Things you thought you didn't need but were wrong about, and things you thought you needed but really didn't
Thought I didn't need but was wrong:
Ice cream maker
Things I thought I needed but didn't:
Slap chop (just kidding!!)
Oh one more..
Things I've been on the fence about for a really long time:
Quality bread knife
Quality paring knife
Quality roasting pan
Deep freezer (mine broke)
A cookie sheet that I only use for cookies
re: blue room
Unfortunately the covenants and restrictions of my neighborhood require disposers. The neighborhood is old enough that when this one goes out I may just have the sink re-plumbed with out one. There is a neighborhood assoc. but who is going to come and inspect my plumbing. Our pipe that connects to the disposer becomes clogged every other year and backs up spilling out into the pipe that my washing machine uses for emptying the washer. Garbage everywhere and 2 ruined floors. We have a compost bin, may as well make better use of it.
I got married in the last year, so these are all registry-oriented.
Things I thought I wanted but didn't need: fancy iced drink glasses (sooo impractical), waffle iron, turkey roasting pan, wooden salad bowl set, huge pizza pan, and my stand mixer. I like all of them, I just don't NEED them.
Things I thought I didn't need but definitely do and am glad I got them: rice cooker, double-walled cocktail glasses (amaaaaazing), really good red wine and young white wine glasses, cast iron griddle pan with bacon press, Staub dutch ovens, gorgeous soup and serving bowls.
And OP, if you are on the fence about those things, let me chime in and say you should never regret investing in good knives because they will last a long time. And I strongly advocate for a cookie sheet devoted only to cookies. I like the giant air-bake ones that can fit 24 cookies on at once.
Thought I didn't need but was wrong:
A good ice cream scoop (I kept bending my spoons)
A silicone basting brush
A couple of jelly roll pans with racks dedicated to savory cooking
A couple of jelly roll pans with racks dedicated to baking
All stainless steel serrated steak knives
A hand held digital thermometer including infrared sensor
A wooden spatula
A handheld immersion blender (even better a cordless one)
A balloon whisk and a flat whisk
Things I thought I needed but didn't:
An electric chopper
A big wood chopping board (I use the flexible fiberglass(?) ones)
A deep fat fryer (I use it a couple of times a year)
Ice Cream Maker (haven’t used it in 2 years)
High end (Henckel pro-s) steak knives
Things I’m glad I have:
My All-Clad skillets
Several timers especially the one that hangs around my neck
A digital thermometer with alarm
A garlic press
A good pepper mill
A silicone spatula
“Better than Bouillon” beef and chicken bases
Bottled minced garlic (yeah I know. I have fresh too)
A crock pot for stocks and pulled pork (unfortunately, that’s about it)
re: pine time
It is salty. They do have low sodium versions. My grocery store only has the low sodium in chicken flavor. It is a paste that has been cooked down from meat and bones. You use a teaspoon for every cup of liquid. I usually use it to augment canned stock or broth. It really tastes meaty. It will make a decent gravy with just water and a roux.
There are alternatives. I have been thinking about buying the Minor's soupbases available at www.soupbase.com. You can get them in 16 ounce tubs and in low sodium versions. They are what restaurants use for sauces and gravies.
Both products are expensive but the soupbase products are cheaper if you can use that much of it.
re: pine time
I use this product, both chicken and beef. I cooked black beans for chili in water and a little of the beef flavor.
If I don't have chicken broth, I use a little of the soup base to flavor the water. From time to time I've strengthened my homemade chicken broth with a little of the soup base as well.
Penzey's carries a similar product in a similar jar. They carry multiple flavors, including turkey. I haven't tried them yet, but I imagine they are much the same.
re: pine time
Additional reasons to like Better than Bouillon rather than stock: a) useful for when you want the flavor without the liquid, as in a saute (eg sauteed mushrooms); b) if you don't need a whole can/box worth of broth, you don't then have the leftover going bad in the refrigerator.
Large jar at costco is a good deal.
Things I didn't need but was wrong:
- Waffle Maker - I thought it was not necessary, but I really wanted one and I'm very happy I have it. I don't use it every day, but I do use it at least once a month (sometimes more often).
- Ice Cream Maker - I don't use it often, but when I make ice cream I'm glad I don't have to use my hand mixer
- Rice cooker - I use it to cook other grains as well
I love most of my gadgets even if I don't use them often.
Things I thought I needed but didn't:
- Whipped Cream Maker - I have this can with gas capsules to make whipped cream. Got it from W-S and never used it once.
Thought I didn't need but was wrong:
cast iron griddle
heavy european meat cleaver
Things I thought I needed but didn't:
Set of measuring ladles
4 basket pasta cooker
bird beak paring knife
Her kitchen witch
Still on the fence
Live in a house instead of my boat.
