Gadget Monster

by Bella Rum


Doesn’t it look like it could draw your bath or give you a massage?

Yesterday, H made cakes for the neighbors. Wait. I have to say that again. H made cakes! He spent 43 years staying away from the kitchen. He had it down to a science. Then I got sick a couple of years ago and was in and out of the hospital for weeks and then it was a long recovery. He didn’t know how to cook. We lived off of eggs, sandwiches, canned soup and takeout. Maybe it wasn’t that bad (yes, it was), but believe me, we were ecstatic when friends brought home-cooked meals over. We were like the settlers when the Native Americans showed up with fish and corn.

He swore he was going to learn to cook and he did. He was cautious at first, then he learned a few techniques. I gave him some of my tried and true recipes, and before too long he started looking for his own recipes. He’s more adventuresome than I am. Now he’s started making noises about bread making. Cooking has become a second hobby for him… second only to golf. He enjoys it! Something I never have managed to do.

We don’t give expensive gifts to each other for Christmas. Each of us stuffs a stocking for the other, and it’s all reasonably priced. This was the first year in ages that I was tempted to break bad and get him some pricy, fabulous kitchen gadget or small appliance.

I’m not a high-end appliance person or a gadget person and have written about that. I like inexpensive, small, useful, easy-to-store gadgets in the kitchen. Take the KitchenAid mixer. I never wanted one. It breaks all of my gadget/small appliance rules: too big to store, too expensive and something I wouldn’t use enough to warrant the expense. I’m happy with my hand mixer; it’s good enough for mashed potatoes and the occasional cake batter, and I can store it in a drawer. So no KitchenAid mixer. If I was a serious cook, maybe so… or not.

Then I thought about a new slow cooker. They’re not so pricy. He loves slow cooker recipes. We brought my circa 1970 slow cooker down from the attic when he got interested in slow cookery, and it’s still clinking along mighty fine. He’s made some yummy recipes in it. My fave so far is parmesan chicken. So, no slow cooker.

We have a food processor that’s over forty-years-old. Dad gave it to us and it still works swell. I think he gave us the slow cooker, too. Dad was a lover of gadgets and loved to gift people with the latest and greatest as soon as it appeared on the market. When I was a kid, we were the second family in our neighborhood to get a television. Dad knew it was the future while everyone else was debating whether it would still be around in a couple of years.

Men love sexy machines and that goes for small kitchen appliances, too. I’ve kept my kitchen fairly gadget free, at least I didn’t buy the gadgets. Most of the time they were gifts. I even use a manual can opener. I know I cannot hold back the tide much longer. He’s about to burst out all over with small appliance/gadget mania. When I walk down the stairs, I will hear whirring and whizzing and slurping and popping. My kitchen will be overflowing with machinery: things that blend and grind and chop and tell temperatures accurately and crockery that promises to roast it better than anything you’ve ever tasted and griddles and juicers and waffle makers.

So the fellow is getting a few smaller gadgets that can be thrown in a kitchen drawer. If he’s still at it next year, maybe I’ll consider selling one of the grands and getting that mixer for him. But first, he’ll have to make a lot of cakes and breads in 2015. Aren’t we supposed to go on a diet?