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stroker
stroker UberDork
12/16/21 2:07 p.m.

...did you find to be unexpectedly useful, if not essential?  The follow-up question is which appliance do you now regard as not worth owning?  

I coveted a dedicated deep fryer but I just don't think we can eat enough fried chicken (etc.) to justify the expense.  I bought a food processor many years ago and haven't used it in 10 years.  Bought a used hand crank meat grinder but haven't used it.  Been thinking about a sausage stuffer or a dehydrator or a vacuum bagger or a wok...  The list is almost endless.  I can't afford to spend money on stuff I won't use.  

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
12/16/21 2:13 p.m.

I have a big Kitchenade mixer that is very useful, especially for baking bread. The only other kitchen appliances we have in the house besides the stove, microwave, grill, and fridge are a blender and a toaster.  Maybe there's a waffle iron hiding somewhere. Beyond that, it's all hand tools and pots and pans.

Are you already doing a lot of deep frying on the stovetop?

stroker
stroker UberDork
12/16/21 2:19 p.m.

I'm not deep frying anything at the moment, but the kids have indicated an interest in fried chicken and I have a 25 pound box of frozen fish I need to consume...

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
12/16/21 2:52 p.m.

Get a cheap deep fryer. Mine is from Aldi, was like $30. I've spent more on the replacement filters for it than that now, but it's 5-6 years old. A bit slow, a bit small, but it works very well and doesn't take up too much space, holds 3/4 gallon of oil, which is annoying because oil comes in gallon jugs. 

I find when I pull it out of storage or stays out for a month or so then goes back in. 

Although a Dutch oven on the stove can do the same thing.

 

I use my vacuum sealer at least weekly. Mostly for sous vide, but also for stuff going in the freezer, marinades, smaller brine projects

I've got 2 electric pressure cookers and I honestly don't know how many crock pots. I find their usage cyclical, a lot more in the fall/winter than spring/summer, but the instant pot can do sous vide so it sees more use. 

Get liner bags for the crockpot from the grocery store. They're cheap and disposable, but mean you don't have to clean the pot out every time you use it.

 

I do have a food processor, came with my blender. Haven't used it once yet. Most of what it can do, I can also do with accessories I have for my Kitchenaide, so it just takes up cabinet space. 

Throw away the toaster, get a toaster oven. Spring for the one with a convection oven inside. Even with a family of four, I can do dinner in one during the summer without needing to run the actual oven. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/16/21 2:53 p.m.

I gave up trying to get my wife to green light a freezer. Then she decided she wanted one. Two refrigerators and a freezer is the way to go. 
 

 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/16/21 3:06 p.m.

We have a deep freeze in the garage that we use a lot now with the Costco membership. Our toaster and blender aren't used much......but we use our air fryer quite a bit. We have talked about getting the toaster/convection oven thing since it's warm here so much of the year and the oven really heats up the house. 

 

RevRico
RevRico UltimaDork
12/16/21 3:10 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

I'll agree with that. I've been kicking around the idea of a second freezer as well. We have the main fridge in the kitchen, a 1950s tank in the basement for overflow/backups/brining ham, and a big stand up freezer.

Even without hunting or buying fair pigs the last few years, the freezer is almost always packed to the point I've had to pass on things because I don't have room. And I actually cycle through the stuff that goes on it, not just pack it full. So a chest freezer or another stand-up is in the future plans. 

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard Marketing Coordinator
12/16/21 3:21 p.m.

Kitchenaid stand mixer and chest freezer for sure. One speeds up food assembly, the other slows down food aging. The time machines of the kitchen tool universe.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/16/21 3:55 p.m.

Before you buy anything, ask yourself the following: 

  1. Can I do this another way?
  2. If I can, how much more difficult is it to do it the other way?
  3. Will I use this often? 
  4. How much space does this take up?
  5. Is it easy to clean (this will impact #3)
  6. How many things can this do?

