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Confessions of a Kitchen Snob

By Cyndi Paxton Johnson

Ok, I admit it – I’m a kitchen critic. I dislike cutesy, new-fangled or gimmicky when it comes to my culinary tools. I’d rather have several solid items that serve me well than drawers full of single use items.  Seriously – an egg slicer? Chicken-shaped measuring cups?  A special plate for holding deviled eggs? 

Unfortunately, my dislike for tools with poor or single function does NOTHING to dissuade me from trying new gadgets in my Holy Grail search for the ULTIMATE KITCHEN TOOLS & APPLIANCES.   Here’s a few that have NOT lived up to criteria:

Champion Juicer – expensive and considered one of the best in the world, especially beneficial for Cancer patients (I’m told) – I find it annoying to clean and dislike BAGS of pulp byproduct – seems wasteful. 

Large Cuisinart Food Processor – also expensive – and works very well.  Was great for making scone dough, in addition to chopping. But – annoying to clean. (especially now that we have no dishwasher)

Kitchenaid Mixer – the next to highest model – but not powerful enough to handle double & triple batches of dough – which is what I make. 

So, now that I’ve dissed some of the largest names in the world of food preparation – what DO I like?

Appliances

Get free shipping when you order a Vita-Mix!Well, my new favorite kitchen tool (and the reason I’m selling the juicer and food processor) is the Vita-Mix.  I’d vaguely heard of it when I was intrigued by a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer commercial, and started searching online. Turns out THAT juicer/blender didn’t do too well in the reviews – everyone swore by the Vita-Mix, instead.   A couple of months later I was fortunate enough to attend a Vita-Mix demonstration – and I was sold.

I’m now the Smoothie Queen of the neighborhood – and we’re all enjoying a LOT more fruits and vegetables! Even when I make fruit smoothies I add some cabbage to the mix – it’s instantly emulsified and adds only sweetness and nutrients to the overall taste!  On slow, the Vita-Mix is also a food processor, chopping whole onions into manageable bits!

Best of all – it’s SO easy to clean – just add some warm water & dish detergent and turn it ON for 10 seconds. (don’t add more than the 2 cups of water directed – or you’ll have a sudsy Mount Vesuvius on your countertop – NOT that I’d ever DO that, of course! {Grin!})

I’ve made both hot soups and frozen desserts with my new love – and everything’s PACKED with nutrition. I add flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, coconut – just about anything – and it’s all liquefied for ease of consumption and digestion!  I haven’t tried making nut butters or grinding flour yet – but give me time!

Seriously – I can’t say ENOUGH good things about the Vita-Mix!  It’s expensive – but less so than buying several other cheaper appliances and being dissatisfied.  The Vita-Mix’s  2.5 Horsepower motor and 7 year warranty guarantee this is a powerhouse that delivers!

Now I’ll proveclick to learn more that expensive isn’t always necessary! Let’s talk COFFEE – one of the best parts of my day!  We’ve been through several expensive drip coffeepots and spent several years using the insulated French Press for our morning java.  Nothing measured up to the Americana’s (expresso & water) we enjoyed from Starbucks.  But expresso machines are 1)VERY expensive and 2) take up Counterspace!

But now we enjoy expresso, Americana and latte that are BETTER than Starbucks! We bought the $30 Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker from Amazon – and have never looked back! Easy to use, easy to clean and a $.99 cent gasket every year keeps it functioning well!  

Cookware

click to learn moreI love my well-used Le Crueset pots  - and suspect most enameled cast iron would work similarly. It absorbs the heat and distributes it, so foods cook THROUGH, not burn on the bottom.  They’re also beautiful (they come in a range of delicious colors and shapes)  and go from stove-top to oven to table.

They clean easily – a little baking soda helps with stubborn food – and will last – forever! They are heavy – but just consider lifting them part of your daily work-out! Two or three in assorted sizes and you’ll be set for life!

Baking Paraphernalia

I’m not overly picky about measuring tools – as long as they’re glass or metal, solid, and well marked.  I did find a fantastic LARGE measuring/mixing bowl – with pourable spout – from Pampered Chef.  I like that it came with a lid – although I’ve never needed to use it!click to learn more

Still seeking…

A powerhouse mixer that will knead triple batches of bread dough. 

I’d like to make pasta, ravioli, etc. What do I need?

A brand of solid baking sheets & muffin pans that will hold up to years of use!

So… any recommendations?  Please share them!

So there you have it – my kitchen confessions.  I may not live to cook (although I REALLY enjoy good food) but I believe in having the right tool for the job! It makes the entire process more enjoyable – and makes clean-up as painless as possible!

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