In other words, things which turn out to be more useful vs things which turn out to be fairly useless.
Things I thought I don't need, but like:
Carbon steel wok
Cast iron skillet (despite all the good thing I said about cast iron dutch oven, it was the skillet which started me)
Cast iron Dutch Oven
Carbon steel frying pan
CCK Chinese cleaver/slicer
Carbon steel knives in general
Microplane style grater
Things I thought I needed but not:
stainless steel soap
stainless steel steamers
Calphalon hard anodized wok
a knife set by Tools of Trade
Wilton professional dessert decorator pro
Air insulated cookie sheet
What a fun question!
Things I thought I didn't need but was wrong about:
rice cooker--a friend talked me into it and I am glad
grill/griddle for stovetop. I had a grill pan, got rid of it, then we were given a grill/griddle that straddles two burners. I use it more than I would have thought.
Electric kettle. Had one, gave it up, moved to a new kitchen and decided having one would be good.
Things I thought I needed but was wrong:
pasta machine--though I still have it, and will someday get it out again.
probe thermometer--actually I still need this, but they never work properly for me so I have given up.
Things I am still on the fence about:
Garlic press: put it in the giveaway pile, then got it out, have recently ordered a new one on the theory that if I have a good one it will be useful.
Countertop oven--got one as a gift and haven't used it yet, but not quite sure I won't.
Things I know other people don't need, but to me they seem like necessities:
Interesting - air insulated cookie sheets make it to my "didn't realize I needed it until I got it" list. But that may be because I rarely bake actual cookies, while I frequently make my spicy cheese-olive balls - green olives wrapped in a very rich, spicy cheese dough. The dough is so full of cheese & butter that it used to be a real challenge to get the tops browned before the bottoms burned, but with these insulated sheets it's a snap.
It is possible that I have more or less optimized and perfected my cookie recipes with the regular cookie sheets that air insulated cookie sheets made them worse. Maybe if I re-optimize my baking temperature and time, then I can find a condition which works with the insulated cookie sheets. As of now, they don't work for me.
Things I Thought I Didn't Need, that I Needed:
Fine Mesh Strainer
Pyrex mixing bowls (makes prepping great)
Vegetable peeler (actually better than a paring knife)
Mini Food Processor
Things I Don't Actually Need, that I Thought I Needed:
Mini rolling pin (why??)
Things I'm on the Fence About Buying:
Quality roasting pan
White wine glasses and champagne flutes
Garlic press (I feel like it's wrong, but I've seen Julia Child use one)
It's hard to answer, because I've been cooking seriously for 25+ years now, and a lot of what I thought i wanted, but found out I didn't, is long gone and forgotten. But I can still come up with a few.
Thought I didn't need, but I did:
A big electric griddle, so I can cook many pancakes all at once. That's all I use it for, but it makes such a difference, it's worth it.
A good cutting board (wood, edge grain) that is smaller. Not an issue if you can leave your big board out all the time, but I have cats, so my big board is stowed in a cabinet. If all I'm chopping is a couple jalapenos and a clove of garlic, it's overkill. I like having a small board of the same quality for small jobs.
Breville convection toaster oven... oh, man... one of the best things I ever bought. I use this more than my wall oven. It cooks just as well, or better. Anything I can possibly fit in it, gets cooked in it. Roast chicken, rack of lamb. I will not be without one of these. The big oven, on the other hand, it could go!
A meat cleaver. I realized I'd backed myself into a wall with my nice, thin Japanese knives. I needed to chop through a bone, and realized I didn't really have a knife for the job. I love thin knives for cutting veggies and slicing boneless meat, but sometimes you need something more substantial.
Things I thought I needed, but I didn't:
A mandoline. If you are good with a knife, you won't use it. I never do. And for some reason I have TWO! What was I thinking?
Nonstick cookware - this is one of the things I thought I needed twenty-odd years ago. Mine is long gone. Completely unnecessary, once you learn how to cook. And yes, I mean unnecessary for omelets, scrambled eggs, fish, etc.
A food processor - I have one, and I'm going to keep it, but I could really live without it. Everything I do in it, I have another way to do.
Things I thought I needed, and was right:
Good knives, but that doesn't always mean expensive knives. It means the right knife for the job.
And a way to sharpen knives myself. I use an Edge-Pro. There are other ways, but I think every cook needs to figure this out.
A good cutting board (or two or three).
A splatter screen to put over a skillet when frying.
Ventilation that vents to the outside, instead of just filtering and blowing back into the room. Boggles my mind that most houses these days do not have this.
Comments on some of your on the fence items:
On the knives, depends on what you mean by quality. A bread knife is not one I would spend a lot on. A Forschner bread knife is plenty good. The paring knife, go ahead and get a nice one.
