I wanted a salad spinner for years but thought it was a one function item and a frivolous purchase, so I resisted buying one. Finally, a couple of years ago, the longing for properly dried romaine grew too intense and I broke down and got a nice Oxo Good Grips Spinner. I have never regretted it. After a quick soak in ice water and a whirl through the spinner, my salad greens are always crisp, fresh and lovely. My dressing always adheres. My herbs are clean and dry. I use the big acrylic bowl for (of course) salad, as well as chips, popcorn, large cold dishes, etc. I sometimes use the inner strainer as a colander. Salad spinner is not a frivolous item, in fact it has become something that I use several times a week for a number of purposes. I was happily wrong.
It makes me wonder about some of the other items on my wishlist of kitchen items I admire, but never buy. These are confronted by two questions: Will I Use It Enough to Justify the Expense and Cabinet/Counter Space? and Does It Cost More Than The Value I Will Get From It? * edit: Wait. Is that the same question asked slightly differently? Ugh, I think it is.*
Maybe you could weigh in. Do any of you own these or similar items and do you think they are worth having if one is on a tight budget and has a small kitchen?
Stand Mixer: I have a small, inexpensive hand mixer, but I covet the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer. Aside from being very expensive, they are also huge, heavy and would take up a lot of prime counter space in my small kitchen. I love to bake, but don't do it as often as I would like to because of my ever expanding waistline. I want to be able to make homemade marshmallows and various other things that take more power than my hand mixer can manage, but... will I do it enough to justify? I don't want an expensive piece of kitchen eye candy. Who has a stand mixer, and how often do you use it?
Fancy Rice Cooker: Everyone in Louisiana should own a rice cooker, right? Except that I make lovely rice on the stove and since I am usually cooking for just two, rarely need to make more than 2 cups at a time. This Japanese beauty, the Zojirushi Micom 3-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer, is expensive at about $125. but the reviews are excellent and a friend, who knows about such things, highly recommends the brand. It has a rice porridge setting. If you haven't noticed from previous blog posts, I'm a little obsessed with rice porridge. I already own a very simple rice cooker which I only break out of the pantry for times when I have company. Do I need to splurge on a fancier version? Probably not, but I can't help but want to.
Hot Water Dispensing Pot: I work from home and drink French pressed coffee in the mornings and green tea in the afternoons. I also use boiling water for miso soup packets and endless other things. Each time, I fill the kettle and wait for it to boil on the stove top. When making tea and coffee, I keep an ear perked from the next room hoping to hear and catch it in that moment just before it actually boils, just before it's ready to whistle, so I can avoid scalding the coffee grinds and tea leaves. I would love to have a dispensing pot such as this one from Zojirushi, that can heat water to a variety of temperatures (140, 175, 195, and 208 degrees F) and keep it there, at the ready, for me to have a nice cup of whatever at any given moment. It seems that it would also be useful when cooking (starting off boiled eggs, supplementing stock when in the last stages of risotto making, thinning a sauce, etc). But again... expensive (about $90) and requires counter space. Worth it? I am strongly compelled to say yes, but then I think... what's the big deal? So I have to wait a few minutes for the kettle to boil? How am I in such a big hurry that I can't wait on a kettle? I'm really not. Anyone have an opinion on this?
Madeleine Sheets: This one really is frivolous, I think. I love madeleines and I know they are easy and most delicious when freshly baked. I have read up on madeleine sheet pans and hear over and over again that it's the metal pans that do the best job. Only problem is... do I really want to spend $20 on something that I absolutely cannot use for anything else? I want so badly to bake Chez Pim's bergamot madeleines. I'm just plain aching for them. Will I bake madeleines 2 or 3 times and then let the pan sit unused in the back of my cabinet? This is a question that only I can answer for myself, I know. *sigh* I'll let you know if I ever decide to go for it.
Your thoughts are welcomed. What items are on your kitchen wishlist?