Being both a geek and a foodie means I have a lot of kitchen gadgets. I mean a lot a lot. And I covet more. If it were up to me, I’d have every multi-use and single-use kitchen doodad known to man – and about three times as many cupboards as I currently have to hold them all.
Many are the result of combining two households, some were received as wedding gifts, and some just seem to have appeared in the collection in between moves somewhere. As in “Hey, did that mystery thing even come out of one of our boxes?”
So doing a quick inventory I came up with, in order of most-used to least-used: microwave, coffee maker (x2 – one lives at work), rice cooker, electric kettle, blender, toaster, slow cooker (x2), food processor, stand mixer, crepe maker, immersion blender, fondue pot, waffle iron, ice cream maker. This doesn’t begin to tackle the list of thingamajigs I have that don’t plug in, by the way. And I’m not even the chef in the family!
What don’t I have anymore that I collected over the years? There are a few things that actually didn’t make the gadget-hoarding cut. The donut maker never worked right, so it went to Goodwill a few weeks ago. The electric skillet died in the last move. The juicer was more trouble than it was worth to clean and was passed on to someone who might love it more than me. Maybe I’ll try a different one someday (when I can afford it).
Then there are the gadgets I’ve loved to death. I’ve killed the motor on several blenders and one immersion blender. The blender/mini-food processor combo was handy and space-saving, but under-powered. The George Foreman grill was highly overrated and generally just terrible at cooking things. A popcorn air-popper that never really worked right. In my just-after-college years I used to death a very cheap rice cooker that was upgraded to my current fuzzy-logic masterpiece. And those infamous movers get credit for cracking the bowl of the old food processor.
What would I add to the collection if I could? In order of would-love-to have: A Vitamix, a dehydrator, an induction burner, a deep fryer (which I actually won’t ever buy because I like fried food way too much to have that in my house) an electric griddle, and a raclette grill – just because I want to try it. And of course the remaining KitchenAid accessories I don’t have: the meat grinder, the pasta maker, and the ice-cream maker attachment for whenever my current one dies.
If I had to whittle it down a bit, I could probably cut down, but… no, probably not. I might use them all again in the next month or two!
The one that surprises me with its frequency of use is the Panasonic rice cooker. This fuzzy-logic little marvel is multitalented. I think we use it to steam things more than we use it to cook rice. It has an awesome steaming tray and is perfect for vegetables or heating up those nice frozen pork buns. Mmmm, Dim Sum.
This baby has settings for white rice, sticky rice, and brown rice. It has a set-ahead timer so I can have fresh rice to make Misubi with in the morning, and it has a porridge setting so I can do overnight steel cut oats as well. I haven’t ever tried it, but it even has a recipe for chocolate cake. Yes, in the rice cooker. So that, by far, wins first place in my book as the ultimate geek kitchen gadget.
The other gadget that *gasp* doesn’t plug in that I can’t live without is the apple peeler-corer. For under $20 one of these little wonders will save you a lot of time with anything you need to mass-peel and slice. It can be set up to just peel, just core, or both, meaning that when you have to feed 20 for Thanksgiving you can actually use it to peel potatoes for the mashed potatoes.
But most importantly to me it 1) makes “slinky apples” for my kid with its amazing spiral-slicing, and 2) makes things like homemade applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie a whole lot less painful. I also get a surprising amount of use out of my salad spinner, because while I love the convenience of bagged salad, it usually disappoints.
What kitchen gadget(s) can’t you live without?