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Whirlpool Yummly App Can Whip Up Dinner, Control Appliances

LAS VEGAS — Ever have a few random ingredients in your fridge and didn't know how to combine them into a meal? Whirlpool's Yummly app acts like a Chopped champion, identifying foodstuffs, pulling up recipes that include them, guiding you through the food prep process, and even automatically preheating select Whirlpool appliances as needed.

The Yummly app is available now, but all of these new features, which were shown off for the first time at CES 2018, will be rolled out later this year.

Yummly starts by using machine learning to identify ingredients, be they potatoes, fish, chicken, peppers, and more. It then searches its database of recipes that include those ingredients, and suggests them to you. After selecting one, it then guides you through each step of the process with short videos. For example, it could show you how to chop dill to season a filet of salmon.

If one of the steps calls for you to preheat the oven, the app can do so automatically, provided it's connected to one of Whirlpool's compatible ovens. Currently, there's about 18 appliances that will work with Yummly, but a Whirlpool rep said more will be available in the future.

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Cleverly, the app can adjust the ratio of ingredients on the fly if, say, you only have one yam, but the recipe calls for two. However, not all of the recipes in the Yummly app will have all of these integrations with appliances, and may merely provide you the recipe based on the ingredients.

In many ways, Yummly is very similar to Innit, another cooking app launching this week, but each has its advantages over the other. Innit lacks the ingredient-recognition capabilities of Yummly, but it can be voice-controlled using Google Assistant—so you don't need to get your raw chicken-drenched hands all over your smartphone—and it will also work with a number of appliance makers, including GE, LG, Bosch, and Thermador.

Regardless, it was pretty neat to be able to point a tablet at a collection of produce, and then have the Yummly app suggest a bunch of recipes automatically. Even without the appliance control, it could really take a lot of the guesswork out of deciding what to make for dinner.