I’m a pretty minimalist person when it comes to kitchenware. The only gadgets I have are the ones someone else bought for me:, like the amazing strawberry huller multitasker my mom bought me or the garlic crusher my sister gave me. (True, it’s a unitasker, but it’s oh, so handy!) All in all, I’m a knife, peeler, cutting board, and grater kind of person. I’d rather chop stuff by hand than use a food processor any day. There’s something very satisfying about prepping a bunch of veggies for soups and stews by hand.
The same goes for kitchen appliances. The rice cooker used to be my favorite of all, but since we eat far fewer grains, it’s sadly sitting in our basement, along with the griddle I bought specifically to make pancakes. (No matter what anyone tries to convince you of, coconut flour pancakes are NOT pancakes. They might look like them, and even smell like them, but they sure don’t taste like them!) I brought the bread maker out of retirement when I managed to find a low-carbohydrate bread recipe that we actually like. The food processor weighs a ton (but it’s necessary for some stuff, I admit), I rarely use a blender (smoothies are Michael’s thing, and my mom bought him a Bullet for those), and ice cream comes out rock solid if you don’t use real sugar in the homemade stuff.
There are three appliances, though, that I just wouldn’t want to live without. The toaster oven gets more use, by far, than anything else. It’s much more efficient when cooking for one or two people. It heats quickly and doesn’t heat up the whole room, like the oven, so I especially appreciate it during the hot summer months.
The only thing I regularly drink besides water is decaf iced tea that I make. My sister got three iced tea makers as wedding presents in 1996 and gave me one. I use it almost every day and (hopefully I’m not jinxing it), it still works.
Another must-have is an immersion blender stick, which I first discovered when I house/dog sat during grad school for a family who had one. I wouldn’t recommend a rechargeable one because theirs didn’t have the power that my plug-in one does (but that was 100 years ago, so maybe they’re better now?). I try it on almost anything I need to blend to see if I can avoid hauling out the blender or food processor,. It’s easier to use and is simple to clean. So far, it’s worked for puddings, dressings, sauces, soups, and even cheesecake and pumpkin pie batters.
The biggest reason I love these tools and appliances is because they help to simplify my life. I save time not having to root around for a gadget, but can just grab a knife out of the counter crock and get to work. I appreciate the efficiency of multitaskers in the kitchen, so I don’t have to learn how to use them. Also, I don’t have to figure out where to store an avocado keeper when I have a few baskets of multipurpose Rubbermaid containers neatly stacked in baskets in the cupboard. And unless someone kindly buys them for me, I save money that I can use to travel…