Are you a small appliance collector?
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  1. #1
    Registered User redhead68's Avatar
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    Default Are you a small appliance collector?

    There is a forum thread at Kitchen Appliances: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly that I found really interesting.

    Here's my copied and pasted contribution to that forum discussion...

    I used to have a kitchen packed with dishes, cooking implements, pots, pans, and small appliances. Ironically, it was a time in my life when I had a demanding career, and my husband and I ate every lunch and at least five dinners every week at a restaurant. When we did eat at home, it was almost always heat-and-eat convenience foods.

    Once we had children and I stopped working, we down-sized our house (and thus our kitchen), and we started eating at home for almost every meal. I dropped the convenience foods, and began cooking from scratch. It wasn't long before I realized that most of the equipment we owned wasn't necessary and sometimes took up a lot of the valuable counter space I needed to prepare meals, so I cleaned out the cabinets and kept only the basics. And, I mean the basics: a large soup pot with a steamer insert, a 12-inch skillet with lid, a medium sauce pan, a cookie sheet with a wire cooling rack, a muffin tin, a round cake pan, a loaf pan, a rectangular baking dish, a strainer, a couple of mixing bowls, and three very nice knives (paring, 8" chef, & bread knife). I have a few cooking utensils (spatulas, etc.) and a selection of Ziploc storage containers. We keep eight place settings of basic white china and a few serving pieces. That's about it. Strangely, I now cook almost every meal, and we consume a healthier variety of foods than we ever have before.

    I suspect that before I actually started cooking so much, I was filling my house with unnecessary tools to make myself "feel" like a good cook, rather than actually putting in the hard work to become one. So, I'm curious. How many meals does each of you cook at home vs. eating out? Have any of you had the same experience I have had?
    How about all of you? Are you collectors or do you keep just the basics?

    ...Karen
    Last edited by redhead68; 10-26-2007 at 07:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User mikandmari's Avatar
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    I've purchased a lot of my stuff at estate sales. I thing the stuff that the older cooks used, the old-fashioned stuff, are the basics that have stood the test of time. For instance, I make spaghetti from scratch, and wouldn't dream of buying an electric pasta maker. My hand crank machine is reliable.

    If I don't use something, I get rid of it. My house is small, but my kitchen is large with lots of storage. But I HATE clutter! If it's not well-organized, I can't find anything. I try to re-arrange & clean out once a year... and it's about that time of year again.

    My Mom has a meat slicer she never uses, so I think I may take it and see if it's worth the space it takes up. It's free, so I'll give it a try. Who knows? It might earn its keep.

  3. #3
    Registered User momof42003's Avatar
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    I don't really own a lot of small appliances... I have toaster, waffle maker, grill, crockpot, food processor, ice cream maker, an electric skillet, and a blender... I don't think that is very much. I use all of these during the month. As for baking and cooking items, I have 1 stock pot, three small sauce pans, three different sizes of frying pans,3 loaf pans (can go down to one), some cake pans, two cookie sheets, and a muffin tin. I will admit I can go down further in this area. I can't possibley use two or more loaf pans at the same time... I need to weed through this....

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  5. #4
    Registered User annymoll's Avatar
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    The basics.Have no need for kitchen"junk".

  6. #5
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~I have lots of small appliances and gadgets. They help me create special meals. As far as appliances go, I have a mixer, grinder, shredder, pureer, toaster, fryer, blender, electric frypan, yogurt maker, 2 crockpots, coffee maker, cappuchino maker, coffee grinder, fondue pot, chocolate fondue pot, micowave, cookie press, hand mixer, milkshake maker, waffle maker, air popcorn popper and ice cream maker. I contributed less than $30 to build this collection, most were gifts. Don't even get me started on my gadgets! I don't ENJOY making basic meals. I find I really LOVE cooking when I can create something special. I am a little confused though. Are you saying you have NO cooking appliances at all? Your paste just mentioned food prep supplies. My MIL cooks like you do. She has JUST the basics so she tends to prepare the same 30 meals in rotation. It works for her but it's way too limiting for me.(She's a GREAT cook, btw!)~

  7. #6
    Registered User elphaba's Avatar
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    I admit...I'm a gadget junkie (or at least I used to be) Having lost most of my stuff in 3 floods over the last 3 years I now have learned to be very selective about which small appliances I own. Forced purging of my stuff taught me that I didn't really need all that stuff.
    I am a personal chef and have worked in restaurants for the better part of 20 some years so I love to cook and get creative. I adore cool specialty appliances but only if they are (1) Used at least once a week and (2) reasonably priced. Having said that, I love love love and cannot live without these appliances:

    Kitchenaid Pro Mixer
    Cuisinart Coffee Maker
    Cuisinart Burr Grinder
    Electric Griddle
    High Speed Blender
    4 Slice Toaster
    Panini Maker

    I just ordered a Belgian Waffle maker as my 3 kids eat waffles like crazy and I'd rather make them fresh and freeze them than buy the commercial frozen ones.
    I also own a Breville Juicer (which I use when I go on my helathy binges), a crockpot (which I rarely use...mostly to keep foods warm at parties), and a hot pot for boiling water (my teapot died last week and I have yet to replace it)

    I do have alot of bakeware and cookware as I do alot of both! About 8 commercial half sheet baking pans, 6 loaf pans, 3 Springform pans (down from 9 before the flood!!), various sized cake pans ( I lost tons of expensive Wilton cake pans in the flood but have found no need tot replace them), 3 pie plates, Calphalon stock pot and a few other Calphalon pieces.

