Kitchen Gadgets and ParaphernaliaMarya -- Monday, February 10, 2003 -- 01:49:26 AM
For discussion of trivets and salamanders, mortars and pestles, mixers, mashers, mallets, and other kitchen gear, not omitting dishes and table linens.This thread is tagged: shopping, cooking, appliance
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I was toying with buying this cutesy waffle iron, and it occurred to me that I've never owned a waffle iron, and I have no idea whether it's a good one. I know I've seen cast-iron ones that are not non-stick. Can you get a crunchy outside on a waffle with a non-stick waffle iron? Are heart-shaped waffles a less ideal shape than round or square ones? What other considerations are there?
All I know about waffle irons is that my mom had one and never used it because it was too hard to get them right.
Stick/nonstick and difficulty of use issues aside, I can't imagine any reason for a superiority of geometries, so if you want the heart, why not. You can always ebay it later if you hate it.
The dumbest kitchen gadget we have is a Gino's Pizzamaker. It looks kind of like a round electric skillet. And it actually makes awesome pizza. But we never bother because we get so much takeout pizza on nights that we don't want to cook.
Oh, subscribe! I'm a kitchen gadgets slut. I like to go to the store and fondle them all and then go home without any. One day, I will have a kitchen large enough to fit gadgets, and then my life will be complete.
I rid my apartment of gadgets and find I do much more cooking. I did break down once in a moment of weakness and buy a waffle iron and an icecream maker. I've already given the icecream maker away, and while I do use the waffle iron, I don't like having it in the way.
Other than that, they are all gone.
Marya darling, that's a great thread.
I use the ice cream machine quite a lot! The coffee grinder, however, just doesn't get used, ever, but the blender does. And I'd like to say that although we Germans are currently sinking ourselves into international oblivion by our own stupidity, we HAVE made the world a better place by improving on the KitchenAid and designing a whole new food mill for it that works a lot better than the conical original.
Marya, we've had two nonstick waffle irons and we've made crunchy-on-the-outside waffles with both. The trick is just letting them get hot enough in the first place.
First waffle iron - Belgian 2-waffle w/flat plates included for grilled cheese sandwiches. Good, but waffles took forever to bake. Passed on to brother when he moved into new apartment.
Current waffle iron - Black and Decker regular waffle (makes 4 at a time) iron with flat plates included. The iron opens flat so it can be used as a griddle with the flat plates. This one, unlike the first one, has adjustable heat and works wonderfully.
Other gadgets: Cuisinart, 6-quart Kitchen Aid mixer, coffee grinder, blender, Crock-Pot, Braun hand mixer with stick blender and mini-food-processer attachments, and probably something else I'm forgetting. I use everything regularly, though now that I have the KitchenAid slicer/meat grinder/food mill attachments, I may get rid of my Cuisinart.
DH has become a Food Channel junkie, and sees so many recipes for ice cream and sherbet and sorbet that eventually I'll have to try some of them out, and we do have an ice cream machine.
However, I've just about decided that waffles are a good thing to get Out. My mother also had a waffle iron that regularly caused her to lose her temper, and she really didn't need one more thing like that. A few years back I bought a waffle iron for $2 at a church rummage sale, and it was so old that it was made of chrome with a little curlicue pattern on the top and it had a cloth covered cord. It made OK waffles, but honestly, the thing got as red-hot as a $2 pistol and I was always somewhat afraid of it. Eventually I threw it out.
My kitchen is so small I'm not looking to add more gadgets to it, but I have found that if you're going to buy spatulas and non-stick spoons, it's best you go ahead and spend the $10 or so for a really good one that's guaranteed not to melt for a thousand degrees.
My sister gave us our waffle iron sometime around the time we got married, which would make it about 13 years old. It's chrome and is missing a foot, so it has to be propped up on a pan or something. It makes good crunchy waffles after you peel the first one off the grids and throw it away. It has pizzelle plates, which I use every Christmas, and flat griddle plates and pocket-sandwich plates, which I don't think I've ever used.
I use most of my gadgets regularly. My aunt gave me her 11-cup Cuisinart last fall and I use it several times a week. When I got it I threw away the 7-cup Braun with the broken lid, but kept the food processor attachment that goes with the blender, because it's convenient for smaller amounts. And I still have a Black and Decker minichopper that was a bridal shower gift- great for nuts for cookies.
I paid $20 for the deep fryer at a yard sale, and at that price I get sufficient use out of it, though I wouldn't have paid full price. Too early yet to know how much we'll use the ice cream maker we got for Christmas.
I'd trade them all if I had to to keep my KitchenAid, though. I couldn't live without it. The only attachments I have are the food grinder and the juicer, both of which I like but don't use all that often; it's the mixer itself that's indispensable.
Nonelectric stuff would be another whole post. My aunt just gave me a potato ricer, which I'm looking forward to trying because I've read they make great mashed potatoes.
The slight increase in work to mash potatoes with a ricer is worth it.
I have a thing that stirs and heats sauces for you automatically. My mom gave it to me. I've never once used it. It's in the Graveyard of Gadgets over the fridge. We also have a Mickey Mouse waffle maker in the garage somewhere, never used, because I hate Mickey Mouse-shaped things with a passion.
I would, but they're mostly Mr. P's, and he wants them, even if he's never going to use them. Maybe if I find the stupid Mickey Mouse waffler.
Here's one gadget I don't miss: a grain mill. A crunchy, wholefoods roommate of mine took it with her when she moved out. What an amazing work expander that thing was...from buying the whole grains to sweeping up the grist off the floor. All that for some 7 grain bread.
I'm not so much into electric gadgets because they're mostly hard to clean. The only thing out on the counter at present is the coffee maker. The only gadget I really, really want is a kitchen aide stand mixer.
I do love manual gadgets, though. Dishwasher safe manual gadgets. My plastic (silicone?) spatualas that are all spooney, my garlic press, handheld juicer and cheese grater. I love my heavy duty stainless measuring spoons and cups. They're so pretty!!
I bought my brother a waffle iron for Christmas and we've used it every weekend since. The first time we brought out the Joy of Cooking, and whipped the egg whites separately, yada yada yada. The waffles were good, but they took forever to make. Since then, we've cheated and made the Bisquick waffles, and they're not bad at all. Uniform, crispy, tasty. The secret is letting the batter rest for 30 minutes before you use it. It makes them much fluffier.
We have a waffle iron we've used twice, but my husband thinks we should keep it. Same with the Hamilton Beach milkshake machine: we got it for a wedding gift and have used it a handful of times in three years.
I love my titty pink KitchenAid mixer. Also have a KA food processor, Braun Multipractic hand mixer with a bunch of attachments, a Crock-pot, a big shiny Dualit toaster and I think that's all for electrics. Manual gadgets, don't let's start. There aren't enough drawers.
I would love pizzelle plates, which I would probably never use, but I would like the idea of using them. Truly, I want some nice Italian neighbors to bring pizzelles around a couple of times a year. I obviously need to do some further research on what's available in waffle irons, though, from what everyone's saying, although I have a 50-buck Williams-Sonoma gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket. Except for things like cake pans which I now have enough of for a good long while, though, they tend to have absolutely the highest-end version of everything. I asked about a chafing dish there the other day and all they had was a huge silver thing that held two or three gallons of food.