Must Have Appliances in a Small Kitchen.

jll0306August 18, 2006

I gave away my old bulky food processor, in favor of a much smaller electic chopper.

I gave away my old stand mixer in favor of an old sunbeam hand mixer with a very powerful motor.

I'm now toying with getting rid of my crockpot. I have a very deep electric skillet which is great for so many things. It seems to me that with it's low heat settings, I could use it for any crockpot recipe and accomplish the same thing. Plus it offer the ability to brown first.

Should I or shouldn't I?


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The crockpot likely will be better at retaining the heat it generates; you'll probably find that the electric skillet cycles on and off more. It's as if the skillet goes from 0 (no heat) to 2 (heat on to the temp you select) to 0 (turns off heat when it reaches that temp) to 2 (when temp falls too low), where the crockpot provides a more steady 0.5 to 1.5 and the heavy pot evens out the heat.

The key, though, is how often you use the crockpot. If it's seldom, it probably doesn't deserve space in your kitchen, especially since you have another tool that can do pretty much the same thing. If you use it a lot, I'd consider how often you use the electric skillet. You may prefer to get rid of that.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:41AM
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I use my crockpot at least twice a week, so for me it wouldn't be an option. Why don't you try using your electric skillet a few times for crockpot recipes to make sure it will work like you want? If it does, by all means, recycle that crockpot to someone else who could use it.

I have a large food processor AND a small chopper and use them only during November/December. They are really a waste of space for me. I'm going to move them to my tallest cabinets where my other holiday things are. I use my can opener a lot, but am going to buy a regular hand one and get rid of the electric one. I have a KitchenAid mixer, but I can't part with it...I love it too much! ;)

At my mother's encouragement, I think I'm going to get rid of the toaster and buy a toaster oven instead. Since there are only two of us, she says I could fix dinner in it, without heating up the entire kitchen. Sounds like a good idea to me!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:41AM
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I could never part with my crock pot.

That being said, I've never had an electric skillet, but I don't imagine they work the same.

You could look for a smaller crockpot. Mine is large, but my mother's is pretty small, not sure of the size.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 10:47AM
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I love my crock pot, especially on the days I work during cooler months. I store it in a deep cabinet with my cookware. I also love my KA mixer (and I think they are pretty), and my Cuisinart mini-prep, which is every bit as good as the larger version (which I rarely use). It is also easily moved/stored away in a cabinet, and takes up little space. My can opener is an under-cabinet version, so it is a spacesaver, too.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:00AM
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I have a west bend (think that's the brand) crockpot where the pot comes off the electric heating base. That way the pot can do double duty for making pasta or potatoes on my stovetop. It's like a 2 in one feature. We got rid of our toaster oven, never used it and it took up so much space on the counter. Replaced it with a small toaster. But I bbq year round so the oven really doesn't get used much.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:11AM
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I would dearly love to have a bright red Kitchenaid stand mixer, even though I know I'd rarely use it. Everytime I'm in a store and see one, I have to remind myself that I have nowhere to put it. Why must they make things that just look so cool to tempt us?!?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:13AM
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I can "almost" get rid of the little used appliances.
We have a small but tall cupboard in the garage. Packed to the gills. Now, WHY am I still hanging on to my electric frying pan that I haven't used in over 5 years? Just got a wonderful new crockpot with an extra divided liner. I use my mini chopper all the time and don't need a big one. I hung all my cake pans in the back hall. Looks cute!!! And out of the way.

You are stirring up my "cleaning juices", grrrrr.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:36AM
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We bought the larger, rounded front B&D toaster oven. It took forever to make toast and took up way too much room, so I took it back and got a small one (also B&D). It works better but doesn't have an "off" signal when toasting is finished. I just thought it was standard to have a bell or something. Also, degree of toasting depends on the phase of the moon or something, certainly not the dial. Big PITA as one of us has to watch it to see that things aren't overdone and when it shuts off.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 2:34PM
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Must haves - my KA food processor, hands down. I use it all the time and it's so easy to clean. Well, it's easy for the dishwasher to clean. ; ) It's butter yellow, and I have the KA mixer to match. I don't use it at often but when I do I am soooo glad I have it.

