Poring over the Williams Sonoma catalog, my heart begins to yearn. Heart-shaped waffle makers, ice cream machines, panini presses… sigh, I love kitchen gadgets. The idea that you can make everything at home, from paninis to creme brulee to pesto is incredibly alluring. Fellow foodies can relate. One trip to Sur La Table and your wallet instantly feels lighter.
But even the fanatics can recognize buys that were not worth their dough.
Many of my friends are building up their kitchens or creating a wedding registry. From my time cooking, here are some ideas on how to stock your kitchen — and some gadgets/appliances to cross off your shopping list.
Get This: Food Processor/Blender
Not That: Blender
Reduce kitchen clutter by getting one appliance that serves two functions rather than two appliances. Cuisinart’s duet food processor/blender lets you create perfect smoothies and margaritas with the blender. With a quick swap of a few parts, you’re ready to make pesto and hummus with the food processor. Cuisinart is the best brand for food processors and their blenders are top notch.
Get This: Vita-Mix Turbo Blender
Not That: Juicer
Although the Vita-Mix is pricey ($350-$400) it is by far the best way to make juice. Rather than separating the pulp from the juice like regular juicers, the Vita-Mix’s powerful blades create silky, nutritious juice that retains all of the fiber and vitamins. Plus, throw in some frozen fruit and yogurt into the Vita-Mix and in a matter of minutes you have the creamiest frozen yogurt you’ve ever tasted. Try doing that with a juicer.
Get This: KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Not That: KitchenAid Hand Mixer
Versatility. The hand mixer can whip egg whites and beat brownie mix, but with the KitchenAid stand mixer, a new world of possibilities opens up to you. You can make pasta dough, pizza dough and bread — oh, the bread. I’m sighing right now just thinking about it. Yes, it’s a significant upgrade, but well worth it.
Get This: Bodum French Press
Not That: Fancy Espresso Machine
Don’t get me wrong, having fresh espresso in the morning is pure luxury. Having an espresso machine, however, is more trouble than its worth. At first, you go through the honeymoon period, lavishing the machine with love as you make your espressos and machiattos every day. Then the problems begin: it’s a hassle to clean, some part begins to malfunction. Soon enough, it’s just a big hunk of plastic and metal relegated to a dark corner in your kitchen. Avoid the pain and frustration with a French Press from Bodum. A few scoops of coffee and some hot water and voila, you have fragrant, rich coffee with none of the bitterness of drip coffee. Clean up is a snap and if it breaks, you’re out $30, not $300+.