Gadgets: Getting too fast?

orange kitchen aid mixer When I was a little girl, helping out in the kitchen was one of the most fun "help mama" activities (topped only by sewing, of course). My memories contain remnants of the sensory experience: sticky hands, brown sugar-coated tongue, sunlight streaming through the windows, fresh-baked cookie scents, and, of course, the steady ka-chunk noise of the Kitchen Aid mixer. My mother swears by her Kitchen Aid, and has promised that my kitchen will never be incomplete because my own mixer will be her first gift to me on my wedding day.

The Kitchen Aid is an extremely useful tool. Its heavy base and thick gears manage to spin the densest doughs, and the plethora of attachments available simplifies many daunting cooking and baking endeavors. In my kitchen at home, it stands out no more than the toaster, blender, or microwave. But where do gadgets cross the line from useful helpers to overachievers?

This New York Times Article explores the recent evolution of appliances, citing a toaster that poaches an egg as the bread is toasted. The NYT refers to America as a nation of "index-finger cooks" and says that we enjoy the satisfaction that comes from making something, even and especially when that something requires little to no effort.

Housewares sales have been dropping in recent times, but small kitchen appliances have been selling very well lately. Microwave meals, frozen pizzas, and envelopes of cookie dough are appealing because they are convenient while retaining at least a smidge of that "i made it myself" feeling. But what are we losing when we give up being able to lick the batter off the beater?

One-button cuisine offers ready answers for cooks with not much time to spend in the kitchen and not much of a clue about what to do once they get there.

The orange Kitchen Aid mixer of my future kitchen might save my arms some strain, but it is by no means a one-button machine. I will still be measuring, sampling, and modifying during every bit of the baking process. And I most certainly will have a clue about what I'm doing, because I can hear my mother's guidance right along with that distinctive Kitchen Aid stirring noise.

There is a boundary between those appliances that make kitchen tasks more enjoyable and those that take all of the work, pleasure, and process out of them. If more people started with Kitchen Aid mixers than toaster ovens complete with the "pizza bump", I think we'd be witnesses to an entirely different food culture.

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cross-posted to Food Craze


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Posted by: Penny
Posted on: March 31, 2011 03:11 PM

My granddaughter is now 12 and has taken a real interest in learning how to cook. I have never found a one-button cuisine appliance and don't ever expect to.

To cook a good meal takes more than a machine!

nice post thanks for sharing..To cook a good meal takes more than a machine!


Posted by: Syari'
Posted on: May 15, 2011 12:29 AM

I'm looking for some information about the KitchenAid attachment. It turns out this article I was looking for, to add my inspiration on electrical appliances in the kitchen. In addition, I also increasingly understood about the use of electrical appliances from KitchenAid attachments. Thanks for the info in your article, and have shared for all.


Posted by: Gadgets
Posted on: May 16, 2011 11:50 AM

Totally agree that to get a great result you need to cook with more than 1 machine.


Posted by: Jim
Posted on: June 3, 2011 11:43 AM

I think if more people took an interest in what they actually put in to their bodies, they would realize that many pre-packaged foods can be made simply by hand, for less money and better tasting.

As for a toaster that poaches an egg, sounds like a big egg mess waiting to happen. I guess heating water on the stove and cracking egg is beyond some people's abilities.


Posted by: Sue
Posted on: July 15, 2011 04:19 PM

Amazing! A toaster that poaches an egg!!! I do think people would appreciate food more if they invested more time in making it. I love licking the beaters after I'm done making cake batter or frosting. It's one of those simple pleasures in life.


Posted by:
Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:21 AM

My mom had been an Oster customer for over 10 years and never thought we would like Kitchen Aid, but we were definitely wrong! Highly recommended!


Posted by: jasa seo
Posted on: August 17, 2011 03:01 PM

My granddaughter is now 12 and has taken a real interest in learning how to cook. I have never found a one-button cuisine appliance and don't ever expect to.


Posted by: Julie
Posted on: November 30, 2011 01:42 PM

A one button appliance would be something I would expect to see in one of those futuristic movies. As it stands, my kitchenaid mixer has like 8 settings on it - and I'm glad for it. Makes my life easier.


Posted by: Dave
Posted on: January 4, 2012 05:49 AM

I think that these machines do have their place in the kitchen, but I do remember helping in the kitchen when I was younger. And I always loved getting stuck in. The new machines will take some of the enjoyment out of it but people do seem to prefer the easy option and this does extend to the kitchen too.

To cook a good meal takes more than a machine!

cooking is my favorite :D

I agree, there is so much more to cooking than having the fastest most "efficient" method

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