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Food Friday: Gadgets 
6th-Jun-2008 04:29 pm
It's always amazing to me the gadgetry that is invented (or perhaps rediscovered) each year for cooking.

I like browsing through the shiny new things, especially at Kitchen and Co. in Asheville. (Love that store!)

One gadget that I found indispensable, but have learned to live without is a microwave. We do not have one and mostly reheat things in the grill which is something I never used before moving to the UK.

But, I realize that most would consider both a microwave and a grill intrinsic to a kitchen.

So, farther down the gadget spectrum, we have a panini maker. I love paninis. However, we only ever use the thing once every two months or so. We'd probably use it more if we had the counter space to keep it out on the counter on a regular basis.

I tried using it to cook pancakes, in order that it might have a multi function. It worked, but it was terribly slow. Just doesn't get hot enough and there is quite a bit of wasted energy when it stays open, since pancakes don't do well with the top down over them. :)

I cleaned out the kitchen today and realize that we have several bits and bobs that don't get used. In fact, some of them haven't been used in almost a year.

I know I'll use them again, but it seems a waste of space to have them hanging about. Catch 22, I suppose.

I am the Clean Fairy today, so I must trot back to the cleaning.

So, I'll leave you with a questions, as usual:

What's hanging about, unused, in your kitchen?
6th-Jun-2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
I don't use my microwave much these days (I realized last year it took months before I took it out again after Passover). And though I know everyone else adores them, I never seem to use the KitchenAid, either. I also have some popover tins that someone gave me some years back, when I was in a fit of popover enthusiasm, which haven't been used in a couple of years. Hm. Haven't been using the bamboo steamers much either, but they still feel useful in ways the others don't.
6th-Jun-2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
My beautiful Kitchaid mixer is sitting in a cabinet at the moment. No counter space of any kind to use it. I vow that I will use it when we get to someplace bigger.
6th-Jun-2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
We had a quesadilla maker that we finally ditched this last spring. I think it had been a wedding present and in 10 years I can't remember using it more than once or twice...
6th-Jun-2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
A pestle and mortar, which may see use again now I'm growing fresh herbs once more; narenek has a huge stockpot which I haven't seen used in the 14m I've lived here... most other things get used though, even the silly £5 Tesco doughnut maker (which is nowhere near as good as deep frying them, but considerably more child/health friendly).
6th-Jun-2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
my friend got me this stoneware pot as a wedding present, and it just sits under the counter simply because i don't know what to do with it. we also have a mini fondue pot that doesnt get used, and an ice crusher that we actually just used at my birthday party, but i have a feeling it wont be used too much after...
6th-Jun-2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
We have 2 toasters on the counter. The old one doesn't take thick slices so we got a new one but apparently it doesn't toast as well so we have to keep them both. The bread maker gets used every few months. The sandwich toaster lives in a cupboard and gets used every few months. Ditto the smoothie maker. There's a popcorn maker hidden away somewhere, and I did have a fondue set at one time so that may be in a cupboard somewhere. We seem to get given various pots and glasses and utensils every Christmas so the kitchen is rather full. There's an unused coffee set that will probably be recycled - gifted to someone else next Christmas.

The microwave is used nearly every day. Mainly for cooking vegetables (steamed in a pot with a tiny bit of water) and heating baked beans and leftover takeaway or microwave meals.

Edited at 2008-06-06 05:14 pm (UTC)
6th-Jun-2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
My blender gets used only during the summer (smoothie season)--which is why I've managed to avoid replacing it, even though I've wanted to. My birthday money will do that though. I use everything else fairly regularly (including the Kitchenaid). However, I don't use my little coffee maker much any more unless I have company for breakfast--I prefer the drip by the cup one (mainly because it's faster).
6th-Jun-2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
A creme brulee set. I haven't used it since I got it as a wedding present over a year ago. But I really WANT to, there's just hasn't been a...creme brulee-type occasion yet!

