A new cooking toy, will it survive?

There was a time when this house was a shelter for kitchen gadgets much like it is for slightly crazed cats. They came from the store to seek refuge in my pantry, many of them rarely used. Some left to visit friends, never to return.

These days I’m pretty good at passing by new kitchen gadgets. There is no air fryer, rice cooker, soda machine or spiralizer here. In the past there was a bread maker and an ice cream machine. I bought an immersion blender and an electric knife sharpener. Some are winners like the last two which gets used often.

Some are good at what they do but go unused like the bread maker and ice cream machine. (Those were rehomed!)

For the past year I have struggled with a yearning for a sous vide gizmo to make perfect meat. I questioned whether it was a passing fancy.

Yes, I bought and wore these shoes a few decades ago!

I have a great many passing fancies. Most involve oddly colored but beautiful shoes. Since retirement I have learned about restraint. I’ve also learned to live more simply. I don’t need stuff.

(For those not familiar, the sous vide cooking method is a hot water bath that cooks the meat to the perfect temperature and no higher. The gizmo itself circulates the water around your meat which is sealed in a plastic pouch. You sear the outside of the meat either on the range or a grill and your meat should be as perfect as any fine restaurant. The meat is never overcooked or tough.)

The raging hormones that control these impulse purchases come out during winter. It is encouraged by endless nighttime and low temperatures. What is there to do but dream and look at stuff on-line? These purchases fuel my fantasies.

I checked the reviews. My favorite was one that started by saying “be sure you want one.” This guy knew me. He must have known about all the gadgets I have tried over the years and never used again. His warning wasn’t enough.

I bought the damn sous vide. Technically, just like with my computer, I bought two and returned the first one when I realized that it’s controlled by a cell phone. Seriously? If I’m cooking I don’t need to do it through a cell phone.

So now what? I had to download recipes. I received a cookbook as a gift. I had the stuff I needed including a nice steak already in my possession so I was ready to try it.

That was yesterday. As with many things (that will go unnamed) the first time is always full of fumbles. Where to do it. Should I put a hot pad underneath? Did I do it right? Are we gonna die? (Pizza place was on standby in case of a disaster.)

Dinner was good. As with everything else, I learned a few things that will make it better next time. Will this toy come out to play often? We’ll see. I’m not giving up my slow cooker. That is one kitchen gizmo I use often.

102 thoughts on “A new cooking toy, will it survive?

  1. I have a few friends who love their sous vide method of cooking! I think you’ll learn to rely on it! I’m more particular these days with kitchen impulse buying, but I do have a new Instant Pot and I love it! I use it every day for everything from hard boiled eggs to homemade tamales! I’m not sure when I gave up on wanting to make hard boiled eggs on the stove! LOL!

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  2. Before Mom and Dad became ill, I was heavily involved in my church. Cooking for large crowds was the norm. Throughout the week, my house was always filled with teenagers, and on Sundays I cooked in army pans because I never knew how many would show up. I have crockpots, buffet servers, bread machines, ladles that would reach to the bottom of the well, and kettles that you could boil a couple of turkeys in. Tonight for dinner I prepared a small meatloaf, a few potatoes and a can of green beans. All of that fancy stuff on the shelves, and I used a bread pan, and two small sauce pans.

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    • That’s how it is mostly at my house. I still use the crockpot but I got a small 4 qt. one. I have an 18 qt. roaster, buffet warmers but I did get rid of some of my big stuff I used for canning. For two people there is no point in canning. Life changes.

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  3. A sous vide gizmo. Now that’s a new one on me. It would be nice to cook the meat perfectly, though. I don’t like tough or dry meat. The colorful shoes (although with flat soles) would be more tempting to me.

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  4. Hi, Kate – I’m not sure what rock I’ve been living under…I have never seen or heard about this kitchen gadget before. As my kitchen is an extremely high rent distract (minimal cupboard and counter space), I really need to love and regularly use which devices that reside there. That being said, I adore my slow cooker … and would seriously give away my toaster or kettle before evicting it!

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  5. I’veen wanting a sou vide for a while, but I really don’t eat meat very often. It seems a crazy thing to buy. I’ve also been tempted by the instapot, but the price on that keeps me strong. Still there is a tax refund coming up…

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  6. I never heard of this before. Thanks for teaching me something new. I want a Ninja Pro blender, but it’s a bit pricey for me at this point. Not to mention, I’d probably use it a lot at first, but then lose interest after a while. Like you, been there done that before.

