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Do not call the Tovala a microwave, even though it looks a lot like a microwave

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The Tovala, a gadget that initially launched on Kickstarter, can bake, broil, and steam your food. It is not a microwave. Okay? Get it? Not a microwave. It’s designed to work with prepackaged and shipped meals from Tovala, like “sunflower satay tofu steak” and “curried turkey meatballs.” They show up in a box at your front door, like any other meal subscription service, with the dishes packed into metal tins.

You scan the meals’ box with the Tovala, which triggers an entire cooking cycle that involves baking, broiling, and steaming. It might sound like you’re just popping a TV dinner in the microwave, but that isn’t what you’re doing because this isn’t a microwave. Three single-serving meals weekly cost $36 while three, two-serving meals cost $72 per week. The device itself costs $399.

You can see how that process works here:

You can cook your own meals with Tovala by using its companion iOS / Android app, although the device is clearly optimized for those packaged meals. So now you know: the Tovala is not a microwave; it’s a smart oven, like others created by companies like June, that’s designed to sell you proprietary meal pods. It’s available through Tovala’s website. Exciting times.