Thanks for everyone's kind words yesterday. With nice people like you around, I feel better already. I'm sure my tardiness will improve, I've already been feeling better with spring in the air and grass showing in my front yard (it's brown, but it's there nonetheless!)
The kitchen is my territory. Sure, I allow the family to eat there but it's my space and I'm Queen of the Cuisinart. For as much time as I spend there I want to have the proper tools to do my job and though technically one doesn't need more than an open fire and some hot dog sticks having super-cool gadgets makes the difference between merely feeding the crew and creating culinary art.
My kitchen is in the middle of a remodel, nothing but a big hole in the floor, a void in the house and in my life. Consequently I'm thinking about kitchens constantly: what colors I'm going to use, how cool the new cabinets will be, which handle pulls to install--and I'm reflecting on how over the years I've had many kitchen tools that have made me very happy. Here are a few:
A pastry scraper--Scrapes up messy counters, cuts, chops, dices, and divides dough like a dream. It's not just helpful and fun to use (I feel very professional with it in my hand) but you just don't realize how incomplete your life is until you get one. So get one!
A rice cooker--Cooks rice perfectly, keeps it warm and makes me happy in the process. Who says artificial intelligence isn't for real because my rice cooker knows what kind of grain I'm cooking--white or brown--and cooks it perfectly every time. My cooker is a small Zijorushi model that I received as a wedding present nearly 15 years ago and it's still going strong.
A cake stand and cake dome--Nothing sets a dessert apart like putting it on a fancy stand, it's the perfect touch for any treat. If something is under glass it's automatically more desirable than if you had easy access to it: I call it the Phenomenon of The Forbidden. I have a plain ol' Walmart $11 Anchor Glass model that can be inverted to make a punch bowl. Not that I have a need for a punch bowl, but just knowing that I could have a punch bowl should I desire one makes me happy and I love it twice as much because of its duality.
A bread machine--I'd never made a loaf of bread until I got one of these babies and I don't know how mankind progressed beyond the Dark Ages without them.
If you don't have one here's the deal: you put all the ingredients for any kind of bread dough into the bucket, close the lid, set the timer if you wish, push start and come back a few hours later to the smell of fresh-baked bread.
I think the appeal of this appliance is all about the bread: the smell of it baking is magical and it feels so wholesome and comforting. Seeing a beautifully browned loaf on the counter makes me feel so domestic and creative--who says man doesn't live by bread alone? I sure could. Pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, cranberry bread--with a bread machine it's too easy not to make these homemade delicacies.
I use my machine several times a week and have had to replace the buckets on both the first and second models I owned before I eventually wore each out and bought my current model, the Corner Bakery. Of all the models this current one has been the best: the baking times aren't as long as others, it has versatile settings and a bucket deep enough to keep the ingredients from slopping out and burning onto the bottom of the unit.
Do you have a gadget that you could never part with? Where did you get it? Do you avoid the kitchen or is your expertise limited to toast, microwaveable popcorn and cold cereal? (the holy snack trinity around here) Give me an idea of what's in your kitchen as I daydream about my new one about to be installed . . .
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