Confessions of a Kitchen Gadget Junky
I recently had a discussion with our food editor in which we confessed to each other our secret passion for kitchen gadgets. We agreed on this: It's impossible to have too many. No matter the cupboard space, there's always room for more. "You haven’t seen my kitchen," she boasted. True, but she hasn’t seen mine, either.
I must have learned it from my mom, who asks, “Do you want your bacon cooked flat or on a bacon hanger?” “Mom, I don’t eat bacon.” “Okay, want your waffle round, square or heart shaped?”
When you are a kitchen toy collector, um, I mean, a kitchen tool collector, it’s a losing battle. I don’t even attempt to control my compulsions. There’s always one more out there and, I swear, it’s calling my name. I rationalize that I NEED this stuff. Yes, I use my bread machine twice a week … and my rice cooker. And yes, I am getting around to using my ice cream maker.
It probably started when I was a child with my little toy oven. It came with small cake pans, pie pans, muffin tins and a little rolling pin. You put in a light bulb and bake away. This toy was taken off the market this year—the incandescent light bulbs that produce the heat were replaced by fluorescents and LEDs. So I was surprised and delighted when, in the line of work, I stumbled across a replacement of sorts from Babycakes.
They claim it “makes a perfect gift for kids from one to 92.” I fall into that age group so I couldn’t wait to get going. Which baking appliance would I choose? A mini-cupcake maker? A cake pop maker? A whoopee pie maker? A personal pie maker? All sounded like fun, but wait—what’s this—a mini donut maker? That’s the one! Not only would it entertain the neighborhood kids and grandkids, I could actually make mini donuts for my husband’s sweet tooth--baked, not fried.
And it worked perfectly! In minutes and with no fuss, out came six perfect little donuts. The kid next door loved them. But wait, can I make gluten free? I wiped off all crumbs, thoroughly cleaned it up and then played with the recipe a bit. Perfect again! But wait, can I make egg free and dairy free? Out with the dairy, in with coconut milk. Out with the egg, in with ¼ cup of applesauce and a teaspoon of arrowroot. Perfect again! I glazed them and put them in front of my husband. Poof, they were gone.
(Hmmm, my mom is always looking for a new toy. I bet she could serve the cake pops at a card party. She could let the grandkids make cake pops for Halloween, for Thanksgiving, for Santa! The clean, smart design is cool enough to leave out on her kitchen counter. And with a price of $25 to 30, it fits my gift budget.)
I love my serious kitchen gadgets—the bread machine, the stand mixer, the food processor. They make special-diet cooking easier and more fun. But I have to say, I love my little gadgets just as much—the micro grater, the melon ball scoop, the canapé cutters. And, goodness, let’s not forget my nifty salad spinner, the immersion blender, the cabinet-mounted jar opener. My neighbors say they always know who to call when they need something.
What’s your favorite kitchen toy?