Saturday, January 26, 2008

Gadgets in my pantry

Why do I have a pantry full of gadgets?

I've had a slow cooker since the first fad for them. The one in my pantry now is the second or third one I've owned: I actually wear them out! Here are a few things I make in my slow cooker: chilli, Carbonades a la Flamande (a Julia Child beef & beer stew), lamb shanks, turkey stock, veal stew, ABC stew (Apricots, Beef, Carrots, an Argentine stew).

My immersion blender is my newest toy -- here are a few things I've tried with it: gazpacho, guacamole, hummus, cucumber soup, black bean dip, Muhamarra, Mexican cocoa.
For the rest, I'm not all that imaginative. My mixer was a Mother's Day gift when Evelyn was a little girl, and I mainly use it for cakes and cookie dough. I use the LittlePro Cuisinart for shredding potato pancake ingredients -- it's chute makes it ideal for shredding. I use the big and very old Cuisinart for pizza or pie dough and a few other things.
I steam veggies in the steamer when I am not in such a hurry that they go in the microwave. I use the popcorn popper, the tortilla maker, the espresso machine, and most of the other gadgets predictably for whatever they are meant for.

Could I get along without the gadgets? Most days, I use a baking dish or a frying pan or a soup pot. Michael Pollan says to eat food, not too much, mostly plants. I think I have an analogous philosophy of gadgets: cook food, not too much, mainly simple. Not too much electricity -- I use a salad spinner for salad. I use a water boiler, a filter, and a vacuum jug for coffee.

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