Friday, September 14, 2012

Principles of Acquisition

My husband and I recently had a small squabble about how to cook rice. He thought we (I) needed a rice cooker, whereas I resisted, more comfortable with my old-fashioned pots and pans. I had similarly tried to persuade our kids that an ice cream scoop was an unnecessary possession in a house with an ample collection of spoons.

As such household debates have unfolded I've come to realize we operate on different principles. I want to have as few tools as possible, but all of them multi-purpose. (Same girl wants to have one purse or one pair of shoes that goes with everything). Hubs is by no means extravagant - he wants to justify every purchase on multiple grounds. But he does like his shiny tools, and he tends to think anything must be better if there's a cord to plug it in.

Our kitchen has lots of storage space and our wedding guests flooded us with department store gift cards, so the happy solution is that we make room for both approaches. We have the space for both pots and pans, and the small appliances... for universally useful utensils, and for specialized ones.

We got the rice cooker. It works fine and will probably stick or spill less than my rice cooked on the stove. Those ten-pound bag of frozen chicken and a 20-pound bag of rice from Costco should mean there's always something in the house to make for dinner. And since Hubs likes the gadgets, I'll have no qualms delegating the dinner-making back to him - at least in theory. It would help if we weren't both overextended these days. I may have to give in and buy the story about how getting a crock pot would make our lives easier too. So far I have resisted.   

  1. What household tools and appliances have you found the most delightful? What do you use the most? 
  2. Which ones seem a waste of space and money for you? What stays in the drawer or cupboard?


Megan Noel said...

i have been having this conversation with myself and specifically about a rice cooker. i always cook mine on the stove and that's fine. i don't have a lot of spilling over or sticking issues. but whenever i go to the backmans, karen puts some rice on in case i get hungry. and i like the texture of their rice from their very nice rice cooker. i may end up getting one if i can find a small one (maybe at uwajimaya). but i don't really NEED one. i suppose i can justify it a bit since rice is my main grain staple.

maybe you can try some of these other things:

Megan Noel said...

oh, also, i got TWO bags of rice from costco. i wonder how long that will last. i think i am about half way through the 1st one.

Marti said...

Well, they are not really very expensive. I'll let you know what I think of this one. After I was done grumbling about trying to figure out the instructions I realized it was easier than the old way, even if the old way wasn't so tricky.

Quite the first-world problem, eh? As I finished writing this post I remembered the kitchen in my house in Sofarawayistan. Gas stove, sink, kettle, soup pot, fridge, a couple dull knives, and that was it. No oven, microwave, mixer, coffeemaker, griddle, blender, grinder, food processor, or dishwasher. House didn't have a vacuum, washing machine, or drier, either... No long distance service, no internet - and frequently enough, no electricity. How'd we survive?!

Jenni said...

I kind of went through the same thing with a rice cooker, but my dilemma ended when my mom bought me one for Christmas. I slowly started using it and now use it almost exclusively to make rice (and quinoa as well). I use a crock pot maybe once a week too if I think about it, but I don't always like how soft the meat turns out in it. What I have really enjoyed using is an upscale toaster oven that bakes as well (Breville).

Justin Long said...

We bought (mostly me) a rice cooker at one point. However we did without it during the one year we spent in the missionary house in TX and I found that a pot of boiled rice actually tends to cook faster than the rice cooker seemed to! The rice cooker was nice in that it didn't use another burner, but I honestly haven't used it since we moved into the house.