The roasting pan? Not worth it. You really don't need a fancy pan for roasting. Save your money for pans you use on the stove. You do want a real pan for roasting, but an All-Clad roaster (which I have) is not really worth it, IMHO. Note that most of the time, you will want to roast in a fairly small pan.
A freezer - yes, I think it's worthwhile, but it depends upon your cooking style.
The cookie sheet for cookies only? No. Put parchment down on a half sheet pan. Unless you are crazy about cookies. Those insulated cookie sheets. No way. Ick.
I like this question!! Heres mine:
Things I thought I wouldnt need but do:
spice/coffee grinder (cant believe this hasnt been mentioned yet!!)
stand mixer (with pasta attachments)
good non-stick pans
quality tupperwares (i do a lot of eating on the go)
things I thought id need, but dont really:
ice cream machine
pasta drying racks
pizza stone (i have switched to just using a heavy jelly roll pan turned upside down)
things i dont use often, but when i do, i'm so glad i have them:
food processor (homemade nut butters alone keep this off the dont need list)
I have to have my ice cream maker. It is a Cuisinart with its own compressor. Homemade coffee IC cannot be beat. Recently made Mocha Ice Cream with Guatemalan Antigua beans and Taza Chocolate extract with Mexican spices. OMG! Thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Store bought coffee IC cannot compare in any way . The producers use the cheapest beans they can get. It cannot begin to compare. Hmmm maybe I'll put some beans on to steep to make more tomorrow.
wanted but didn't need:
pasta mill (really a rolling pin and a knife gets you the same, it just takes more time)
full set of cheap knives vs. a few great ones
toaster oven (sometimes handy but too much counter real estate required)
things I'm glad I did:
a roasting pan with a rack
a few really good knives
and buying a decanter and good olive oil by the 3L can at a time instead of those poky 16 oz things
Sure, I'll weigh in on it. For me at least, it isn't that the rice cooker makes better rice than I do. It doesn't. The appeal is strictly that it can be left unattended, and it cooks the rice, and then keeps it warm. When I do stir fries, I cook on an outdoor burner. I don't want to leave a pot of rice unattended on the stove while I'm outside. Also, it means I can set the thing up in the morning before work, and come home to hot rice already made. If I get home late and hungry, I don't have to wait. It's also great for steel-cut oatmeal, and stone-ground grits. Set it up the night before, and they are ready and waiting in the morning. Stone-ground grits take a long time to cook, so being able to cook them overnight is a big plus if I'm going to be in a hurry in the morning. All of these things are better on the stove, but the fact is, I just wouldn't be able to have them as often due to time constraints.
That's pretty much my position. I do know how to make rice--better than the rice cooker. But with the rice cooker I can put it on early and it takes care of itself, so I don't suddenly realize I've forgotten to start the rice. And I like it for brown rice and blends that take longer than ordinary white rice (which in my family's tradition cooks for 14 minutes.) The rice cooker eliminates the "we're waiting on the rice" side of things. Of course better organization on my part would have eliminated that just as effectively, and I realize that. So it's a luxury, but not a terribly expensive one, and I do have room for it.
rice? me? I'm hopeless, it's either crunchy or it's mush. while I don't flail about the kitchen with my hair on fire over other things I can set it and go worry about whatever instead and it is consistent with no pan burn. it is a soothing 'one last thing to stress over' item (and it only takes up 9x9" or something like 20x20 cm) but rice I never get rice just right. (dunce)
I have a rice cooker, and I've sworn by it since I've had it. I mainly wanted to do brown rice with a minimum of fuss. It turns out that the rice cooker does white rice superbly, and brown adequately. I now do brown rice in the pressure cooker, and that is the best brown rice I've ever made. And as a bonus, you get this lovely broth as well.
There are many ways to cook white rice. I've done it on the stove in a covered skillet, and in the microwave in a lidded casserole. Some microwave ovens have a rice cycle--the Japanese micros anyway.
Cooking brown rice is time consuming. I've seen instructions for baking brown rice, but my preference is for not heating up the kitchen for a vessel of brown rice. You can cook it for 40 minutes on the stove. You can use a rice cooker, which takes about an hour, but is idiot proof. Or, as I have discovered, you can use a pressure cooker.
I don't think you need a rice cooker unless you have a problem cooking rice with other methods. But they can be very handy to have if you cook rice often.
re: Hank Hanover
It depends on what you want out of your cooker. If the cooker does what you want it to, then it is the cooker for you. I bought a fuzzy logic because I wanted to be able to cook brown rice.
