Are kitchen gadgets gonna save the day?

28 Nov

I was hoping that this challenge was going to get easier for me as I went along. I expected to reach some kind of tipping point- a point in time where my antiquated ways of eating every meal in public would become harder to accomplish than simply coming home to my fully-stocked fridge and whipping up a delicious and healthy meal.

This hasn’t happened yet.

I still am exhausted when I get off work, and the last thing I want to do is think about what to make for dinner. I just want to go somewhere, point at a menu, and be done with it. The one high point I have been able to pull from this whole ordeal so far is definitely my bank account: I have over $300 more than I would normally have had at this point in my pay cycle.

However, the fact that I’m not really finding things easier (except on the nights that Meg cooks) got me thinking about the nature of what I specifically don’t like about cooking.

Is it the planning? Not really. If I wanted to think about what would taste good, I could do that. Honestly, what I’ve been doing lately to decide meals has been downright barbaric by comparison: I literally open the cookbook and point. So that I can take care of. Since I don’t really care what I eat, anything should work for me, and it does. I talk a lot of shit about eating things outside my wheelhouse, but most of that is hyperbole: I will eat vegan food, or vegetarian food, or gluten-free food, or a rotten animal carcass like my mom would (and probably has, knowing the constitution of that woman). So it’s not really the planning.

It’s not the eating. I like food. Really, I do! I can appreciate tasty food. I like complex flavors, varied textures, and food that is visually pleasing. I am willing to experiment, too. If we come over to your house to eat dinner, I promise you that I will eat everything on my plate, or at least give it the ‘ol college try.

I've cut pizza with a pair of scissors, but I never thought to patent that shit. Damn. I could've made two hundred dollars!

Cooking, then? No. I like cooking. I think it’s fun running around the kitchen, flames and shit flaring up everywhere, trying to time things correctly so that everything comes together in a competent, if not necessarily impressive, meal. I like seeing other people enjoy my cooking, and I love the way that good food can anchor people to a table for hours, eating and drinking and laughing together. So if I like all these aspects of cooking, what don’t I like? What’s the problem?

It’s the preparation.

I cannot stand chopping up ingredients, measuring rice wine vinegar, peeling potatoes, and whisking eggs. I’m not good at measuring things by eye or feel, which seems to be one of the main ways to save time during this process. I just hate getting things into a state where they are ready to be cooked. I hate washing dishes by hand, since our house doesn’t have a dishwasher. As I write this blog post, sitting on a bus full of dead-eyed nine-to-fivers, the only thing I can think about is how much I hate peeling garlic. My eye just twitched. That’s how much I despise getting garlic out of that tiny fucking skin.

So what am I supposed to do?

I can buy a garlic peeler.

I can pick up a nice set of knives for chopping vegetables quickly. Hell, I could even buy a slap chop, as much as that idea of a slap chop inside my house sickens me. I can buy a ceramic-coated dutch oven, to help cleanup happen that much faster. I can pick up an immersion blender at a garage sale to whisk my eggs for me.

I could even buy a dishwasher. Go fuck yourself, rubber gloves.

I think my plan is pretty ironclad, but I still have questions. Clearly, some gadgets are going to be more important than others. A set of nice kitchen knives? Absolutely. A slap chop? Probably not. Should I invest in a Vita-Mix, so I can powder my dried bull penises more effectively? Or should I keep using my marginally decent blender that sometimes gets stuck while blending ice for smoothies?

This is where you come in, folks. I asked for your help once, and I will ask again. What are indispensable kitchen gadgets? Can’t live without your onion saver? Is the Kitchenaid mixer a lifesaver? Am I being an idiot? Let me know!



10 Responses to “Are kitchen gadgets gonna save the day?”

  1. Liz December 1, 2011 at 1:38 am #

    Don’t diss the Slap Chop! I have a similar gadget & I use it all the time…it’s amazing. You should have seen the garlic & sage I slap chopped this evening. Never has anything been so finely chopped, & in such a short amount of time! A garlic peeler is definitely a must. Apple cutter, if you eat a lot of those. Do you have a crock pot? (Can I borrow it?). Rotisserie Chicken Machine (RCM), duh. I would say prep cups (I enjoy preparing), but it sounds like you need a sous-chef instead of gadgets.

    • learntoloveeatingin December 1, 2011 at 8:59 am #

      Ok. Maybe I shouldn’t dismiss the Slap Chop so easily. I like the idea of it- I think it’s just that squirrel-y little guy that sells them who punched a hooker that’s made me wary.


  2. pisceshanna December 1, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    I like preparing. Especially with a a glass of wine and good music in the background. Its the moment of truth when everything is said and done, the time spent chopping,measuring, cooking, washing, cleaning = me sitting at the table with a huge amount of food and a crying 5-year-old refusing to eat. That makes me not want to cook. EVER AGAIN.

    My apologies for mommyjacking your post.

  3. John Bandy December 1, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I second the Slap-Chop. I love mine! It’s perfect for onion chopping — you can chop and get it out of the way before you start crying.

    And yeah, a good set of knives go a long way.

    Also, flexible cutting boards are in my kitchen gadget repertoire, not that those are gadgets, per se. But it helps to be able to cut/dice/chop whatever, roll up the cutting board with all the crap still in it and dump it in your bowl/pan. So easy!

    • learntoloveeatingin December 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

      I’ve never heard of a flexible cutting board. That sounds like EXACTLY what I’m looking for.

  4. becca December 1, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Okay, so I love my food chopper – especially when I am making salsa, or whatnot.

    A good knife is imperative. As well as the flexible cutting boards. I love them, because you can bend them to accommodate various pots that you are trying to get your chopped goods into! And most importantly, into the CROCK POT.

    I love my kitchen aid mixer, but I could live without it. I’d never make another cookie again though.

    The palm of your hand is amazing for measuring ingredients, If you fold your hand to make a little cup out of your palm, it’s about a teaspoon, a pinch is about a 1/4 tsp. A whole palm full is about ¼ c.

    One of my most favorite gadgets is the oil bottle I made for myself. I took a wine bottle I thought was ‘cute’ and put my cooking oil in it, and top with a liquor pour spout. You can learn easy measurements by using counts… (one one thousand… two one thousand…) About a tablespoon per.

    Fresh garlic is always best, but I do keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge for those days when I ‘don’t wanna’.

  5. rachel December 1, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    crock pot is a must. i have an amazing hand held smoothie maker (we have one almost every morning….no shit). throw frozen strwberries, a banana, some oj and an emergency and wall-la in seconds! and u only have to wash two glasses and the wand. get one today and u will thank me tomorrow. i like my garlic press for garlic and the jar is nice for uber lazy days. oh and our rice cooker/steamer is essential. liz has a kitchen aid and it rocks for baking! if u hate cutting and prepping food, then a chopper gadget seems like an obvoius choice to me. i am out of the loop on as seen on tv items but i say “slap chop” that shit…whatever that means. slap huh??? sure

  6. John Bandy December 1, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Another gadget I use almost daily: the Magic Bullet. It’s not just a sex toy anymore!

    These can be had at CostCo for about $40, I think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: