do doublle duty
a helping hand
By Jennifer Heyns
ARE YOU one of those
people who have a kitchen
counter lined with small appliances,
each with its own special function? Well, it’s
time to get creative.
Tom Douglas, Seattle restaurateur and Costco
member, says that he loves using small appliances to
help him prepare meals for large groups.
“They are one less employee I have to hire,” he
jokes. “They’re like an extra set of hands.”
Many small appliances are more versatile than
you think. We asked several professional cooks and
appliance representatives for ideas. Here’s a look.
Rice cooker: Cooking rice is just one of the
great things it can do, according to Bob Trout, independent representative for Aroma, a manufacturer
of rice cookers.
Add chicken and chiles to the cooker along with
the rice for an entire meal. Rice cookers can also be
used to make soups and to steam vegetables.
FoodSaver: Also known as a lifesaver in many
households, this fairly new kitchen gadget is
designed to vacuum-pack food. But users have
found it to be handy in many other ways. In fact,
the manufacturer, Tilia, has an entire section of its
Web site (
direct.com) dedicated to consumer write-ins about the
new uses they’ve found
for their FoodSaver.
Tips include sealing
open tubes of caulk
or glue or paint-sat-urated paintbrushes
to keep them from
drying up, making
individual servings of
”dog food or laundry
detergent to take on
trips and vacuum packing sweaters to store them
Coffee grinder: Whole spices,
such as cloves or cumin seeds, can be combined in
the grinder to create various rubs or freshly ground
to be used by themselves. (Be sure to clean thoroughly
so the spices and coffee don’t flavor each other the
next time you use it.) Blade-type grinders can also
be used to grind nuts; burr grinders are best left to
grinding coffee beans only.
Douglas, who sees being a chef as “the highest
profession in the land,” uses his coffee grinder for
spices so often that he keeps a second one dedicated for this purpose.
Food processor: Who says you can’t teach an old
appliance new tricks? Chef Michelle Bernstein, Oster
spokeswoman, enjoys making quick fruit ices with
her food processor.
“Freeze the fruit mixture overnight in a shallow
metal pan. The next morning put it in the processor
and pulse until smooth, working in small batches,”
When you are finished processing, refreeze in
individual servings and serve when ready.
Toaster oven: Just right for the mini-chef!
Children can use toaster ovens to practice making
their own gourmet meals, sort of a substitute Easy-Bake Oven, or for crafts such as Shrinky Dinks—both
with plenty of adult supervision, of course.
Cut-ups: Susan McCorkindale, a freelance
writer and former marketing director for Family
Circle, has many uses for another kitchen tool.
“I use my pizza cutter for cutting up spaghetti
or pancakes or slicing sandwiches in half more
quickly,” she says.
No doubt, small kitchen appliances were designed
to make our lives easier, but used creatively (and
safely) they can really be indispensable. C
WHETHER YOU LOVE to
cook or only dabble in culinary endeavors, the new
Kirkland Signature™ 14-
piece hard-anodized cookware set is a practical
addition to any kitchen.
I’m excited about this
set for several reasons.
First, the tulip shape bows
slightly at the top, a trendy
design that reflects what’s
popular in other brands. The
frying pans have an extra
flare at the rim to make
removing food easier. The
set also features stainless
steel handles, an ultra-smooth exterior and DuPont-technology nonstick surface.
Another new feature of
this set is an 8-inch frying
pan, which replaces the
square griddle in the previous set. Other pieces
include two additional frying
pans, three covered
saucepans and a stockpot
with a steamer insert.
Unlike comparable cookware that has a nearly $300
price tag, this Kirkland
Signature collection sells
Regardless of your cooking expertise, it really is the
You’ll find small appliances from
blenders to toaster ovens at
your local Costco warehouse
and at costco.com.
The author is a Virginia-based freelance writer who
enjoys the country air surrounding her home and sharing it with her family.
To see new items
for holiday entertaining,
turn to page 66 in the
“What’s New” section.