It was like welcoming a new roommate into the house. It took some getting used to, but now that the Amazon Echo is here and Alexa is all moved in, we’d all be useless without her. Yes, there is a weather app on my phone, and sure, the news is readily available from many different sources around the home (radio, television, the phone), but being able to do anything else while simply having to ask “Hey Alexa, what is the weather today?” just makes life a bit easier.
She can do anything from creating a shopping list to locking the front door. She can answer almost any question you throw at her (go ahead and ask her about the meaning of life), and she can turn off the light you’re too lazy to walk 10 steps across the room to do yourself. She can even play music for your family’s impromptu dance party.
Alexa’s real moment to be most helpful might just be in the kitchen. Here are just a few of the things you can ask her to do. Keep in mind, some of these commands require an app, or “skill”, which can be found at alexa.amazon.com. The simpler commands are built into Alexa and require no extra steps once she’s set up in your home.
Convert Units of Measurement
Simply say “Alexa, convert cups to gallons” or “Alexa, how many tablespoons are in 1 ounce.” Math is hard for everyone, it’s okay.
The trick to using multiple timers is to remember to name them. Tell her “Alexa, set a timer for 3 minutes for tea,” and then “Alexa set a pizza time for 15 minutes.” When the time is up, she will say “Your tea timer is done,” and “Your pizza timer is done.” Don’t forget to tell her to “stop.”
If you are not sure what to cook for dinner, ask “Alexa, what should I make for dinner.” Her answer was a “top recipe” which was “creamy shells with bacon and spring peas.” She also gives you other popular recipes if you say “next.” Her default responses usually take 30 minutes to prepare and are relatively simple.
You can also ask her for specific recipes, like “Alexa, how do I make chocolate chip cookies.” She will give you an ingredient list, and step by step instructions. Something fun to do is ask “Alexa, what is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe.” It’s a bit like spinning a roulette wheel, in terms of quality, but who am I to argue with her?
A few “skills” that you should look into if you like recipe ideas are Allrecipe, Food Network, and GoodNes (which is run by Nestle, as in, the most delicious cookies that Phoebe Buffet’s grandmother ever made her).
Cocktails and Wine Pairings
Trying to impress your friends? Not sure what kind of wine to serve with the steak you’ve been marinating all day? Ask her “Alexa, what kind of wine pairs well with steak.” She will list off several choices.
Want to make a mojito to go with that ropa vieja that’s been in your crockpot all afternoon? Simply ask “Alexa, how do you make a mojito.” She finds the top recipe and gives an ingredient list, as well as step by step instructions.
You can ask “Alexa, how many calories are in a can of Pepsi.” I cannot promise you’ll like her answer.
If you are one of those people that is trying a low carb diet, she can also help with that. Ask “Alexa, how many carbs are in green beans.” This is a bit more limited, as she can only answer questions about food that has easily available nutritional information.
General Cooking Questions
Sometimes there are just things going on that a person just doesn’t know. Thankfully, Alexa is not here to judge. So, if you have to ask things like “How long does water take to boil,” or “Is there caffeine in a matcha latte,” it’s okay. That will stay between you, your kitchen, and Alexa.
No matter what you ask Alexa, be sure to thank her when you’re done.