Fit to be Fried

How often we must replace household appliances might reveal more about us than we think.

Take my iron, for example. My parents bought me my first iron when I married 36 years ago. It lasted 20 years until I dropped it and cracked the water reservoir. No, that’s not a testament about how things used to last longer; it’s more an indictment of how little it was used.

I thought about that while doing my biannual ironing atop the same ironing board I received with the original iron all those years ago.

We still have our wedding gift blender, though I haven’t dug it out of the pantry in years. Our coffee makers, however, need replacing on an alarmingly regular basis. We’ve lost count of how many we’ve been through. Of course, we’ve burned up several coffee grinders, as well. And just in case we cannot wait for a pot to brew, we’re on our second Keurig machine.

While raising our four sons, we also wore out several vacuums. Our most notable vacuum-cleaner catastrophe occurred one year just before guests were due to arrive over the Christmas holidays.

My ever-helpful spouse was cleaning up the pine needles beneath the tree and sucked up the tree lights cord. It killed our vacuum and sadly destroyed lights that we’ve never been able to replace. They had three color settings AND played Christmas carols!

Speaking of cleaning, one year for my birthday my mother gave me a steam mop. I didn’t exactly jump up and down when I opened it, but after one use I became a convert and have never looked back. I’m on my second steam mop.

Electric can openers had to be replaced regularly until Derek pointed out that manual openers were easier to operate, didn’t break and didn’t take up coveted counter space.

Some things seem to last forever, no matter how often we use them. The only reason we bought our current slow cooker is because we wanted a newer model. We kept our 20-year-old one as a backup.

Of course, there’s always some new gadget that marketers promise will make our lives easier. Remember the bread machine fad of the early 2000s?

Instant pots have dominated the kitchen scene for a few years, but seem to be losing steam. I didn’t buy into the hoopla. I don’t care that it can cook a pot roast super fast – pot roasts are meant to be cooked slowly – ditto soup.

That’s what Crock-Pots are for. I can dump the ingredients in before I leave for work and come home to a dinner that’s ready to serve.

That’s not to say I’m opposed to change. We recently added two new appliances we didn’t know we needed.

When my sister-in-law started renting out her downstairs as an Airbnb, she said she furnished it with a microwave and an egg cooker.

“An egg cooker?” I said. “That’s what Derek’s for.”

I only eat breakfast on weekends and that’s because he makes it.

She assured me it made perfect poached eggs and soft-boiled them just the way Norwegians love them. I found an inexpensive one and gave it to my husband.

He tried it the same weekend as our other new addition – an air fryer. Our sons all have air fryers, but I couldn’t imagine why we’d need one.

“We don’t eat fried foods,” I’d explained.

But on a trip to Costco, we succumbed to an impulse buy and came home with a 7-quart air fryer.

The next morning, Derek made poached eggs in the egg cooker and bacon in the fryer. Both were fabulous!

I begin looking for other things for him to air fry. Why Derek? Well, I’m terrified of new technology and I also don’t follow printed instructions well. I’m also sexist enough to believe air fryers like grills and smokers are best handled by the male of the species. (Not really, but I have been cooking for men for 36 years, and I’m getting kind of tired.)

Despite the claims of healthier cooking through air frying, our waistlines may be showing the adverse effects of our impulse buy. Our freezer now contains things like chicken wings and what Derek calls fish sticks.

I corrected him. “No, they are beer-battered cod fillets!”

We do plan to try air frying things like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, but Derek’s already pondering an upgrade.

“I could cook more bacon at one time if we had a bigger basket,” he said.

I’m not sure how much bacon two people need at one time, but I think I’m about to find out.


UPDATE: Dear Reader, It’s been 5 months and we have yet to air fry ANY vegetables– unless you count French fried potatoes and onion rings. Buyer beware!

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