17 March 2008

Gadgets, Gadgets Everywhere

…but nary a tool to use! I've been developing a more sane philosophy of kitchen gadgets than I had before. Well, actually, I can't say I really had one (and that was the problem), but I think I do now!

Since 80% of the work is done by 20% of the tools, part of my new philosophy is to limit my gadgets to things that perform more than one task. I'm not completely sure that this proportion is written in stone or absolutely accurate, but common sense says that a tool that does more than one task will be more useful than a single-use gadget.

So, for example, I got rid of my apple peeler/corer/slicer. By the time it's oiled and set up, the apples have been run through it, the little pieces of remaining core have been cut out of the slices, I've mopped up the gallon of juice that's dribbled all over the counter and the floor, cleaned up all the nooks and crannies of the machinery, and put the thing back in its box, I've spent more time and effort than it would have taken to simply peel the apples with a veggie peeler over a paper towel and then sliced them with a paring knife. (Besides, it's more fun to try to peel an apple without breaking the peel (which I can do most of the time) than to wind the ap/c/s - the kids have contests to see who can manage the longest unbroken peel.)

Instead of replacing our toasters, both of which were recently tossed out because of fraying cords, we're looking for a toaster oven, maybe one with a convection setting. We'll be able to toast as well as broil, bake, and roast (handy for lunches and won't heat up the kitchen as much in the summer). And the toaster ovens we're looking at can handle six pieces of bread, so we'll only need one. We had two four-slice toasters because of the size of our family.

Now, I'm not taking this too far. I am keeping a few single-use gadgets. For example, my Trini-tea automatic tea brewer. We use this every morning when we get up for our quiet time; I set it up the night before and simply push a button for a perfect pot of tea. It may only have one use, but it's used daily, unlike the apple p/c/s which was only used every six or twelve months - and not at all the last few years as I have many veggie peelers and many children.

As explained above, the ap/c/s really isn't that easy to use. The set-up, maintenance, and clean-up it requires cause more work than it saves. I have a few other gadgets that are also difficult to use because of awkward design, or they don't do, or don't do well, what they claim to do. They haven't lived up to the hype! If I have to fight to use something, it will sit in the cupboard taking up space and never be used, no matter how 'handy' the advertisements said it would be. Those are going, too!

So, most of my kitchen tools will have more than one use, or will have one quotidian task, and be relatively simple to use, and therefore will be used much. The kitchen will be uncluttered and more useful, as well as more fun to use.


No comments:

Post a Comment