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{20/11/2012}   Electrical kitchen gadgets

I have a bread maker, smoothie maker, Kenwood K-Mix, hand-held blender, slow cooker, Gaggia coffee maker, coffee bean grinder, steamer and hand-held whisk.  I use all bar the smoothie maker, though I am poised to use it as a blender as I no longer have one.  Last night, staying at my second home, I followed a recipe that required either extensive chopping (three onions and a garlic to be chopped virtually to puree) or, what I’ve done while at home, a zap with the hand-held blender.  It took me 17 minutes to chop the onions.  A lot ended up on the floor and on the work surface, my eyes were streaming for the first five minutes and I wasn’t satisfied with the size of the pieces, but I had had enough.  I missed my blender.  And I had to buy bread yesterday.  And the meal that I made needed a slow cooker.  I felt bereft of gadgets and for once I realised that I genuinely do use my gadgets.

I am always curious as to the gadgets my friends use and I do sometimes find myself snooping around their kitchens to see what they have.  As a general rule, I feel I have a lot of gadgets.  But, like I said, I do use them.  The coffee maker and grinder are used pretty much daily, I don’t buy bread any more so I use that every few days, the slow cooker only really gets used about twice or three times a month in winter, the mixer maybe twice or more a month, the hand-held whisk only about three times a year (since getting the mixer), the steamer about once a week and the blender maybe once or twice a month.  If I had my way I’d also have a spice grinder (if only for the smell) and a chopper blender thing, a more butch version of my hand-held one.

In the past, I have made meringues without an electric whisk.  You may think that’s really nice, a labour of love and all that guff, but, no, I would rather buy them than do that labour-intensive kind of hand-killing whisking ever again.  It was just ridiculous.  You think it can’t possibly take that long to reach “stiff peak” status, but, really, it’s not worth it.  Not that I make meringues more than about once every two years.

There is a luddite part of me about many, many things, but not when it comes to kitchen aids.  I am not a 1950s housewife type who loves nothing more than baking and cooking everything from scratch (well I kind of do, but not in the pastry and faff kind of way!),  but I do prefer eating food that’s been freshly prepared.  I have neither the time nor the inclination to spend ages beating, grinding, chopping, juicing, bread making, etc.  I do, however, appreciate anything that allows me to make nice food much quicker and easier.  So bring on the electrical kitchen gadgets and let there be lovely home-cooked food and no need to spend money on a cappuccino from an overpriced cafe or on bread that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as mine.

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