No crock pot here. I had one until DH introduced me to a pressure cooker when we first married. Nothing beats the taste of a roast with carrots and potatoes cooked in it. Yummy! But I totally understand the benefits of a crock pot and may buy a small one again someday.

Here's is the appliance I am REALLY looking forward to in the kitchen remodel. I'm getting the 24" one. Same inside capacity and outside look. It will go on one end of the island with a small cabinet underneath for glass pans. Now I better hurry up and choose a cabinet builder or the thing won't have a home!


Here is a link that might be useful: MW drawer

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 4:55PM
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I don't like my crockpot--its low temperature is practically boiling--but I keep it because it was a gift from a family member.

When my last toaster oven died, I didn't get a new one. I really hate using the range to heat up 2 veggie burgers or whatever, but I almost think that the big oven is more efficient because it is better insulated than any toaster oven--it works much faster. I don't have a microwave oven, but have been told that they are more energy efficient than a regular oven.

I had one of those Spacemaker coffeemakers but found it awkward to fill and I replaced it with a huge Cuisinart--it's tough to find a good, small (like 4-6 cups) coffeemaker.

I think that the big Kitchen Aid mixers look great on a counter but they're not the greatest idea in a small kitchen .

Regardless of the size and layout of the kitchen, every cook should try to minimize clutter on the counter and in the cabinets, and decide which appliances are worth keeping and worth "displaying."

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 5:51PM
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okieladybug, instead of a hand-crank can opener think about getting a wall-mounted Swing-Away. My great-grandmother had one on her wall for 50+ years, I've had mine for almost 3. :-) As far as I am concerned it is the world's best can opener, especially if you have tricky hands/wrists. Cheap, too. I love Oxo's Good Grips products but I broke two of their can openers in less than two years and even their crank was beginning to hurt my hands, not to mention they're so bulky and take up so much drawer space.

I really want a toaster oven/broiler, I just need to decide which one to get. I hate wasting the fuel to run the main oven just for a couple of pieces of Welsh rarebit or a hunk of fish for two. DH has gotten a bee in his bonnet about getting an espresso machine *eyeroll* (no, he won't consider a stovetop one, I asked) so I may have to get rid of the coffeemaker we have and get a combo unit so the blasted thing will fit. Wouldn't give up the crockpot, no way no how, and the Kitchenaid gets used for making bread in the winter (to go with the soups and stews from the crockpot!). Rarely used appliances live either in the top of a closet or in the basement; there's no need for them to be in the kitchen when they're not being used.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 7:35PM
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I have a small kitchen with limited counter space. I love my hanging appliances that are mounted under the cabinets-a can opener,a coffee maker, and my microwave. Someone suggested I get a range hood-microwave that mounts over the stove, but I said no to that. I'm short, not very strong in the arms, and I think it would get oily and dirty from the stove cooking.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 9:31PM
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krustytopp - Farberware makes stainless electric percolators in 2 to 4-cup or 2 to 12 cup sizes. They take up a lot less space than the drip types and make a good cup of coffee in a short time besides :-)


    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Must haves on our list ~
Viking 5 qt. stand mixer (in my favorite color, red)
KA food processor (11 cup)
Crockpot (we have two, one large oval and one smaller round)
Toaster oven (DH's favorite thing) We have a Cuisinart, and I have to say that it's pretty darn good.
Electric cordless percolator
And drumroll, please...electric teakettle. DH questioned my sanity when I brought it home, but he absolutely loves it and even tells folks that it's one of the best 'sleepers' I came up with. The British sure have it right. *Now* I get it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 9:10AM
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I'm lovin' that MW drawer. I had no idea!!!! After having lived with my kitchen for 5 years I see things I wish I'd added/changed/rearranged. "Ain't that the way?"

My kitchen is really small but (duh) it took me a couple of years to figure it out because of the connection to the living room. Being so open I never feel isolated and it forces me to keep it neat n' tidy.

I wish I could send you some of our Amish cabinet makers around here. I have an artist friend who just redid her kitchen and dining room. It's the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen. So many unique details, drawers close themselves, exquisite carpentry, and I have to say the lighting and the artwork is the "icing". I try not to drool in her house.

I love kitchens old and new. They can be so charming and definitely the heart of the home.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 9:57AM
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Like most of you I store alot of the nessessities needed only now and then and try to get by with the bare minium. But there was something new to me in my kitchen when we bought this house that I never in my life would have purchased and now cannot live without......A hot water dispenser. When ever I need boiling water it is ready, for reciepes, or tea, coffee,soup, or anytime I need it. It doesn't take up much space on the sink, only as much as the sprayhose, and under the sink it fits tightly to the back wall. It is really a convevence.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 10:10AM
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This is a great thread. I have to keep my crock-pot, it's great for days I work and we're even thinking of a larger one to fix a turkey breast or larger cuts of meat in. Just started using an electric can opener and I'm enjoying that. Love my bread machine and coffee maker. The toaster oven is a recent purchase for heating up small things, instead of using the large oven during the summer especially. The microwave is in a cupboard/china closet piece from the 40's, in the middle open shelf area. I'm still working on organizing and enjoy reading all of your input.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 2:04PM
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Georgeanne, it does take some time living in the space to really know how it does or doesn't function. I designed the kitchen remodel and have used it to get quotes for cabs, etc. Everyone says what good job I did planning all of it. I say I've had 16 years to think about it. lol!

Lou, my DH wants a hot water dispenser. He hasn't requested much from the redo so I guess we'll be getting one. Gotta keep the breadwinner happy. : )

All this talk about crock pots has reminded me of a crock pot dish I had at a friend's pot luck birthday lunch. It was a combination of three beans, bacon and some other ingredients I'm forgetting. It even had onions, which I don't like but they didn't bother me in this dish. I will try and find the recipe to post. It was a meal in itself and would be great with a nice crusty loaf of bread.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 4:18PM
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A hot water dispenser is on the MUST HAVE list for the kitchen remodel a few years down the road. :-) If I had any way to get the electricity to the proper place (no disposall so no electricity under the sink) I'd have one installed immediately if not sooner, but our electrician said it would be spendy to run the electric with the cabinets in place. The only problem is that I really wanted a copper faucet and copper-finish hot-water dispensers are hideously expensive. :-p

In the interim I'm horribly tempted toward a spring-water dispenser - the kind with hot and cold spigots - and home-delivered spring water. Our water tastes kinda blech even filtered (and reverse osmosis is WAY too wasteful). My dad had one of these and it was just wonderful. I have an odd spot where it can go, complete with a newly repaired electrical outlet. :-) The dispensers are about $100 at Home Depot and the water delivery is about $25 a month (4 5-gallon bottles).

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 2:10AM
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A hot water dispenser is wonderful and saves a great deal. I use mine for filling large pots along with all the other uses. It can save you money in the long run.

My favorite appliance, not small, is the Maytag Gemini stove, two oven. Let first one go with a house sale and regretted the decision. Bought a new one for this house, they now have a toasting option (top/bottom coils) which eliminates the need for a toaster and also use this for any crispy foods needing browing. It is as fast as the microwave for some things. The small top oven heats quickly and large enough for 90% of my cooking. I consider this another cost saver. Will always have one in my kitchen.

Have never used a crock pot, for some reason I never got into the program for preparing and waiting. I know a lot of people use them especially when working and wanting to come home to "real" food.

My deal has always been the pressure cooker, still use one, a tad smaller than when the family lived at home. They have changed over the years, far safer and cook in half the time once was. I can make bean soup from scratch in a half hour with the new ones and meat/vegetables just seem to taste better to me.