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  7. It was interesting to read through the comments of this post. I’m indifferent towards kitchen gadgets. Maybe it’s because I don’t really like cooking, so … meh.
    InstaPots – meh. My slow cooker is just fine. I didn’t use the pressure cooker much back in the 80s when I had one, so why would I consider an updated version of one now?
    I am intrigued by the sous vide though. Truth is, I don’t cook much meat because Husband is normally in charge of that. I do the vegetables. I’m pretty sure that if I put ‘water’ and ‘meat’ in the same sentence, he would veto it before the sentence was even finished 😉

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  8. This is perfect because my wife and I were just discussing the other day about the money we’ve (ahem, she’s?) spent on kitchen gadgets. Just about everything she’s bought does get used, but at a certain point it does become overload. Do you really need that? Is it important? All good things to consider. Cool shoes, btw. 🙂 – Marty

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    • The important thing is that it is used. So many trending items quickly fall out of favor because they are cumbersome, difficult to clean, hard to store or disappointing in some way. If she is using stuff you are ahead of the game.

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  9. I’m happy to know that I’m not the only one who is conflicted about kitchen gadgets. Let’s see… I have a soda stream (for water only, no flavored drinks), an immersion blender, a food processor, a vacuum sealer, and a crockpot (there are probably more, but I forget). I’ve been tempted by rice cookers (I have bought one multiple times, then returned them when I decided that it would be just as easy to use a pot on the stove), and now, of course, I want an InstaPot. We’ll see if I give in to that urge (hubby says we don’t have room and – darn him – he’s right).

    I’ve tasted a lot of sous vide cooking as part of my last job (which involved working with chefs in a commercial kitchen) and I think it’s a great way to prepare meat. I’ve never done it myself but it sounds intriguing. I remember one of the biggest challenges, besides ensuring the meat is cooked to a safe temperature, is making the meat look yummy – not that sickly gray color it is when first cooked.

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  10. Seems that everyone here in southwest Iowa is playing with their Instant Pots. I grew up with an on the stove pressure cooker. I love my Power Cooker (like an Instant Pot, just not the name) because it cooks wild rice perfectly and many other things. Sure I like my slow cookers, but this pot does it better. I think our local bar may be doing the sous vide thing with their steaks and they are darn good. Saturday night steaks and salad bar for us – a regular date. We don’t have a grill here, except for a George Foreman. I never learned to cook well with it, but it’s easy to clean since the plates come out.

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    • Instant Pots are the latest and greatest. I have too many crock pots to add another similar gizmo but would consider it if I have to replace one. I hear restaurants use sous vide cooking because it ensures perfectly cooked steaks. Our local bar has an open griddle area so you can see them cooking and they do not use it.

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  11. Your new toy sounds exotic but I had never heard of it, but I am not much of a kitchen gadget person and don’t have a lot of cabinet storage space. My basics are George Foreman grill (two), bread machine, Fry Daddy and crock pot. I do love looking at small gadgets. My shoes are pretty basic these days – black, brown, metallic – but will admit to having some bold colors way back.

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  12. I am not a kitchen gadgeter but my husband is. We have a fizzy drink maker and a sealer that are the most recent products. Slightly irritating that he gets them for ME for Christmas (to make my life easier?) but I’ve never asked for any of them. The kitchen is not my favorite place for gadgetry…scrapbooking tools? That’s a different story!

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  13. I was one of those ‘don’t need stuff to clutter what little counter space I have’ people. Then we renovated and doubled the counter space so now I have a sodastream. And a food processor. But not a Kitchen Aid. Apparently everyone worth their salt has a Kitchen Aid. (Not me.)

    I never even heard of your meat gadget. But I am glad to hear no one died, or had to eat stand-by pizza. 🙂

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    • Having counter space is wonderful although I don’t like a lot of clutter. We have a toaster (purely for my husband) and coffeemaker on the counter. My processor is a Cuisinart which was state of the art when I bought it 30 years ago (in a cabinet). I do have a KitchenAid mixer. It’s a big one but it’s not on the counter either. I have it on a cart in a closet and wheel it out when I use it. This new toy isn’t very big. It’s in a soup pot in the picture.

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  14. Your two photos define my daughter and me. Lise has TONS of shoes and boots. Someone dared her to count them, and she was shocked when she did. I adore kitchen gadgets. I’ll admit the ice cream maker has not been utilized, but we should use it in the summer when the grandsons are here. My newest was a Christmas gift — an air fryer. I ruined some perfectly good carrots, but after that, we loved potato slices, sweet potato bites, and catfish. When the snow melts, I’ll pick up the book I have on hold at the library. There is ONE air fryer cookbook for the whole city! Once I read it, I’ll know if I need to buy one. I enjoyed reading about your new toy.

