Peacock Dreams

Is it a joke or a concept?

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Taken from everybody...
Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don't use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

I wonder how many pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, meat thermometers, jam funnels, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, ice cream makers, fondue sets, healthy-grills, home smokers, tempura sets, tortilla presses, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, food processors, bacon presses, bacon slicers, mouli mills, cake testers, pestle-and-mortars, and sets of kebab skewers languish dustily at the back of the nation's cupboards.

Generally speaking, I don't buy gear that I'm not going to use, so if it's in my cupboards or on my countertop, it's going to see a lot of use. When I think something is overly specialized and I can perform the same function myself with something I already have (like an egg separator, or a double-boiler), then I don't bother buying it. I stone cherries by hand, I use a bamboo skewer to test a cake for doneness, and I cook rice on the stovetop.

One of my very favorite and most frequently used gadgets isn't listed here, though: an immersion blender. Mine has different attachments, has worked like a beast for a long time without ever once balking, and makes almost everything easier, from whipped cream to pureed soups to salad dressing and beyond. It's the single tool I would most recommend for a tiny kitchen, because it does a lot with a little and takes up so little space.

Of the rest of the list, I have to say that I'd love a tagine. I have a recipe for a lamb tagine that is massively time-consuming to do properly and yet worth every single second of the fussing. I make it in a dutch oven now, but to actually make it in the vessel it was designed for would be a treat...

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Can't resist this, I love kitchen equipment but I do agree that if you have a specialist gadget, it needs to be something that actually does the job better than anything else you happen to have in the drawer!

I have a neat little Italian gadget whose name I don't know but which is designed for pitting olives (which it does brilliantly) and also works beautifully on cherries. It's a strip of stainless steel in a narrow 'U' shape with a little cup at one end with a hole in the bottom, where you sit the fruit, and a blunt spike on the other end which goes down through the fruit when you squeeze the gadget, and pushes the stone out through the hole at the bottom of the cup. Pure genius.

Otherwise I'm like you - test for done-ness with an ordinary skewer or by tapping on the tin to see whether it sounds hollow or soggy.

And wouldn't be without my ancient but very accurate set of kitchen scales handed down from my mother-in-law, proper scales with a beam and a pan and sets of brass weights with a patina that comes from much handling, the sort that let you make those Victorian recipes that start 'take two eggs and their weight in butter, sugar, flour...'

OK, let's look at your list.

Ah. I am an LJ idiot and have no idea how to do formatting in comments and can't face putting in the coding for each word by hand, so...

Still have and use regularly:
blenders, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese boards, cheese knives,griddle pans, jam funnels, garlic crushers, tea strainers, piping bags, pressure cookers, electric whisks, cherry stoners, sugar thermometers, pestle-and-mortars, and sets of kebab skewers

Have and don't use:
filleting knives, cookie presses (too scared of the first, too impatient for the second and hate cleaning the darn thing)

Had but got rid of:
bamboo steamers, mouli mills (the first were 25 years old and growing things on them, the second was great when DS was a baby but I hated cleaning it)

If I ever had a pasta machine I'd probably use it for processing polymer clay and not for food at all. (My pressure cooker was bought for steam-fixing silk dyes, although it's very useful for making marmalade too.) And we sometimes think about a bread maker but I love the therapeutic feeling of making dough by hand...

My real weakness is crockery, though. I love all those little matching teapots, sugar basins, jam dishes, serving plates, cups, saucers... DS asked a very pertinent question the other day that I think tells you all you need to know about my relationship to my teasets: 'mum, do we really need NINE milk jugs?'

Okay, if I had a pitting gadget like that, I probably wouldn't be staining my fingers doing it by hand. It sounds genius! I'm all for a really brilliant gadget, as long as I can use it. (And I definitely use enough olives and cherries to justify that. *g* Not together, obviously.) You're very right about the scales, too. They're not as commonplace as they should be over here, but they're wonderfully useful, especially when you're baking.

Ooh, I'm a sucker for good crockery, too. I have a slightly embarrassing amount of old china sets and vintage things that I've inherited or found here and there.

I am incredibly intrigued at your alternative uses for pasta machines and pressure cookers! Now that's creativity. And to think, I only use my pressure cooker for corned beef...

As for kneading bread by hand, it is true that it's very therapeutic. You don't necessarily get that with the bread machine, but I do love it for certain things, like making pizza crust, and for the fact that I can set it so that I come home in the evening to fresh bread, which is a pretty nice perk. I've also found the dough-only cycles to be really helpful for doing more specialty breads like babka and stollen and brioche. I make the dough in the machine, and then I form the little brioches by hand and leave them to do the final rise--and voila!

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