs to be able to resume heating. In essence, it is like plugging and unplugging an appliance in order to maintain the cooking temperature.
It's an interesting take on a growing phenomenon. Cooking food in a water bath has grabbed the imaginations of everybody from professional chefs to home tinkerers. Crossing the $100 threshold in an easy-to-use package gives the trend more momentum and offers the added bonus of giving DIY types a shortcut to focus on the food.