When I turned 40 several months back I asked for a manual hand mixer. I have wanted one for quite a while and thought that any request I made on the eve of 40 would be met with a yes. In retrospect, maybe I should have asked for more. Ha ha. Seriously, I do love this kitchen gadget. It’s great for scrambling eggs, banana bread, making pancake mix, and a wonderful way to introduce kids to cooking. It’s fun and easy to use and you don’t have to worry about that wacky electricity and fingers getting caught in rotating beaters.
For bigger jobs I will pull out the big ol’ Kitchen Aid Mixer, but it’s heavy and not really needed for simple mixing. I know that the hand mixer came from Home-Eco which is on Macklind. I’m sure you can get them other places, but Home-Eco is a great place since they are a “Green General Store.” www.home-eco.com
My other favorite kitchen tools are my pressure cooker and immersion blender. My in-laws got us the pressure cooker about six years ago and it has been a favorite. Sure, it’s not total “slow” cooking, but I can make dried beans in one hour without any pre-soaking. Kale cooks up perfectly in about three minutes. And lentils are ready in as little as ten minutes. It makes cooking from scratch a little easier for me.
I know some folks have bad memories of pressure cookers, but these are easy and safe to use. I highly recommend getting a pressure cooker cook book to go along with your pressure cooker as it gives you lots of information about what you can cook and suggested times.
And lastly, the immersion blender. We got this right before our son was born because I was insistent on making all of his food. I’m happy to say I did make most of his food and still do (this is probably the only thing I have really stuck with of all my pre-baby ideas of how I would parent–as my friend Amanda says,”You’re the best parent you are ever going to be before you actually have kids.”) The immersion blender made it so much easier.
I made all kinds of concoctions when he was little–broccoli, barley, tahini, brewer’s yeast–that I blended to a smooth consistency so he could eat it easily. I use it now to make smoothies or blend a soup or pasta sauce.
There are a million kitchen gadgets out there. My suggestion is to think of your per cost use. How many times you will use it–weekly, daily, every five years? The more you use it the more your cost per use goes down. And if the item really will help you eat more healthy foods then it might be worth it.
Yours in cooking and eating and supporting local food.