I recommend perusing this book before buying:
The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger. Her cookbooks are very thorough and you can get a sense of what different sorts of cookers can do. Perhaps your library owns a copy, or you might be able to put your hand on a copy at Barnes and Noble or other large bookstore.
We have just moved from a big US kitchen to a small Hong Kong kitchen for a year, so I have been thinking seriously about this question:
Things that I thought I would not need, but I did:
1. salad spinner
2. immersion blender
Things that I thought I would need but I don't:
3. oven (I have a very smal table top one here)
4. dishwasher (I actually love doing dishes...go figure!)
Things that I felt a bit silly packing in my limited (two bag) luggage, but I am sure glad that I did:
2. wooden reamer for citrus
3. good knives
I'm suprized the stand mixer rater so low, now that I have one I don't know how I didn't get one years ago, I used to dread making hamburgers or meatloaf as the cold meat would render my hands useless for a 15min after mixing by hand , now just drop in the KA, mixed better than by hand , same goes for sausage meat.
Thought I didn't need, but was wrong:
multiple iron skillets
cast iron grill pan
my 2 Due Buoi spatulas
over the sink mesh strainer
Things I thought I needed but didn't
multiple cutting blades for my food processor
3 wooden salad bowls
set of wooden spoons
silicone steamer insert
electric skillet--a long, long time ago
Things I've been on the fence about for a very long time
new set of white china
+ one on the white china! For years I thought I would get some to replace our everyday dishes (which my parents bought on their honeymoon in 1956. I liked the idea of white dishes that could be changed up with different linens and serving pieces. But somehow it never happened, and I'm not sure I'm even on the fence any more. I may have gotten over the white china idea.
I got the cream stuff that was at Wal-Mart a couple of hears ago during the holidays. It matches lots of the antique/old cream dishes I already have. they aren't china, but they sure are nice to mix and match with the other stuff, like our wedding "china" (Denby stonewear). It was really inexpensive, too.
re: hill food
I've thought of that. I have a mixed bag of white china serving pieces bought second hand and at antiquey stores. That's why I would like a set of plain white, for when I use the serving dishes.
But any china ware I buy has to be able to go into the dishwasher. So, I won't be buying older china, as much as I'm drawn to it.
yeah, but if it's thrift store who cares? go all Zorba the Greek after dinner and fling them at the wall!
I picked up 2 different sets of 6 bowls each last month for $4.11 at the Goodwill outlet in STL (old Famous-B warehouse by I-40 and I only mention that as sue is near there). granted I had to poke around the bins, but at that price point...goodbye paper plates.
re: hill food
Mom got it for me as a present. It was cheap, and it has a raised dot design that complements the Denby stonewear. I also have a bunch of stonewear, divided cafeteria plates. I'm not really allowed to come home with more thrift store/flea market/rummage sale dishes. Ran out of room to store them.
My wife made me promise not to bring home anything form a garage sale if i couldn't tell her what I was going to do with it."But it was such a good deal" wasn't good enough. That has saved me many times.
I got a really nice set (8 place settings plus some serving dishes) of semi-collectable Bavarian china off Craigslist for $85.
My husband insisted and even though I thought it was silly, I went along with getting an instant hot water dispenser for our sink. I mean, I own a kettle and a microwave...I can heat water. The thing broke after three years or so, and the week it took to get it replaced included a whole lot of me whining "why do I have to wait four minutes for hot water!?" Best thing ever.
Love our waffle iron and it gets a lot of use.
I wanted a mandolin...and I wanted a good one, not a cheap version. Finally took the 150 buck plunge and...ick. hated using it. even with the guard, I was afraid of chopping off a finger...though it didn't really slice all that well (even after getting it replaced twice thinking the blade was dull.) My knife skills are decent, but way better than using that finger guillotine.
Zojirushi's hot water boiler is also at the top of my list of things I didn't think I need but I did. My husband insisted too - now I couldn't live without it. My other ones are a salad spinner (only a necessity if you have a garden or buy at the farmer's markets), chopsticks, and that cheapo spatula my old roommate left behind.
Things I didn't need: Convection oven.
Things I probably should get, but live well without: Garlic press, food processsor. Stand mixer would probably go on the list too, except I have one - I use it but probably don't REALLY need it.
I guess I'm jsut amazed at what's on the lists and how so many products are on both sides of the lists. Obviously there is alot of variation in what different people cook and that determines what items are must haves and which ones you could do without.
My wife loves to bake, she could never survive without her stand mixer, but that's really the only thing it's used for. I grew up using a mandoline abd it just seems like a natural part of a kitchen to me, but then I'm not that good with a knife if I have to slice a lot of vegies, besides, I'm one of those people who love uniformity, and what better way to get all your zuccini disks the same thickness. We didn't have an enameled cast iron cocotte for decades, and I can't for the life of me figure out how we did without one, it's one of my most used kitchen items.