Examples: 

  • My wife had a quesadilla maker in college. Great in a dorm room. Pointless in a kitchen if you own a skillet, because the quesadilla maker is no easier or better, while being bulky and hard to clean.
  • Similar to that in shape and function is a waffle iron... But I cannot make a waffle in anything but a waffle iron. So the waffle iron stays.
  • I can replicate a stand maker with my hands, or with a whisk... But it saves so much effort that it is worth it.
  • I can easily replicate a garlic press with the broad side of a knife... But I use a garlic press at least 3 times a week and it does a better job.
  • A mandoline is better,faster, and easier than a knife for cutting thinly, inexpensive, and easy to store and clean. Easy decision.
  • Conversely, a slap-chop is not really any faster than dicing an onion with a knife, and much harder to clean. 

 

 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
12/16/21 3:59 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I gave up trying to get my wife to green light a freezer. Then she decided she wanted one. Two refrigerators and a freezer is the way to go. 
 

We picked up the second fridge in preparation for Thanksgiving about ten years ago.  I can't imagine living without it now.  As both the freezers are fairly stuffed and a royal pain to find stuff in, the chest freezer seems a logical next step.

tomtomgt356 (Tommy)
tomtomgt356 (Tommy) GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/16/21 5:09 p.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

I suggest getting an upright freezer instead of a chest freezer if you have the space. It is a lot easier to organize and find stuff and you don't end up using the top third while the bottom third sits there for years on end getting freezer burnt.

Folgers
Folgers New Reader
12/16/21 6:03 p.m.

My kitchenaid mixer will be buried with me. 

My indulgences are a drip coffee maker, for when I’m too lazy to break out the French press, and a toaster oven.

In summer I only use the regular oven to bake bread, everything else goes in the toaster oven. It doesn’t heat up the house nearly as much. 

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
12/16/21 6:13 p.m.
mtn said:
  • Conversely, a slap-chop is not really any faster than dicing an onion with a knife, and much harder to clean. 

Wife got a slap chop. I hate that stupid thing. Cut myself every time I have to clean it, which is doubly annoying, since I'm never the one who used it.

I love my food processor. 90% of the time I just use it to make salsa. But I love salsa, so it gets used at least once a week. Holy crap is it easy to make a lot of really good salsa with a food processor.

Also love my little Bialetti Mocha Express pot. Almost as good as an espresso machine, but waaaay less space or hassle.

RossD
RossD MegaDork
12/16/21 6:27 p.m.

We have a rice cooker that has other settings but barely ever use those. I love that it has a keep warm feature, so I will start before I go and pick up kids and come back to some of dinner already finished.

The electric pressure cooker is nice for black beans and such.

I wouldnt buy a stand mixer. we dont use it enough. Even for making bread.

Electric corkscrew is nice but once the battery finally took a dump and wouldnt hold a charge, we havent replaced it.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia UltraDork
12/16/21 6:32 p.m.

I like my George Foreman grill  :)

RX Reven'
RX Reven' GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/16/21 6:42 p.m.

15 posts and not one "sammich maker" reference...do I have to carry the full burden of sophomoric humor around here. cheeky

I haven't even had a microwave in 12 years because marriage goes like this...

New microwave = new oven unit = kitchen remodel = house remodel so a bag of popcorn would set me back 75K+

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
12/16/21 6:52 p.m.

If we're talking unexpected, none of them--the entire reason we buy kitchen appliances is because of the great hope/expectation they'll be worth a E36 M3, isn't it? Like, there's project-car levels of delusion and fantasy operating whenever we bring a kitchen gadget home.

 So I guess this is more in the expected/still surprised it happened vein, but I'd go with my Anova sous vide cooker. It's been a go-to for many meals, especially when I'm too tired to make art but still want something really tasty. Close runner-up? The vacuum bags and hand pump I bought with it.

But the single greatest "I can't believe I'm still using and enjoying this stupid thing" is--yes!--a sammich maker.  My egg and muffin maker toaster combo dealy offers this value proposition: You get an Egg McMuffin without the drive-thru. Load it up, get in the shower, come out and eat sammich. Hard to argue with that.

Margie

mtn
mtn MegaDork
12/16/21 6:53 p.m.
Beer Baron said:
mtn said:
  • Conversely, a slap-chop is not really any faster than dicing an onion with a knife, and much harder to clean. 