I got an immersion blender for the wedding that my husband swore I'd never used and that I love and use all the time, however.
6th-Jun-2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
I have a wonderful fancy breadmaker that has never been used. I'm always on a diet it seems, and baking a loaf of bread is akin to eating a loaf of bread for me, so it sits all forlorn under the counter waiting for the day I'm either thin enough to splurge or just don't care anymore.
6th-Jun-2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
We just did a kitchen purdge and got rid of a smoothie maker, a toaster oven, a second grill, a waffle maker...and maybe other things, not sure. I like kitchen things...for about a year, then I get sick of them.

But! Paninis! As a space-saving game: 1 cast iron skillet + 1 grill pan = panini maker! It is wonderful, and one less gadget I have to have around.
6th-Jun-2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
My stuff:

-We have a quesadilla maker and a toastie maked (er ... grilled sanwich machine?), both courtesy of Matthieu's mother -- we use them from time to time, but generally forget that we have them.

-My espresso machine has entirely replaced my coffeemaker, and the latter sits unused until we have company for breakfast (a very rare occurence!).

-I bought a coffee grinder, but have found that a) it doesn't grind quite as finely as I'd like, b) it's nigh on impossible to gauge how much beans makes how much ground coffee, and I always end up with waste that goes stale before I can use it, and c) it doesn't actually save me much money. So I haven't so much been using it.

-We have a big flat griddle that Matthieu uses to make crêpes, but that's not a hugely common occurance.

-My electric mixer (an old Oster that my momma found in an antique store) has all kinds of parts that I have no idea what they do. I discovered the food grinder at Christmas time (making Grandmomma's secret cranberry sauce), but haven't experimented with the blender bits, food proccessor bits, dough hooks, or any of the other scary things.

-I do have a mortar and pestle, but I use it fairly often.

As far as our microwave goes, the only thing I think I really *need* it for is melting chocolate. Whenever I do it on the stove, I'm terrified it'll burn or curdle or whatever. Oh, and it's also great for softening butter when I want cookies but don't want to wait.
8th-Jun-2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
An egg poaching device. I always poach them in teacups in the microwave - the water doesn't bubble, and the egg stays together better. I do have some cake tins I haven't used, but they came in a multipack (and they're shaped like small teddy bears. I have not yet had cause to make small teddy-bear-shaped cakes).

Other than that... not much. We have a panini grill too, but it is used at least once a week to make toasted sandwiches. It'll do sausages, too, or fish fingers, if you eat fish fingers, which we don't often.
11th-Jun-2008 10:30 am (UTC)
Like you, the microwave
11th-Jun-2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
hi dear
I need a clean fairy really badly before my landlord's get annoyed
what is hanging about in my kitchen unused..

1) Lots of fine china -
for some reason, i'm so averse to using beautiful porcelain of any sort that I prefer to eat and drink out of plastic and plane plates and glasses.
2) An egg poacher
3) Potato slicer
4) Omelette maker
5) My oven..well its not unused but ever since i had an ovenfire, i've been terrified to use it again.
6) A hand blender
7) Nutella
8) A microwave steamer
9) Pancake mix
10) bread and cake making materials and vanilla and cinnamon essence
11) huge amount of mixed italian spices and mint and elderflower and dandelion
12) beautiful set of art deco coffee cups
13) a set of knives
14) a spare huge wok

um..a lot more..now i think about it. I was just opening cupboards and discovering even more stuff. Forget whats hidden in my freezer

I'm actually moving out and wanting to give away everything i have before it just gets thrown out

I was just coming because i wanted to show you something

This is the inside of Govan Old Parish which is normally not open but today was on a sunny afternoon. It is one of the most fascinating churches i have ever been in. It manages to straddle the divide between catholicism and protestantism with art which seemed to reflect the tension of the Reformation. Amazing stain glass windows and stunning interior architecture. The roof was a beautiful piece of work. This is probably the least interesting bit of the whole church but i thought it would make a nice picture.
If ever you are in Glasgow, ignore the cathedral. That is stunning on the outside but a bit dismal inside. Get here asap. Its almost completely unknown but a real architectural, historical gem. It contains a lot of relics from early christian periods.
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