There's a bunch of stuff we have that rarely gets used, the Icecream maker has got to top the list, we have two, one for inside and one for outside use. The blender doesn't get used much either, nor does the food processor.
I have already replied but I had some additional thoughts.
I had a cheapie food processor that got used a couple of times a year. I finally ordered a good one and I have started baking so we we will see if I use it ore often.
I like my food scale but I am kinda anal about dividing things equally so a scale is how I put the same amount of batter in each cake pan or make meat balls uniform or even make sausage medallions uniform.
I hadn't thought of an egg slicer and they are nice to have.
I haven't gone with a rice cooker but I have always thought they were silly. I can cook rice in a pan. Perhaps I will have to reconsider.
I think everyone has an insulated cookie pan that they never use.
I keep meaning to make a hacked version of a crock pot with a digital thermo controller so I could just set the thing at 195° F and leave it there. The modern ones go up to 325° F.
I wouldn't mind getting a heavy cleaver sometime.
Used more than expected:
Hankotsu (Japanese boning knife - great for chicken esp)
Slow cooker (my primary vessel for cooking sous vide)
Used less than expected:
Bread knife (only a few times a year)
Grill pan (gets used every once in a while as designed, but OTOH flipped over it's my best option for making neopolitan pizza at home in the oven)
Drip coffee maker (I've moved on to nerdier methods)
Hand mixer (never use it since I got the immersion blender)
Blow torch (good for brulee'd desserts, but I imagined I'd use it more for browning meats)
On the fence about buying:
Left handed yanagiba (sushi knife) or usuba (vegetable knife)
Chinois (cheap fine mesh strainer and cheese cloth work pretty well)
Nicer tongs (mine are the $2 wire tongs your mom used to have)
Full-size food processor (I have a very small one, and I use my knives reasonably well)
Dehydrator (you can do a lot in an oven on the lowest setting.. but not everything)
tongs - if you can find the kind that have thermo hand grips and a spring-loaded clasp with a quick hip-bump release at the hinge?...
mmmmm, you'll feel like a wild west gunslinger wielding those babies. grilling and frying will never be the same. the ones you describe are fine. but the ease and fun factor are escalated (albeit in a purely self-satisfying way) they are to regular tongs what a switchblade is to a Scout knife.
Popular items I don't have but WILL NOT buy because I'm pretty sure I won't use em:
- Enameled CI pots of any sort
- Copper cookware (okay, I'd use it if i had it, but it's too expensive and not that much better than what I already have)
- Toaster oven
- Double boiler (a bowl works fine)
- Dedicated steamer (lots of ways to steam things without buying a specialized pot)
- Pretty much anything I've ever seen on an infomercial
- A wok (I don't have burner that I could use it properly on; maybe someday)
- Kitchen shears (can't do anything I don't already do with my knives, regular scissors work for cutting nori)
- Electric knife
- Serrated tomato knife (I barely use the only serrated knife I have)
- Egg slicer
Things I didn't think I needed, but did:
Rice cooker (love not having to watch it and just let it sit until I am ready)
Immersion blender - so handy for cream soups and other dishes from time to time. One without electrical tape all down cord to cover burnt patches from hot stove burner would be good.
Smaller collander - use it to wash rice or to strain things, easy to clean and doesn't fill up the sink.
Good quality large wooden pepper mill - possibly stolen from the Loose Moose in kingston after a night of too much drinking many many years back.
Kitchen tongs - can do everything and anything with these. Learned that from working in restaurants years back. Just the cheap ones, nothing fancy required.
Things I don't need:
Wafflemaker - what a waste of space. Been years.
Magic Bullet - a Xmas gift years back. Never used.
Digital wireless oven thermometer - useless, batteries all corroded when I took it out one year for a turkey.
Coffee Grinder - too much work, too little benefit.
Mortar and Pestle - kind of on fence, sure I will use it for something other then smushing mint for mohitos.
Popover pans - had to have them, drove all over the city and paid $30 for a six cup rack. Used twice. Very good popovers though.
Oven Mitts. Take up too much space, dishtowels work just as well for me. Odd fire aside.
Cast Iron Skillet that I have moved around from house to house. Can't bring myself to throw it out but doesn't look clean enough to cook in anymore.
Kitchen Canisters - does anyone still have these? Flour, Sugar, Tea and one for junk bits and parts.
More coookie sheets, one which I swear will only be for cookies and won't look like something from Chernobyl.
Giant sized French White casserole dish. Only fits in the basement.
Paninni Grill - fun for a month or two, then to the top back shelf to die.