Also love my little Bialetti Mocha Express pot. Almost as good as an espresso machine, but waaaay less space or hassle.

I have somehow lost half of my Moka pot. No clue how or where it could have gone. 

11GTCS
11GTCS Dork
12/16/21 7:12 p.m.

X 10 or wherever we are on the Kitchenaid stand mixer.   Amazing tool for baking and bread making.  

Edit to add another thought.  We did a major kitchen renovation/ family room addition back in 2018 / 2019 to upgrade from the original 1960’s kitchen that we’d lived with since we bought the house in 1991.   After having a couple crappy combination over the stove microwave/ exhaust fans I can’t recommend the dedicated exhaust hood over the stove enough.   It’s a downsized version of a real commercial exhaust hood with a 300 CFM fan, grease tray and all stainless construction above the stove. Can’t see it for the most part as the cover panels match the cabinets but wow  what difference.  The microwave with drawer style door under the counter is a close second.  

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/16/21 8:10 p.m.

I live alone, so cooking is a high-end experience for me.  I don't have to feed 4 people on a budget in 12 minutes.  Every night I get to look in the fridge, the veggie basket, and the spice rack and figure out what I want to do with it.  Tonight was two Tilapia filets coated in flour, Sumac, and a little Cumin with some Old Bay sauteed peppers and rosemary fried apples.  Tomorrow I'm eyeing up some chicken breasts that I might bake with some old crusty apricot jam, soy sauce, and Ras al Hanout.

Instant Pot has been my friend.  I used to do a lot of crock pot meals.  I toss some stuff in it, turn it on, and when I get home from work it is a thing.  The Instant pot has taken that to the next level.  I will sometimes make a roast or something during the day, empty it out into a storage container, then throw in some rice for a quick cook.  I have used it to can all kinds of things including some venison that is brilliant over some egg noodles.

Otherwise, I get by with a cast-iron skillet, a non-stick ceramic fry pan, a dutch oven, and a hand mixer.  I don't even own a real blender, just one of those Bullet things.  If I'm making a blended soup, I'll do the whole process except the blending.  Keep it in the fridge in unblended form, then I can fill the bullet blender to process one serving and heat it up.

My favorite kitchen tool is one of those remote meat thermometers.  Stuff the probe into a tenderloin, set the alarm for 128 degrees, and wait for my phone to ding.

I would say Instant Pot wins in my kitchen, which means the Crock Pot is obsolete.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/16/21 8:19 p.m.

The most used in our kitchen is the blender - but that's almost exclusively for the critters. 
 

The one we use the most is the pizazz pizza cooker - which I totally dissed at first, but does cook frozen pizzas quicker & more evenly than the oven(even on a stone). The latest-greatest one as been the air fryer though. SWMBO uses it for almost everything she fixes for herself. 
 

The biggest disappointment for us was the Insta Pot. Most of the recipes were things I won't eat, and it just seemed like a general pain in the ass to use. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/16/21 8:52 p.m.

The hard boiled egg cooker is awesome.

Put in 6 eggs, and small amount of water, and come back to perfect eggs.

For $15 and we use it All. The. Time.

 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
12/16/21 9:29 p.m.

I'll second the egg cooker. Awesome little machine. 

Next on the list is a vertical rotisserie. We use it fairly often. It's a nice change from baked. 

I also make frequent use of the meat slicer and grinder. Home sliced sandwich meat is so much better than store bought. That goes for sausage and hamburger as well. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/16/21 9:42 p.m.

I used to work with the guy that came up with the Instant Pot. I think things worked out better for him.

The one that surprised us the most was an air fryer that was handed down to us. No, hear me out. My wife loves french fries, but her RA does not and they cause significant inflammation. But if we make them in the air fryer, no problem. The air fryer is her friend because it lets her eat french fries.

Must-have is a set of very good knives that I keep extremely sharp.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
12/16/21 9:53 p.m.
RX Reven' said:

I haven't even had a microwave in 12 years because marriage goes like this...

New microwave = new oven unit = kitchen remodel = house remodel so a bag of popcorn would set me back 75K+

I totally disagree - it's only $45,000.  

 

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