Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Perfectly Practical #133 - 10 Kitchen Gadget Must Haves

When Engineer and I were filling up our wedding registry with all sorts of kitchen-y type items, we never stopped to think what was actually useful.  As neither of us could boil water when we got married, it probably made no difference anyway.  But no one told us in the grand scheme of usefulness (not to mention to save on space) it might have been sensible to get a hand mixer instead of a bread machine.  I mean seriously, what does a couple of newlywed college kids who don't know how to cook need with a bread machine?  Sheesh!

I thought about doing an ordered top 10 list but since all of these gadgets are used nearly every day in my household, I couldn't possibly decide which is the most useful.  However, I can break them down into two categories:  the absolute cannot live without category and the man it sure does make life easier category.

Whether you are a novice cook or an aspiring chef, these are all extremely useful time-saving multi-purpose gadgets.  Almost all of them can be purchased anywhere from grocery to drug stores and most are inexpensive.  Sure I might prefer a Kitchen Aid hand mixer but until my Hamilton Beach one dies, I'm sticking with it.

"How Did I Ever Function Without These?" Gadgets:


  • Food Processor - I use this to make pie crust, salsa, chop chocolate, crumble bread crumbs, you name it, the food processor does it.  It can take the place of a blender in many situations too.
  • Hand Mixer -  A hand mixer can be used for mixing batter, creaming potatoes, or whipping cream.  It is a time saver and doesn't take up much space.
  • Hand Blender - Also known as the "Whizzy" in our house.  It gets used to blend smoothies, whip small amounts of cream, blend soups, etc.  Make sure you get the kind that detaches from the base for easy clean-up.
  • Crock Pot - If you want one item that will save you time and money this is it.  You can take tough, cheaper cuts of meat and turn them into fall-off-the-bone specialties in a crock pot.  I also use mine to make and keep dips and hot cider warm as well as in which to make yogurt.  
  • Coffee Maker - It just wouldn't be a kitchen without one.  I'm talking about a plain Jane Mr. Coffee type machine.  I don't need fancy I need functional (and a continual caffeine injection).  Besides, you can percolate tea or hot water or punch in the machine; it's not just for coffee, per se.


"Life Is So Much Sweeter With These" Gadgets:


  • Rice Cooker - I never thought it was necessary until I tried one.  Now I use it all. the. time.  In fact, I wore my old one out and I replaced it directly.  It makes life so much easier.
  • Salt & Pepper Grinders - Freshly ground pepper adds so much to food.  I love salt grinders because of the little bursts of salt you get when you eat the food sprinkled with the ground salt.  Even if you have no other spices in your cabinet, these two will make a world of difference to your food.
  • Tea Kettle - In England everyone had electric kettles.  They were awesome!  You could have your water boiled in about a minute.  But whether electric or conventional, water boils faster in a kettle than in a pot.  Again, another item that is used every day without fail.
  • Hand chopper a la Slap Chop - I love this gadget for chopping a few nuts or for chopping onions or garlic. 
  • Kitchen Scale - I got used to cooking by weight as opposed to volume while living abroad.  Our French chef friend insists on cooking this way because it is more accurate.  I use it especially during canning season when I have to be a little more precise and a little less "dump it in."    
Are there any on your list of must have gadgets that I may have missed?

3 comments:

  1. My list would include most of yours but I would add a jar key, a microplane, a jam funnel and a timer. I don't have a food processor, slow cooker or rice cooker - mostly due to lack of adequate bench space - and a preference for low tech where possible - I don't mind the time chopping by hand. cheers

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  2. Another item I find extremely useful is a spaghetti server, the claw-shaped type. Spaghetti is my favorite food, and it's a lot easier to dish up using one of those!

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  3. Thanks ladies. I love all of those items as well. You have gotten my wheels turning as far as what else I would need in my kitchen if I were to start from scratch again.

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Your turn! Let me know what perfectly practical comments you have.

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