Gadgets Galore


Preparing a quick supper before leaving for work one morning, I stretched toward some shelves Mark put up in our kitchen and set out one of our three crockpots. The bulky looking shelves, a decorator’s disaster, hold our ever-growing overflow of small appliances.
Our coffee grinder found a place in our home early on, a wedding gift from my maid of honor, former college roommate, Carol Leontine. Our toaster oven, blender, cookie press, salad shooter, mixer and grill (Foreman-type) have established themselves on our countertops or in cupboards as time passed.
Space is premium; there is no place for them all: bread machine, ice cream maker, air popcorn popper, microwave browning rack, snowcone maker complete with flavored syrups, waffle iron with interchangeable plates for grilling, and mini chopper/processor that doubles as a coffee grinder (we should offer to help Starbucks since we’re so well equipped to grind coffee). Have I forgotten something?
Some of these, rarely used (we serve our ice cream from cardboard cartons; our popcorn from the microwave), are still looked forward to at those one or two times a year when we make ice cream for a picnic or pop quantities of popcorn to string for decorating.
As the U.S. housewares market steadily grows, manufacturers have expanded lines of kitchen gear beyond toaster ovens and blenders to some very specialized equipment. Push that blender aside and check out the single-serving smoothie maker that doubles as a car mug. Get that ballpark flavor by putting your franks on a countertop grill with heated bars that rotate each dog.
Let’s make room for a plastic case that does nothing more than carry a single cupcake without spoiling the frosting for $2.99? This reminds me of similar cases made to hold a serving of Pringles chips, often included in new lunchboxes. If we ever find the case sold alone, we’ll have one.
Consumers are looking for convenience, customization and – as always – something new. Consider: a rotisserie that can roast two chickens and steam vegetables at the same time, or a countertop oven that does everything from broil to toast


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