Then there is the good ole" outdor grill....and an electric griddle I didn't really want, but my son talked me into. The griddle slides in with cookie sheets and find I'm using it far more than expected. These too have gotten so much better in cleanup and cooking options.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 9:06AM
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Diana, you will really love the dispenser.
Johnmari, Insinkerator makes the under sink filtered despenser for hot or cold also.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 9:27AM
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Yes indeed, with all this talk of crockpots I went and bought a pot roast yesterday...beef with onions and potatoes for dinner. I don't eat much meat but my husband likes to slice the leftovers for his lunch sandwiches, and a pot roast is more economical than sliced meats from the deli. Sigh...I guess we still need the crockpot.

Another issue with small appliances is when you have more than one of each type. Since my husband is not picky about which handblender/iron/handmixer he uses, I have chosen the "best" of each and put the other away.

I want a hot water dispenser too--my MIL has had the same one for 20 years and uses it several times a day. Right now I use a Sunbeam HotShot for hot water (you pour water into it and heats in under a minute) and I keep a kettle on the stove for decoration purposes only (I think that a kitchen looks more homey with a kettle).

Wantoretire did: thanks for the tip about the percolator...I've never used a perc but they seem to have changed from the gold plastic things I remember from the 70's :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Lou, yes indeedy they do make one, known about it for years. Still requires 'lectricity under the sink though, which I don't have and would be pricey to put in at this point! (Would mean removing and replacing two lower cabinets, 9 feet of L-shaped counter, sink. Not fun. Years of spring water delivery would be significantly cheaper.) The kitchen reno is four, maybe five years away depending on how much our savings gets slammed by a couple of other unexpected and unwanted-but-necessary projects.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 3:45PM
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Though my house is small, under 1800 sq ft., my kitchen is pretty big. Until I remodel though I have almost no counterspace, so I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff. The things that I have are:

Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I use this all the time since I make bread about one a week and homemade pizza dough about once a week too.

A Bamix handmixer. The absolute best purchase. I hated my kitchen aid blender and the Bamix blends better and fits in a drawer. I use it every day for my daughter's morning shake. One day when I have the money I will buy a Vitamix.

An electric tea kettle, I am married to a Scot and we drink a lot of tea.


Toaster, I really want a Dualit.

14 cup food processor.I guess I do have a lot of stuff. But, I don't have any electric grills or anything like that. I live in San Diego so we can bbq outside all year long. I can't wait until I can remodel my kitchen. I probably will not buy more stuff, but better quality stuff.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 1:58AM
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johnmari: thanks for the heads up on the can opener. I'll check that out. My grandmother has an undercounter mounted can opener and I hate it. It's very difficult to use which is why I was just going to get a hand-crank model.

Krustytopp: I do a lot of heavy-duty baking. Small mixers simply don't hold up as long as this KA has, so it's a far better investment of both time and space for me, regardless of kitchen size. Whether they work for a small kitchen or not depends on who's using the kitchen, wouldn't you say? ;)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:04AM
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sdtriplits...does this mean you have 3 identical babes at home? Lived in SD area, Fallbrook with an avacado grove. That house was 3500 feet with 10 sure can change.

I too BQ all year long....even when it is snowing like crazy in Colorado. There are times it just makes sense and not in the mood for washing cookware.

Interesting how many of us have Kitchen Aides, wouldn't trade it for anything. And the mom had one and it was great...wonder why I haven't gotten one.

Still, always, use a hand can opener. Guess this is just old age.

Sandy in Colorado

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:49AM
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Sandy in Colorado,
Yes, I do have 3 identicals at home. They are 3 now so not babies anymore.

I love the Bamix, it is the best hand blender around. I make soups, smoothies, salsas everything and use it. For a small kitchen it pretty much replaces a blender, I guess the only thing is you can't mix are magaritas.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 11:46AM
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Small kitchen here as well. I don't have a crockpot (slow cooker); but what I do have is 30-year old Saladmaster cookware that will do the same thing - low-temp, all day cooking - AND I can stack several pans and use only one burner for multiple foods. I also don't like to use all-day cooking methods because they use more energy than regular cooking, so slow-cookers are energy hogs. If something takes long cooking, I use my solar oven.

