Most people have the basics for cooking in their kitchen: pots, pans, utensils, and a coffee maker. They probably have a toaster, maybe a blender, and some specialty pans or serving dishes, too. But, those who are really into cooking and entertaining usually have some other fun gadgets and appliances.
In my kitchen, I have quite a few specialty items. Some of them I use all the time and others only see the light of day once or twice a year. But, I like knowing that when I want to cook something special, I will invariably have the right tool for the job.
A bread machine makes it ridiculously easy to make homemade bread. Bread is not that difficult anyway, but a bread machine takes all of the timing and guesswork out of the process. If you use a mix to make your bread (there are some really good mixes on the market, too), it can take less time to get your bread started than it takes me to get the bread machine out of the cupboard where I store it.
Ice cream machine
I admit it. I love ice cream and my Cuisinart ice cream machine is one of the greatest things I’ve ever owned. You can use any ice cream recipe, then place it in the special bowl you pre-freeze. Turn the maker on and it churns the ice cream into a soft frozen treat. You can harden it by putting it in the freezer for an additional jolt of cold. It makes the process simple (especially for those of us who remember the salt, ice, and endless cranking kind of ice cream machine) and enjoyable. I highly recommend it and have given several of these as gifts.
Whip cream maker with chargers
It is a luxury gadget. You pour the cream and a spoonful of powdered sugar into the special thermos-like container, close the lid and insert the charger cartridge. Shake. The container gets icy cold and when you press the button, it outcomes perfectly whipped cream. You can add flavorings to it (liqueur, chocolate syrup) or just use pure cream. Either way, it is a miracle and your guests will enjoy dousing their pie. Also makes a good bridal shower gift.
For anyone who does much cooking or baking, a heavy-duty mixer (such as a professional Kitchen Aid) is a must-have. Once I got one, I couldn’t believe I had gone so long without having one. It is amazing for making cookies, whipping eggs, doing anything that requires a lot of mixing or beating. I still use my hand mixer for some small tasks, but I will always have a heavy-duty mixer in my kitchen from now on.
I love fresh pasta. I have nothing against the dried stuff, but fresh is amazing. So, we have one of the basic, old-fashioned pasta makers. Now, of course, I am coveting one of the electric models.
How many people own a Madeline pan? A ginger grater? Hundreds of cookie cutters? Cookie molds? What about a coconut shredder? I saw that device on a TV show and they said it was only available in India. I immediately started coveting one. Conveniently, a friend of mine took a trip to India and carted the bright orange and metal gizmo back for me. I can’t say I have ever used it, but I love knowing I have it.