More then one good quality cutting board
Mini handheld vacuum
Veggie steamer basket insert
Double boiler pan that always comes with the set
Pampered Chef "food gun" with various attachments. To much space for fancy devilled eggs twice a year.
Things I want:
Individual oven safe serving dishes (like French Onion Soup bowls) or individual casserole dishes for dinner parties. Always seems too much of an impulse buy for something that I won't use that often, but want them.
One of the fancy cast iron colourful oven casserole dishes, the French name. Maybe from Winners someday.
Things I can't believe they sell and people buy:
Hotdog and bun steaming machine.
Slushie Drink Machine / Margarita Maker
electric pizza maker
Cotton Candy Maker
I coiuld go on and on, just take a stroll through a department store kitchen section, or sorse, a Home Sense or big box retailer like Linens and Things.
yeah and just 'cause the outside SAYS flour/sugar/coffee/tea doesn't mean that's what has to be in there.
and to matt downstream - I also got a kick out of some items on the same list. and I think I can say I have never used a glue gun or a vacuum in any cooking procedure. YMMV.
In the Things I can't believe they sell and people buy category, you forgot a s'mores maker, the quintessential useless object.
Not sure I have canisters but I do have some clear plastic snap lock containers in my pantry that I store flour, sugar, rice, breakfast cereal, and noodles in. If I was to put them side by side on the counter, they would look a lot like a set of canisters.
Don't give up on that cast iron skillet. A small amount of TLC and you will have a great pan for life. I swear by my cast iron skillets. I miss them here (Hong Kong) where all I have are lightweight pans and a fairly good wok. I have learned that the common (in Asia) counter-top double burners that are powered by propane tank outdoors are fantastic in terms of high heat and for the first time in my life, I can actually use a wok the way it is meant to be used in my home kitchen.
Thought I didn't need:
Cast iron skillet(s)
Enameled cast iron dutch oven(s)
Mortar and pestle
Weird little rubber square that you use to grip and open tight jar lids
Turns out I didn't need:
Wooden salad bowl(s) and utensils
BBQ grill fork
Things I should use more but don't because I hate cleaning and/or dragging them out:
Broiler in oven (by the way, I don't know how my mom managed to cook most of our meat on the broiler at home without having kitchen tongs)
Useless: pasta machine maker, fondue maker set, Calphalon anodized cookware, donut maker
Most Useful: cast iron and carbon steel pans, Vitamix, Henckel knives, ice cream maker, slow cooker
Underutilized: pressure cooker, enamel Dutch oven, food processor, mandoline, bread machine, wok
GE Double oven range with high power burners makes cooking faster.
it seems like everyone should trade - some like the air bake cookie sheets, others put it in the "could live without" category --- funny. thought i didn't need but now i like good nonstick pan really good tongs thought i would like but never use slow cooker (got rid of it) Cuisineart griddle/panini press thermal bodum (coffee press) - it's hard to clean out w/o using a lot of water and then pouring the mess down the drain (clogs) those graters that look like woodworking tool -- from Sur La Table - have two but never used.
can't live without an ages old collection of various picardie glassware - i think originally from wm-sonoma in the 80's. toaster (just a plain pop-up toaster melita filter cone coffee maker (i boil the water, pour thru the cone) an ancient robot coupe food processor stick blender hand mixer good knives good thermometers zyliss cheese grater (i have one specifically for nutmeg) box grater good saucepans - but i have way more than i'd ever be able to use good roast pan vintage pyrex fridge dishes (covered, for storage) large maple cutting board (the type with a "moat" around edge to gather juices from roast etc. balloon whisk - a good big one. a set of three pyrex measure jugs a set of metal dry measures a set of measure spoons silicone spatulas (the type that you mix with, not a "lifter" - with metal handles - go in dishwasher) a good dishwasher a kitchen sink with built-in drain board on the side colanders lettuce spinner warming oven microwave a decent fridge
i have a really good hand rotary egg beater that i bought from a mennonite or some such source where electricity is not used in the homes - it cost a lot but gee this thing is worth it --- it is used for whipping cream etc instead of the wasteful gas-bomb type of whip cream dispenser - from europe, name like Zia or something - i have but never use it.
