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Wayne Post
  • Anne Palumbo: Heavy-duty thoughts on lightweight kitchen appliances

  • Let me ask you something:

    Do you have cupboards full of old kitchen gadgets? Say, a slow cooker or espresso maker? Perhaps a panini press or popcorn popper? Out on a limb here: a turkey fryer or tortilla maker?
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  • Let me ask you something: Do you have cupboards full of old kitchen gadgets? Say, a slow cooker or espresso maker? Perhaps a panini press or popcorn popper? Out on a limb here: a turkey fryer or tortilla maker? You say you do? Should we start a support group? I'm starting to feel a tad guilty about all the kitchen gadgets I have, don't use, and yet can't give up. There they languish, in my Gadget Graveyard, begging for a morsel of attention. For the record, my love affair with kitchen gadgets started innocently enough. When I was a small child, my dad surprised our family one holiday with a Presto Hot Dogger, an electric hot-dog cooker that readied dogs for consumption in 60 seconds. Sixty seconds! Sure, I lost interest after 10 wieners, but my pilot had been lit. Soon after, my fire got some serious stoking when my parents brought home America's first microwave: a hulking Amana Radarange. Although the entrees my mother cooked in the contraption were inedible, we coveted that darn thing, whose usage quickly narrowed to heating coffee, cooking bacon and watching foil spark. That it did next to nothing for all the counter space it consumed was beside the point: we were a family on the cutting edge of kitchen technology. From there, all small-appliance hell broke loose in our household. We deep-fried our own French fries, popped popcorn with air, grilled meat, slow-cooked stews and made malted milkshakes – all with nifty little electric appliances that had a shelf-life of interest of about a month. I continued the thread as a young adult with electrics that allowed me to crank out pasta, grind coffee beans, dehydrate fruit and hold fondue parties. Yes, I invested in a bread maker; and, of course, I purchased a groovy yogurt maker. When kiddies came along, I broadened my gadget horizons to include all sorts of cool doodads that would light their little pilots: a Snoopy Sno Cone maker, an R2-D2 soy sauce dispenser, an Easy Bake oven, and a cotton candy machine. You see, as a devoted daughter and committed parent, I felt it was my duty to carry the gadget baton into the next generation. I obviously trained my Jedis well because now, as twenty-somethings, they're all over the electrics, like white on rice, or rather, like white on a rice cooker, which I believe both own. Nonetheless, as sheepish as I feel about all the gadgets holed up in my pantry, I still can't part with any of them. “You just never know” is how I feel. Someone might crave a banana chip again. Let me ask you something else: Have you seen the latest waffle maker? The one that turns out darling little heart-shaped waffles? Support-group-schmort-group. Let's rumble!

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