Monday, August 11, 2008

Dream Kitchen

By the way, I'm sometimes struck by bouts of insomnia. Tonight, obviously, is one of those nights.
Anytime we move, I decide we need new stuff. I think its pretty natural. New place = shiny new things. I am a law student living on a fixed income, and the boyfriend is a poor roller coaster engineer, therefore we don't spend a lot of money on well, anything. We spent today painting our Gorm shelves from Ikea so they looked less like knotty pine and more like something people would use inside their apartment instead of in the garage.
Sometimes we spring for things we really want or need, and spend the money on them. So far, there is nothing that I've spent real money (more than $15) on for my kitchen that I regret.
My miniature food processor? Definitely a good purchase.
Our wok? Could not have made nearly as many delicious stir-frys without it.
Crockpot? Combined total of $22 for the mini and the huge, definitely worth it.

That may very well be the list of things in the kitchen that cost more than $15 that we spent money on. Some things were gifts - some we use, some we don't.
My favorites include the two we got last Christmas. A "Vidalia Chop Wizard" from my boyfriend's parents, and a crepe pan from his aunt. (If you never thought a crepe pan was necessary, by the way, you are wrong. Buy a pan, and a thing of crepe mix, and I promise, you won't regret it.) My mom also gave me a flexible silicone-coated spatula that I love.

I am extremely lucky to already own a set of anodized aluminum pots. They were a housewarming gift from my Dad when I went off to college. He also gave me a stand mixer for Christmas three years ago, but two years ago, I gave it back to him for Christmas. I had extremely limited kitchen space, and my roommate already had a hand mixer. I then bought a hand mixer as well, to keep at the boyfriend's until we moved in together.

But if I was outfitting my apartment kitchen, with my dream supplies, what would I buy, right now? Our kitchen is big, with a lot of counter and cabinet space, and a single basin sink.
I would love to get a giant magnetic strip that we mount behind the stove, for the purpose of sticking magnetic spice jars to - something like this -but not freestanding. Our current spiceracks take up too much space. However, eventually I will have a house with my own spice emporium or something, and therefore something like this doesn't make sense for the long term.

I would also very much like a cookbook holder. Especially one with a sheild. The only reason we don't own one of these is that there aren't any that will hold the Joy of Cooking. And if you know me at all, you know that is The One Ring of cookbooks, and a cookbook holder that does not fit that makes no sense.
I also really want one of these - I just think they must be extremely handy, and save valuable counter space. We got my sister one as a wedding gift. She says its useful. I think it might not be as handy once we no longer have a single basin sink. We may eventually have either a double basin or dual sinks - one on the island and one by the dishwasher. The island rinse sinks are much smaller, which would make this impractical.
Additionally, I would like to buy a tortilla warmer. (This is actually on the list of things I can afford, and also I think I saw one at goodwill.) I do wonder - am I supposed to microwave the tortillas in it? Or just put the warm tortillas I just finished making in it? (FYI - making your own tortillas? Not worth it.) I never thought of it as a pancake warmer before - now that it is no longer a total unitasker, I think I could justify the $8. (Probably $2 down at the Lot Store in College Park.)

I'm making do with the hand mixer I have for now, because it works perfectly well. It has some flaws, and I definitely should not have bought the cheapest hand mixer available at Target. Unlike the much nicer, and only $5 more model, the Oster $12 mixer does not come with its own storage case, and it only came with two sets of beaters. Eventually I would like to get a nice stand mixer, preferably the Hamilton Beach Eclectrics Stand Mixer, because I hate KitchenAid and their overpriced behemoth mixers. (Oh, but they look so good. Oh, but they are the best. No, no they are not. You are stupid. And ugly. And clearly, you never had a SunBeam Mixmaster. Which they don't make like they used to. And Hamilton Beach will probably stop making these by the time I get married, and I will have to register for a stupid KitchenAid. Whatever. I'm taking the label off and covering it in flames, ala Alton Brown.) This makes the next sentence hysterical. As a hand mixer, because I firmly believe that you can own, and use, both, I like the KitchenAid 9 Speed. Mostly, I want the slow start, and a lot of speeds. As is KitchenAid's trademark, the product is probably about 20% better than the competitor's and yet 3x as much.
I do believe the hand mixer by KitchenAid is a better product than their stand mixer. Here is why I hate the stand mixer - the single beater. You can't scrape around it. It's huge. It takes up the whole bowl. You have to beat everything, and then scrape at the end. Plus, the bowls do not stack as nicely as the SunBeam Mixmaster Bowls, and they are not nearly as universal. How am I supposed to stack the bowls with the handles?? WTF! Plus, the base is so narrow!
The Hamilton Beach does not actually solve any of these problems. But you pay a lower price to have to deal with them, and with the $130+ (depending on whether I felt the need to buy the "display but never use" artisan series with a 325 watt motor or the "Pro 5 series" with a 450 watt motor; the HB has a 400 watt motor) I would save, there would be enough money to buy some extra mixing bowls, some super-narrow spatulas, and also, pretty much everything else that is up on my list of dream kitchen materials.
Also, KitchenAids are heavy. Because they are meant to be out all the time on the counter as a display of your affluence, culinary expertise, and ability to color-coordinate your lime green mixer with your matching curtains.

This has gone in a rant-heavy direction, clearly fueled by not enough sleep. I will finish this post later.

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