July 1, 2010 at 5:59 pm , by Louise Sloan
I am not a gadget girl. Even if I didn’t live in a space-challenged New York City apartment, I’d roll my eyes and sneer at most of them. A waste of money and storage, never mind the environmental cost of all that unnecessary, dust-collecting junk. Kitchen gadgets seem to be the worst, and most plentiful. A tomato slicer, really? You couldn’t slice an actual ripe homegrown tomato with one of those, anyway. And I mince my garlic with a chef’s knife, having never found a garlic press that didn’t take longer to clean than to use. But, despite my strident anti-gadget stance, I have to admit there are a few seemingly laughable kitchen gadgets and products I can’t live without. I just bought a terrific new one last week:
The Cupcake Courier
I know, a special container just for cupcakes? But my son just had his first school birthday party (4 candles!), and I’m about to embark on a decade or so of hauling cupcakes to classrooms. You can decorate your cupcakes in this thing (see photo, above), keep them fresh in it, bring 36 of them (or a cake) somewhere without messing them up, and it’s pretty, so you can serve right from the container. Brilliant!
The Rice Cooker
When my then-partner wanted to buy one of these at a yard sale years ago, I’ll admit, I mocked the idea. What’s wrong with a pot? Here’s what’s wrong: You have to watch it. Which I never did. So I always burned the rice. So I avoided making rice. A rice cooker magically knows when the rice is done, turns itself down and then keeps the rice warm for you. It’s like having a competent sous-chef on staff. I am addicted. And actually eating rice again.
The Microplane Grater
I already had a grater, so I smiled and gave a semi-sincere thank-you when a friend gave me one of these. But the way it grates fresh parmesan? Like a blizzard. Easy. Quick. Fine shreds that pack a lot of flavor. And then you stick it in your dishwasher’s flatware holder. I now have two of them and wish I could go back and wipe that insincere smile off my face.
The Vacu Vin Wine Saver
C’mon, just stick a cork in it, right? Except then the bottle leaks, or the cork gets stuck and you have to struggle to get it out again, and meanwhile the air in the bottle has made your wine go sour faster. The Vacu Vin stopper is small, easy to insert and remove, and the pump is also small and makes your wine keep for longer. Cheers!
The Bread Machine
OK, I still kind of scoff at myself over this one. Bread machines are ridiculous, large, and make hideously ugly square loaves. And baking bread from scratch really isn’t that hard. But… how often are you really gonna do it? If you’re like me, with a job and a kid, the answer is, maybe once a year. It’s easy, but it requires half a day of going back at timed intervals to deal with it, and you get flour all over your kitchen counter. With a bread machine you dump everything in, set a timer, and have the smell of fresh bread wake you up in the morning. I go through phases of doing this, and I think it’s time to dig the embarrassing hulk out of the closet again.
Tell me, what’s your favorite seemingly silly kitchen gadget and why should I get one? (And don’t try to talk me into a tomato slicer, it ain’t gonna work.)
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