Everyone knows how to outfit the most basic of kitchens; you get a basic set of pots and pans and some dishes from your local cut-rate supermarket, you buy a spatula and a bottle opener, aaand you’re done! The last thing you want is to clutter up your cooking space with a pile of electronic gizmos you’ll never bother using. But which gadgets are really worth buying, and which are better left on the shelf?
A food processor has long been seen as the ultimate useless piece of plastic you’ll spend a heap on but never see any use of. However, if you hate chopping – or simply aren’t excellent at it – or do any baking at all, you’ll find it an indispensable unit. You can use it to make the perfect consistency for shortcrust or shortbread, breadcrumbs simply by chucking some bread into it, and the ideal chopped onions, garlic, and chilli without getting your hands dirty. There is very little you can’t use a food processor for, and if you get one and carefully read the instructions you may well find yourself able to make a lot of dishes that previously presented a problem.
Knife sharpening gadgets rarely if ever perform properly. You are better off taking your knives to be sharpened or purchasing a sharpening steel. The gadgets you see on television are usually flimsy and do not sharpen your knives very well, if at all.
As a very low-budget and low-functionality option if you can’t afford a food processor, a hand mixer is simply indispensable. You can use it to mix and to knead, and if you ever require stiff egg-whites or the perfect mashed potatoes you should not go without in this arena.
The mandolin is often hailed as a great gadget for every cook, but ultimately it is a reasonably dangerous artefact that can cause serious injury and does not work anywhere near as well as expected. Don’t be tempted by lengthy informercials! Leave the mandolin in the shop and simply cut and chop by hand. What you lose in time, you save in physical well-being!
Kitchen gadgets can really help you complete your cooking. But don’t be taken in by absolutely every gadget available; you will do much better with a carefully selected range of properly functioning tools than with a wide array of items that barely work.