    Compared to what I had a few years ago, this is nothing. I used to have 10x as many pans, gadgets, and electric appliances than I do now. I was forced to purge but in a way it was the best thing that ever happened to my kitchen!
    Tamara

  8. #7
    Registered User Holly's Avatar
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    I'm a gadget junkie also.
    Just got me one of the Reynolds
    hand held vacuum sealers. I love it.

  9. #8
    Registered User redhead68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuisance26 View Post
    ~I have lots of small appliances and gadgets. They help me create special meals. As far as appliances go, I have a mixer, grinder, shredder, pureer, toaster, fryer, blender, electric frypan, yogurt maker, 2 crockpots, coffee maker, cappuchino maker, coffee grinder, fondue pot, chocolate fondue pot, micowave, cookie press, hand mixer, milkshake maker, waffle maker, air popcorn popper and ice cream maker. I contributed less than $30 to build this collection, most were gifts. Don't even get me started on my gadgets! I don't ENJOY making basic meals. I find I really LOVE cooking when I can create something special. I am a little confused though. Are you saying you have NO cooking appliances at all? Your paste just mentioned food prep supplies. My MIL cooks like you do. She has JUST the basics so she tends to prepare the same 30 meals in rotation. It works for her but it's way too limiting for me.(She's a GREAT cook, btw!)~
    Sorry to be confusing. As far as appliances, I have the basic big ones: a range/oven, refrigerator, and dishwasher. My small appliances include a toaster over, a stand mixer, a blender, & a cheap rice maker. My husband loves his grill, and I suppose that counts, too.

    We cook a great variety of foods, but I tend to stick to the same types of preparation; bake, roast, boil, braise, saute, and steam. I make a lot of soups & the kids love smoothies, so the blender is essential. And, I enjoy making bread and other goodies, so I couldn't live without the stand mixer. The toaster/convection oven comes in handy for heating up breakfast foods and leftovers, but I could live without it. Same with the rice maker.

    As I approach my forties, I'm finding that I spent the first twenty years of my adulthood buying things to create a certain image regardless of the reality of my life. In the kitchen, that meant having a ton of appliances and gadgets to make me look like a good cook. The truth was that I spent more of my time in restaurants than in my own kitchen, and all those gadgets were gathering dust. When I started putting in the time to cook regularly for my family, I found that the basics were all I needed to prepare delicious, nourishing food, and the extra gadgets and small appliances were superfluous.

    I wondered if others had experienced a similar revelation, or if I'm just an odd duck.
    Last edited by redhead68; 10-27-2007 at 02:13 PM.

  10. #9
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    I have a few: Crock-Pot, coffee maker, toaster, bread machine, Kitchen Aid Artisan Mixer and one of those small Phillips wand mixers. Those are all used weekly or more. But there are some that are "never" used: espresso maker (DH wanted this and used it twice ), a food processor/blender and a waffle maker.

    So no, not a junkie but could live with less.

  11. #10
    Registered User redhead68's Avatar
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    Every once in awhile, I consider buying a slow cooker; however, we don't eat red meat, and the only meal I associate with a crock pot is a soggy beef and noodle casserole my mom made in hers when I was a child.

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    Let's see...toaster oven, food dehydrator, juicer, can opener, coffee maker, crock pot. That's it. I have a blender, but the pitcher broke, so I don't use it. I don't have room for any more stuff. I'd like to have a breamaker and a food processor.

  13. #12
    Registered User redhead68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
    Let's see...toaster oven, food dehydrator, juicer, can opener, coffee maker, crock pot. That's it. I have a blender, but the pitcher broke, so I don't use it. I don't have room for any more stuff. I'd like to have a breamaker and a food processor.
    Jaded, I've never dehydrated food, but my toaster/convection oven has that capacity. What kinds of foods do you prepare with your dehydrator?
    Last edited by redhead68; 10-27-2007 at 03:47 PM.

  14. #13
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhead68 View Post
    As I approach my forties, I'm finding that I spent the first twenty years of my adulthood buying things to create a certain image regardless of the reality of my life. In the kitchen, that meant having a ton of appliances and gadgets to make me look like a good cook. The truth was that I spent more of my time in restaurants than in my own kitchen, and all those gadgets were gathering dust. When I started putting in the time to cook regularly for my family, I found that the basics were all I needed to prepare delicious, nourishing food, and the extra gadgets and small appliances were superfluous.

    I wondered if others had experienced a similar revelation, or if I'm just an odd duck.
    ~Now I'm wondering if you've ever worked in a restaurant kitchen? I think most of my drive to cook something 'special' comes from my 3 summers working in a restaurant kitchen and then later being too cheap to actually eat in restaurants. I DO think that eventually the novelty of it will wear off and the simpler foods will move in. But for now, creative cooking is just one of the little ways I can feel rich when I'm far from it, ~

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    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Oh I forgot about my breadmaker!~

  16. #15
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    I'm probably middle of the road in this dept:
    3 crockpots
    Kitchen aide mixer
    coffee maker
    toaster oven
    Imersion blender
    Food processor
    Break maker
    George Foreman grill
    George Foreman rotisserie
    Items I rarely use:
    Espresso maker
    Garlic press
    Small food processor
    HOWEVER: I love all my nice Calphalon pots and pans. Oh yeah, love my waffle maker, although I rarely use it.

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