No stand mixer, either. I think they are over-rated and trendy. People have gotten away from using their hands and don't have a feel for dough and batters anymore. The few things I can't do with a Danish Dough Whisk, I use a hand-held electric mixer (good quality). I can use a whisk and a stainless steel bowl and make stiff egg whites quicker than an electric mixer. I also judge foods at fairs and I've noticed how the use of stand mixers are the main reason for poor-quality quick breads, and yeast breads that tend to be poorly made - over-mixing and they tend to aerate the dough. A bread machine (especially a quality one) makes dough much better than a stand mixer, or by hand - check side-by-side tests using a Zojirushi Bread Machine and a stand mixer done by King Arthur Flour.

Until a few years ago I managed to live quite nicely without a food processor. I broke down and purchased one with a small 2-cup bowl (under $10) to use for chopping onions (I hate to cry ;-) for a St. Patrick's Day party where I needed huge amounts of chopped onions , otherwise I wouldn't have gotten that one. I have a beautiful set of fine knives and they work just fine for chopping.

The one thing I wouldn't part with for love nor money is my Zojirushi Bread Machine - but it's stored in a cabinet, not out on the counter - but used at least once or twice a week. So we each have things we couldn't live without. Always having them out on the counter is another thing...

The appliances out on my counter - an electric kettle and an electric "malt maker" that we use to mix our daily smoothie. Both get daily use.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 6:01PM
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funny you should mention pot roast. Many years ago my MIL served us the best pot roast I had ever tasted. She made in her electric skillet with dry french onion soup. It's a common recipe now, but that was the first experience for me.

That's when I bought my first electric skillet, and still use it often, particularly in the summer. I take it out to the sunporch, which I have deemed our "summer kitchen", to keep from heating up the rest of the house.

The only appliance that stays on our counter is a coffee maker with a thermos carafe. Since my DH and I get up at different times, this allows the last one up to have fresh coffee waiting.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:21AM
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We, also, keep only our coffeemaker on the kitchen counter. There's an undercounter radio/CD player, but it's very slim and tucked away (it's fabulous!).

The KA mixers seem most helpful for people who bake often. My limited "repertoire" of baked items includes lemon bars, carrot cake, shortbread, and...that's really it.

I grew to loathe crock pots as a child, when I'd come home to the nauseating (to me) scent of stewing spareribs. I'm not a vegetarian, but neither am I a fan of stewed meats. I'm sure there are tons of other things you can make in crock pots, but I will forever associate them with the nasty stewy smell.

The pressure cooker sounds interesting to me, though, since I love to eat beans.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 11:48AM
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SDtriplits...not babies, you have your hands full with 3/3 yr olds. Tis a big job.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 12:57PM
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It's fascinating to see the wide range of preferences. So far, no one has mentioned my favorites. Meanwhile I don't feel any need for electric coffee makers, Crockpots, bread machines. Here are my choices:

Given my favorite beverage, first place has to be given to my Toddy cold brew coffee maker. It's simply a plastic cylinder with a well at the bottom with a cork and a fiberglass filter. Put 1/2-1 pound of coffee in, add cold water, and let it sit for 12-24 hours, and make a coffee concentrate that tastes as good as it smells, even from supermarket coffee. To serve, combine to taste with very hot water. No more over-cooked or cool coffee! We keep bottles of both regular and decaf concentrate in the fridge where they last upwards of a week. In between the overnight extractions, the lightweight, nearly-unbreakable cylinder takes up little cabinet space.

Second place goes to my blender, a necessity for shakes, salad dressings, many soups, etc. It also gives a smooth texture to my nut-based sugar- and flour-less baking recipes.

