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Thanks in part to all of those home remodeling shows filling up the weekend cable TV lineup, designer kitchens are very popular and home cooks can’t help but want a truly fancy kitchen complete with every small appliance they see.
I’ll be honest. After I’ve browsed Bon Appetit or watched a remodeling show, I start dreaming of pasta arms above my stove, high-powered blenders and top-dollar juicers, but the fact of the matter is, most small kitchen appliances aren’t worth the money or the counter space.
Here are seven small kitchen appliances you can skip:
1. Panini press
A panini press flattens and grills, turning a regular sandwich into a hot panini. In theory this sounds like the perfect way to turn your kitchen into an Italian deli on a Saturday afternoon. In reality, a panini press can be heavy and difficult to lift. And it’s not something you really need.
Oprah.com has a cheaper way to make a panini. Assemble the sandwich, butter both sides and put it in a hot skillet. Cover the bottom of your heaviest pot with aluminum foil and place it on top of the sandwich. If it’s not heavy enough, fill a kettle with water and place that in the pot. You’ll get the same thing without the extra appliance.
2. Stand mixer
Most home cooks I know swear by their KitchenAid stand mixer, but I’ve never been able to justify the cost. Instead, I mix and mash ingredients by hand. It’s more work, but theKitchn thinks hand mixing might be better. Here’s why:
When you’re working by hand, there’s more control over each step. You can see for yourself exactly when the egg whites reach a stiff peak and feel when the bread has developed enough gluten. You’re a part of the entire process from start to finish, and that creates a certain satisfaction that we feel is different than when we’ve zipped it together in a mixer.
3. Electric kettle
The electric kettle was the first small kitchen appliance listed in HuffPost Taste’s unnecessary kitchen appliances slide show for good reason. An electric kettle is plugged in so that it can heat up water. That’s it. The rest of the time it takes up space on your counter.
If you want to make a cup of tea, heat the water in the microwave or in a pan on the stove, not in a special kettle.
4. Popcorn maker
With a popcorn maker, whole kernels are heated and then fluffy popcorn emerges at the top. It may seem like the best way to get ready for movie night, but HuffPost Taste says you can get the same results with a pot on the stovetop.
5. Baby food maker
At first, baby food makers seem like a great idea. With one little appliance, you’ll be able to give your baby fresh fruits and vegetables. But you can still do that even if you don’t have the actual appliance. Oprah.com explains how:
Cook those carrots in boiling water or a steamer basket, and then use a fork to smash them. Not smooth enough for your tot? Add some of the cooking water and whip them together in a food processor or with an immersion blender until they’re to his liking.
Last year I was dead set on having a blender and ending up getting one as a gift. I was thrilled. Six months later I had used it only once. Turns out, my food processor does a better job of crushing ice and blending fruit for smoothies than the blender does. Plus, my food processor does a better job of fitting in my small cabinets.
7. Electric grill
I’ve seen electric grills advertised as two things: either a way to grill indoors for apartment dwellers, or the best way to cook healthy grilled meals. In reality, they’re bulkier, more expensive and harder to clean. Plus, Oprah.com warns that electric grills may actually steam food rather than grill it, so you may end up getting different results.
Have you bought a small kitchen appliance and then later regretted the purchase? Share your story on our Facebook page.