Thought I Needed but Did Not:
Mortar and Pestle
Things I Thought I Didn't Need but Did:
2nd (bigger) slow cooker
a second pair of spring-loaded tongs
Things I Knew I Didn't Need and Were on the "Forbidden List" When DW and I Got Married:
Electric can opener
Anything related to Elvis
Things you would have to pry from my cold dead hands:
Blendtec blender - powerful, easy to clean, versitile - use it every day
Wusthof knife set
LeCreuset pots: braiser + 3.5 qt and 7.25 qt
All Clad 1 qt & 2 qt sauciers
12" cast iron skillet (passed down from my Mom)
Things I thought I would use more:
Cuisinart food processor (my blender does nearly everything the FP used to do)
Fancy All Clad Roaster - it's good, just don't use it that often
Rotary cheese grater
On the Fence:
Zojirushi rice maker - I know it is good, but I make good rice now
Thought I didn't need but was wrong:
Pressure cooker (more about this in a sec)
Good quality knives
Ice cream maker
Couldn't live without:
Things I've bought, used once, and given away:
Things I could live without:
Electric skillet (a gift)
Electric hot pot (another gift)
More about the pressure cooker: Friends gave this to us a couple of months ago because they'd bought one for themselves and realized how great it was. I would have never, ever, ever bought one for myself, and I thought I've never use it - but the first time I did, I was hooked! So much flavor in so little time!!!
Things I really appreciate that weren't on my first list of must haves:
Cast iron pans
Good knives (have a great Shun collection and can't believe I used junk for so long)
Good dish towels
Wall pot rack!!
Things I thought I needed but haven't proven that useful:
Sauce pans (much prefer the sauciers I have)
Food processor (very embarrassed that it's still in its box unused after more than a year)
Air cookie sheets (granted, I'm trying to use them for roasting which is the wrong use)
Things I could probably live without but appreciate having:
Ice cream maker
Stuff I returned or wish I hadn't bought:
Fry pan (returned, constantly flipped food out of it!)
Deep sauce pans
Orange squeezer, handheld
Stuff I still need:
End grain cutting board
On the fence about:
2-2.5 qt ECI french oven
Breville Smart Oven
never needed a rice cooker, my garage freezer burned out a number of years ago and I do really need to replace it. Decided that the LC yellow tagine was gorgeous but a lot of Morrocans use pressure cookers of which I already have 2. I usually use 1/2 sheet pans lined with parchment for cookies and many other things, I do have 2 insulated cookie sheets but rarely use them. Being in the cookware business makes me give a lot of thought to what I might buy for my own kitchen
Things I thought I needed but didn't:
Meat mincer/grinder attachment for my Kenwood Chef - useless
Smoothie maker - I enjoy eating fruit (their individual flavours and textures) so not sure why I bought something that ruins that.
Santoku knife - Already had a chef's knife that does exactly the same thing.
Things I thought I didn't need but I did:
nothing at all. I buy things as I go along and when need arises and I have also curbed to nil my impulse buying or buying whilst under the influence of hype created in forums.
Things I'm sitting on the fence about:
I never sit on a fence. That is dangerous to life because you may fall like Humpty Dumpty or you may get impaled in an uncomfortable place by a fence pole. Aside from those it would have to be a damn sturdy fence to hold me without collapsing. :)
Thought I didn't need but was wrong:
Electric knife (really!!)
Potato ricer (used more for spinach than potatoes)
Ceramic ginger grater
Pizza cutting wheel
Things I thought I needed/wanted but should have left the store without them:
Grain mill attachment for stand mixer
Rice cooker (hated the rice crust at the bottom and foamy spill-over at the top, yuck)
Scanpan skillet (size is nice though)
Black & Decker mini-food processor
Things I thought I didn't need but was wrong:
Santoku knife with cover - use it every day
Kitchen shears - I use it for everything, makes my prep work so quick
Rice cooker - I can't make rice to save my life
All in one steamer, fryer, slow cooker - Got this as a wedding present a decade ago and never used the deep fryer in the closet. This thing is perfect.
Tongs - I grew up using a turner but culinary school changed that habit.
Toaster oven - Also an every day item
Things I thought I needed but don't use:
Cast Iron skillets - too heavy and my husband doesn't clean them properly
On the fence:
Cookie only Cookie sheet
+1 on the rice cooker and deep fryer. Took me thirty years to decide to get both, and I don't know why I waited. I guess I was using pots for both, and was managing just fine ...enough.
"Need" is a difficult word for me when it comes to anything in the kitchen. All I really NEED is a campfire and a stick to cook with so I won't burn my fingers. That said, I do have a fully equipped (and then some, because I CANNOT get rid of anything "kitchen"), so let me phrase things a little differently.
THINGS I HAD A REALLY HARD TIME GETTING MYSELF TO PLUNK DOWN THE MONEY FOR, BUT I'M SOOOOO GLAD I DID!
Jura Capresso super automatic espresso machine. Who knew I could get this damned addicted to crema???
My kitchen torch. I thought it was frou frou. Hey, it turns out I'm frou frou too...!
THINGS I BOUGHT THAT I WAS PRETTY SURE I WOULD USE A LOT, AND I DO!!!
Cuisinart Smart Stick cordless immersion blender. Look, Ma, NO CORD!!! Love it.