Third place would be my microwave oven. Until I got my instant hot, it was the way I heated water for coffee and small jobs. It does a great job steaming vegetables. It's great for making melting butter and chocolate, and thawing frozen ingredients. It permits reheating many foods right in their serving dishes, which reduces the stress of getting hot foods to the table all at the same time and saves cleanup. While I do little actual cooking other than vegetables, I've found that the crockpot recipes that appealed to me enough to try were as good or better when cooked in the microwave the night before and then reheated. (Admittedly, I never solved the problem of overcooking in the crock pot.) I use microwave ovens so much that I have two, a large one in its own built-in space, and a small one on a countertop near the serving area.

A new pick is an induction hob. I learned about it on the Applicances Forum and decided to buy a cheap version (Sunpentown Mr. Induction) to see for myself. The advantages include the rapid temperature response, the energy efficiency (which means it heats the food and not the kitchen), and the way the burner can be set for both temperature and time. This is a wonderful thing for stovetop simmering, as all too often I've gotten caught up doing other things and have returned to the kitchen to under- or overcooked foods (and/or burnt pots).

I do have a food processor. While it is possible to duplicate many of its functions with other tools, the food processor is so-o-o much easier. BTW, back when I still used flour, I used the food processor for kneading dough. Then I proofed it in the microwave, shaped it by hand, and baked it in the oven. I developed this method after wearing out three bread machines, as increasingly limiting them to the powerful kneading, preferring the breads oven baked in classical shapes (such as individual pieces like bagels, bialys, pita, and shaped loaves like challah).

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 5:40PM
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We have an 8' by 8' galley kitchen so counter space is an issue for us too. The only small appliance permanently on the countertop is a small two-slice toaster. We included an undercounter shelf for a small microwave in the new kitchen layout, which has worked out very well. Those are the only two small appliances in the kitchen. Fortunately, we also have a small (32" by 32") pantry with a waist height shelf where we keep our stand mixer, food processor and $50 ice cream maker. Just this morning I started moving things around a bit to make some room because DW just decided she wants a blender too.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 12:25PM
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What does "galley" mean?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 12:49PM
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Delvo -- It is a kitchen with the work stations arranged in two straight lines with a fairly narrow walkway between them. Here is a brief article on the HGTV web site: Galley Kitchens. It is a very efficient way of using space in a small kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 2:17PM
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The number one appliance in my small kitchen is my OTR Advantium 240. It's a vent hood, a microwave and a speedcook oven all in one. I rarely use my conventional oven anymore, or many of my other appliances. Even my outdoor grill is sitting outside rusting now.

Second place goes to the InSinkerator hot water dispenser. Had one for years in my last house and knew I couldn't live without one when we moved into our new house. Other posters are will save you money in the long run.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 12:55PM
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Interesting comments by everyone. Made me realize that it's time to reorganize.
Back in the day, I used my KA mixer a lot - now it takes up valuable counter space.
The others are toaster (used daily) and coffee pot.
And love my instant hot water, which I use for so much - especially tea,French pot coffee, couscous, and the like.
My micro/range hood saves lots of space (and I am very short, so was concerned that it wouldn't work out. Now love it).
Most used, kept in pantry- are air popcorn popper and crock pot.
Have had the same Swing-a-Way hand can opener for about 15 years. It lives in a drawer.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 4:19PM
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Got to have my coffee maker, toaster oven and George Foreman grill. Those get used daily or at least several times a week. I have a few small appliances I NEVER use, like a vintage Vitamix blender (keep saying I'll use it), a commercial grade Champion juicer (belonged to my Dad) which I only use once in awhile, and hand mixer. Believe it or not, I don't own a micro-wave, and don't want one. Had one once, never used it and it took up too much space so I gave it away (it was a gift in the first place).

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 6:49PM
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I'm with you on the Microwave, GypsyRose. My dear sweet mom could never understand that the reason we don't have one is because we don't want one.

She was crushed the year she gifted us with one and I made her take it back. Normally, I try to accept odd gifts with grace and put them away or give them away, later, but it's not like she wouldn't be able to SEE that it missing.

