Still Buying Cheap Kitchen Gadgets?
“You were right about buying high end kitchen gadgets, this is a piece of junk and I shouldn’t have bothered with it, should have spent a bit more” Well, I knew what was coming next!
Halfway through preparing a substantial quantity of apples for dehydrating, you really don’t want to be reaching for a knife, not when a mandoline will do the job better, faster and more safely.
She went off happily enough with mine, plus a steel glove included in the box (my Swissmar Borner mandoline is supremely sharp) leaving me to reflect on what she’d said – because it’s what I’ve thought of myself and my money saving efforts, at least a hundred times over.
Trying to save precious time in the kitchen has made me into a gadget hunter, which at one time nearly got out of control. These days lessons learned, the gadget hunting is far more focused and scientific, I still buy them – but a lot more carefully.
Don’t Throw Money Away On Cheap Plastic
Firstly, and partly why gadgets for the kitchen have a bad name – they are notoriously fragile, which is no surprise especially if made from cheap plastic. The kitchen is an unforgiving environment, plastic tends to melt in heat and become brittle in the freezer, so wherever possible choose silicone, stainless steel, or wood over other materials.
Having just said that the Suchezi sushi rolling machine featured in a previous post is made of sturdy well constructed plastic, as are many of my bits and pieces. Just be circumspect with plastic that’s all!
Secondly, consider the task you want the gadget or appliance to do for you. Where there is a light load, risking a cheapie is probably worth it, you might strike it lucky and get something that works well. But if you want a tool or utensil to do a tough job and do it repetitively over years, quality is worth paying more for.
Using meat slicers for home use as an example – many of them have been manufactured using nylon or plastic gears rather than metal, they do a tough job yet last for years. Robust and reliable yes, but not cheap – put bluntly, you get what you pay for!
It’s the same with the best deep fryers – there are some things you want in terms of safety features and economizing on those is a big mistake and possibly a fatal one. If you want the basic safety tips for deep frying you can find them here on the Butterball Turkey Fryer post, if you want recommendations on smaller fryers for home use the link takes you to the post and several reviews.
The last rule to follow, concerns function and focus because over many years of breaking kitchen gadgets, there is one theme they all have all had in common – multi tasking. When a gadget is designed to do one thing and do it well, they seem to excel in performance and durability, but not so with the gadgets which profess to do everything except serve the meal for you, they seem to me to do nothing well and are inclined to break quickly. There are of course some exceptions, but that’s my rule of thumb.
Overload Kitchen Gadgets At Your Peril
It’s also worth restraining oneself when loading or using kitchen equipment, because nothing will lead to grinding smoking motor failure or broken parts, faster than overloading. Can you hear the voice of bitter experience talking here? It took hours to clean all the basil butter off the ceiling fan – you have been warned! Again I’ll refer to deep fat fryers – never break the rules, you can burn you house down or worse – stick to the rules and you’ll always fry safely and eat gourmet meals.
If you stick with the guidelines above and take care in examining the quality and construction, there is less chance of either structural or mechanical failure, even looking at them online shows you how well made they are. But before buying your kitchen cooking gadgets, do read reviews – there’s often an emerging trend you can tap into which tells you what works and what collapsed the first time it was used.
And the next post? Well as my neighbor wants the lowdown on the best mandoline slicer to buy, I guess that might be a good place to start.
Happy gadget hunting.