WHAT'S COOKING

A NEW BREED OF APPLIANCE IS BRINGING DIGITAL-AGE EFFICIENCY TO THE KITCHEN

For years Americans have enjoyed the privilege of waking up to a fresh-brewed caffeine fix or of heating up last night's lasagna in 90 seconds. Once worshiped, the automatic drip coffeemaker and the microwave oven have become generic symbols of modern domestic life. The toaster, the blender, the food processor--they're all taken for granted. Things have been simple for a while.

But simple doesn't do it anymore. Consumers still want convenience, but they want more control too. They want fresher eats and drinks; they want flexibility. They're spending more time in the kitchen and want a little style sitting on their...