Max Burton induction hot plate. WOW! It's money that stays in my pocket instead of going to the electric company!
StirChef... My magic gadget that attaches to a sauce pan and stirs the contents. Which means even arthritic hands cam make risotto...!!! YAY, StirChef!
THE DUMBEST THINGS I EVER BOUGHT:
Pasta machine. I paid two hundred 1975 dollars for it. That's $854.33 in 2012 money! That's how much it cost me to find out I do not like fresh pasta!
Then there's the silly plastic thingie that turns hard boiled eggs into CUBES! But I don't resent it nearly as much as I resent the silly damned pasta machine.
THE DUMBEST THING I'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN:
CorningWare Microwave Steak Broiler. Pyroceram glass with metal bits embedded in it that you heated in the microwave for 20 MINUTES, then took it out and dropped steaks onto its surface and God help you if you had a smoke alarm! STUPID!
THINGS I THOUGHT I WOULD USE A LOT MORE THAN I DO, BUT I'M STILL GLAD I HAVE THEM:
Sous Vide Supreme. I thought I would sous vide everything. Turns out that not everything is all that great when sous vied (new verb!). But there is no better way on planet earth to cook a steak or soft boil an egg!!!!
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I do love it and it's not new, by any means. But I don't use it that much any more because I used it primarily for making breads and other baked goods, and that's all stuff that packs on the pounds. Especially when you live alone. But I'm glad it's there just in case I decide I'm sick of store bought English muffins...!
I'm sure I have a very large collection of things that would fit in this category. Truth is when you need a specific tool to do a specific job, nothing else will work. So I'm really glad I have all of those things I only use once or twice a year. When they come out to help, it's like an old friend helping out. Wouldn't trade 'em for anything.
Belgian Waffle Iron. I made up my own recipe, and my Belgian waffles turn out like crispy clouds. Eggos are dreck! '-)
THINGS I DON'T HAVE ANYMORE BUT WISH I DID!
Ceiling pot rack in my kitchen. I was never without one for over thirty years, but there is no room for one in this house because I have a HUGE hood over the island cook top. I love my island cook top because it means I can see the people I'm talking to while I cook, but... If I still had one, I'd have at least two full cupboards and a drawer to use for other kitcheny thingamajiggies! Who doesn't need that???
Potato Ricer. In a moment of extee largesse, I gave it to my daughter. She doesn't use it.
THINGS I'M GLAD I DIDN'T BUY
A rice cooker. I don't need more carbs in my life!
A crock pot. No. Wait. I have one. Well, it also works as a deep fryer and a fast cooker as well as slow. But it hasn't gotten out of the pantry in years!
re: al b. darned
Here you go: http://tinyurl.com/6nutkab
I received mine as a wedding present when I married the first time in 1955. Through the years I have lost the lid (but I have a glass one the fits just fine!), as well as the removable handle to the French fry basket, but other than that it is in excellent working order. The problem for me now is that it is heavier than my poor old hands can readily handle, but...! If I ever find a housekeeper as interested in cooking as I am, I'm ready! It's about as easy to clean as many of today's deep fat fryers, except as I remember, it has a better recovery time. The cooking surface/pot is permanently joined to the body of the unit, and that makes it a bit of a chore to clean, but not impossible. It makes great French fries, donuts, pot roast, Irish stew, chicken and dumplings, soups. but it is -- alas! -- truly useless for making waffles or panini. It functions perfectly as a crock pot, it just doesn't have a removable crock! I suspect it would work as a pretty darn good rice cooker too, but as I said in my post you're responding to, I do NOT need more carbs in my life...!!! '-)
Here 'tis again, Sharon: http://tinyurl.com/6nutkab
I have one exactly like this, and I HAVE used it as a crock pot, even if it doesn't have a crock, and I've also used it as a deep fat fryer. It's designed to multi-task. Not many companies are willing to sell you one thing that does many jobs these days. They want to sell you many things that only do one thing. It's a counter top real estate war!
Sunbeam claimed that the CF5 could be set to cook anywhere from a simmer to 425F. I think we can't buy such versatility today because of the liability: I can imagine someone set a CF5 to cook at 425F for 8 hours, burned down the house, then sued Sunbeam... "Litigation Nation" (f.k.a. USA).
If U.S. manufacturers believe that (I don't think they do), then how far can we be from stoves with burners that only achieve one temperature each? I think it's more about getting you to buy more things than fears regarding consumer safety. If that was the case, we couldn't buy knives!
A number of years ago I bought a fuzzy logic rice cooker. It works well, but I really don't need it. I almost never eat rice any more, especially as a separate side dish. Early on, I did get some use out of it, but I haven't gotten my money's worth, I'm afraid.