Thanks for the info on the induction hob, LTD. I didn't know about them until you mentioned yours. That does look like a useful appliance. I noticed that someone mentioned that he was getting rid of his cooktop entirely and using two hobs that he leave out of sight until he needed them. Now THAT's a stripped down kitchen!


    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 12:18PM
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Talk about small kitchens, I have been living on my houseboat for the last 5 months. My entire kitchen is only 6' x 6' wall to wall including the 4 burner stove w/oven, microwve, refrigerator, sink and countertop and pantry and dish cabinets. I often cook for as many as 12 ppl per meal and I wouldn't think of giving up my electric skillet or crockpot.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 12:36PM
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If I had really small kitchen, I'd go for 2-burner cooktop, as I rarely use more, and usually could just wait for one to clear. I like to cook on several levels in a pressure cooker or a pot with steamer inserts. And I use a dedicated pancake pan a lot. Refrigerator is essential, as much as vent hood and dishwasher, even a small one.

Then I'd get an oven: a microwave with grill, or small oven, or standard size oven with variable size grill. When it comes to small appliances, I feel electric kettle and a hand blender with whisk and chopper attachments are the only ones crucial.

I have somewhat more space, which I fill with a large food processor for kneading bread and cutting vegetables julienne style, and standard size appliances. But essentials could fit it a minikitchen like this: .

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 6:20PM
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Must not be any other Asians here, because our Must Have is our Zojirushi fuzzy logic rice cooker, esp. because we eat both brown and white rice. Unfortunately, it has a larger footprint than a regular rice cooker. Our other Must Have is the Instant Hot which is used multiple times per day.

IMHO, an Absolute Must Have is anything used at least three times per week. A Probable Must Have is anything used weekly. The really questionable items are used under once per month, so you have to weigh how you would manage without it, and the difficulty of storage and cost of replacement.

Then, there's the stuff my mom gave us and we never use like the fondue set and the George Forman grill. Unfortunately, they are not new in the box because we felt obligated to use them once since she kept asking, and we are worried that she might remember and ask us again. Thank goodness we have a basement!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 7:59PM
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To kitchenobsessed,

Does the Zojirushi cooker do a better job with brown rice than a less expensive rice cooker?

My husband is Korean and prefers white rice, while I prefer brown. However, the brown rice never seems to come out exactly right in our rather old, cheapo rice cooker.

On another note, my Cuisinart Little Pro Plus 3-cup food processor (not to be confused with the less powerful Mini Prep) is one of the best kitchen purchases I've made. It's small enough to keep on the counter, but it has a 600-watt motor and attachments for grating, slicing, juicing, etc. I've grated potatoes for hash browns, made batches of scones, sliced apples for cobbler, made fresh juice--it really does everything well. It might be too small for a large family, but if you're cooking for 4 people or fewer, it's a godsend.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 10:19AM
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mcgillicuddy: I just saw your posting. Yes, the Zojirushi does a better job with brown rice because it cooks it longer. It also has a setting for the *mixed rice* sold in Korean stores. Since the cooker has a *porridge* setting, I am thinking I might try using it for the Irish steel cut oats that I bought at Trader Joe's without reading the directions that say it shouldn't be microwaved, but rather cooked on the stove for something like an hour.

The Zojirushi has both delayed start and keep warm features so you don't have to worry about the rice drying out from being kept warm too long.

Raw rice dehydrates, and new crop rice needs less water than old rice. Thus, even the Zojirushi may require a bit of adjustment of the water to rice ratio when using a new bag of rice.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 9:53PM
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Well we gave up and had a separate processing kitchen designed into our new house. We process most of our own food so have meat grinders, sausage stuffers, wine/beer equipment, cereal roller mill, juicer, two Kitchen Aides and other such equipment. And we need a good place to hang rabbits, chickens, and other small livestock while processing. Our new house will only be 1176 sf but this processing kitchen is one of its highlights to us. Tom

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 4:10PM
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