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    • When I worked I counted my shoes and was shocked. I have a 6′ tall cabinet with shoe shelves. In addition I had “off season” shoes stored elsewhere. Since retiring I have gotten rid of many of them and don’t buy often. The shoes pictured matched a silk dress I had in the 90s. Sadly both are gone. One of my friends has an air fryer and loves it. You are wise about reading a cookbook first. Too many have few recipes you would use. My book has chapters on desserts and making ice cream. I wouldn’t use this for that! There isn’t a recipe I would make in the poultry chapter either. Too much foo-foo.

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  15. We have too many, but that is just according to me. Everyone needs two waffle irons. It’s been so long since one was used, I can’t remember what it looks like. I need to have a yard sale, I could get rich. Then, after Michelle found out, I could get dead!

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  16. Most specialized electric gizmos accumulated over the years (as gifts) are long gone ~> the ice crusher, the ice cream maker, the milkshake maker, the burger cookers, the electric fry pan, etc.

    What I still own and use ~> food processor, Ninja, bread maker, and submersible blender. I also have an electric citrus juicer which I use if I want a lot of juice. If I’m just juicing one lemon or lime, I use a glass juicer (antique) and hand power. When the electric juicer breaks, it won’t be replaced.

    I’m tempted by the Instant Pot ~> the base to my slow cooker is fine but I don’t have a pot to go on top (the original pot’s non-stick interior got beat up). In the meantime, I’ve been making soup on the stove the old-fashioned way ~> in my Witch’s Cauldron. 😀

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  17. This is also a new gizmo to me. And since my dear husband says he no longer wants, eats or likes meat I won’t be purchasing it. However, I have purchased an air fryer. LOVE it! Still mastering it, but it seems to be delivering on all the hype I have heard about one.

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  18. Ha! Once again we are twin personalities. I pride myself on keeping kitchen gadgets out. I am older than y ou so have had more experience in the art of resistance. Am down to hand operated everything….. would go back to campfire cooking if I wouldn’t look ridiculous. Good luck with the sous thing though. If you have a good report I may be tempted. 😁

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  19. We have a sous vide. My husband uses it constantly and honestly, the steaks and chicken he makes with it are amazing. He buys relatively inexpensive cuts of meat, seals them up in a zip lock with spices, herbs, marinades and then cooks them in the bath. Then he will sear on the stove or barbeque. Cheap cuts become much more tender, and nothing is ever dried out. The thing I like best from it is turkey burgers – yup – turkey burgers.

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  20. Instant pots seemed to be the thing this year along with air fryers. Or how about a toaster oven with an air fryer? As for the Instant pots, I have 4 slow cookers (Really?!), one larger, two mid size and one small and a pressure pan as well as a pressure canner. I don’t make yogurt and like you don’t cook enough rice to bother. I’ve heard of your new gizmo; will be interested to see your reaction after you have used it for awhile. Can you cook veggies etc using it?

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    • Don’t have an instant pot either. I have 3 crock pots and a large roaster which can double as a slow cooker and I use all of these. Yes on veggies. Looking forward to doing carrots. You can do ahead, cool and then finish with something later in week or freeze. I buy carrots in 5 lbs. bags so that’s good. There are other vegetable recipes too. Like all other specialty equipment, the cookbook has some ridiculous chapters…desserts and ice cream, crème brulee. Seriously if I make ice cream it won’t be with a sous vide machine!

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  21. I have not heard of this gizmo, yet I am intrigued. However, like you, impulse shopping victims also come here to die. Sometimes I feel bad for them when I open the cabinet that has become their final resting place because I’m too lazy to return them or give false hope to trying them again.

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    • It’s a restaurant technique for cooking meats, particularly high-end steaks to a perfect temperature. (You can google it.) I’m not a big meat eater but when I do eat it, I don’t like it dried out, tough or stringy. I rarely eat chicken breast anywhere but at my own home. Most people overcook it. Pork chops are another meat that is often dry and tough. I thought I would give this a try after my step-daughter raved about it. I’m still in the learning curve so I’m not sure if it will be a favorite. So far it’s created extra work in the finishing process but when the weather breaks we will try to sear on a very hot grill outside. I gave my bread maker (a holdout from 20 years ago) away last year. My niece was using it and enjoying it. Makes wonderful bread but I’m not into break baking anymore. Phases of life…

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  22. I’ve never heard of this Kate. We don’t have meat often, and if we do I sort of boil it water in the frying pan with a lid. Keeps it moist and tasty. I love my pressure cooker though. Ideal this time of year when we’re having stews (day 2 of another 3 dayer today)

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  23. I’ve never heard of sous vide cooking method. It sounds too complicated for me, a woman who loves her crock pot. I will, however, put in a good word for a rice cooker. We got one over the holidays, and I love how foolproof it is to make rice. Just saying… should you lift your ban on new “exotic” kitchen gadgets.

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