When we are downsizing, no matter what the reason, we’re facing a situation that is just as much “smaller” in the kitchen as we are everywhere else. The bigger and more fitted out your previous kitchen was, the more painful the downsizing experience can be when you go to cook in your new downsized digs. In terms of small appliances for the kitchen, it quickly becomes apparent that not everything is going to fit, nor is everything really necessary.
I had a number of small appliances that made my life easier, and in the downsized travel trailer, it was more than obvious that they weren’t all going to work. My beloved KitchenAid mixer was one of the first casualties of space, as it went on long term “loan” to my daughter, with the promise that she would give it up when we moved into slightly larger quarters again. It was replaced with a much more compact hand mixer and hand blender.
Another couple of favorite appliances were my rice cooker and slow cookers. One of them at a time could be used, not only for counter space, but electrical usage as well. Combining them into one space hog for storage would cut my storage needs in half, while allowing me to use the same functions I had always enjoyed. Finding such an appliance could, however, be a bit tricky.
I found it. It’s a Wolfgang Puck Bistro Elite 10 cup multi-cooker, doing everything the previous two appliances did…in the same footprint, and with some improvements as well. It can BROWN things, a feature that the old slow cooker never dreamed of. In addition, the insert is not a massive crockery liner that weighs a ton to lift.
Okay, it IS bigger than my old rice cooker, and it can cook 10 cups of rice, something it wouldn’t ever do in one batch. But it also automatically times to cook brown rice, as well as the traditional white rice, a feature I love. I’ll also admit, it got shoved into a corner when I first got it, a bit surprised at its massive capacity compared to the old 4 cup rice cooker. (I had mail ordered it, so the surprise was when the box arrived on our doorstep.) Finally, I was tired of instant rice, and wanted to try it out…and fell in love.
I’ve made stews in it, I’ve slow cooked meat in it, I’ve made beans in it, I’ve cooked lots of rice in it, and it has delivered most of our meals for the last three weeks with absolute ease. It also cleans easily, with the single exception of the lid, which is attached to the outer case and doesn’t remove for the trip to the sink. So far, a damp cloth has done the trick though.
While everything from the budget to the space is shrinking, (except for our waists, they don’t seem to shrink!) its nice to find something that does double duty plus a little extra, keeping life simple and easy to manage. I also love the cost-cutting ability we now have to toss the ingredients into the cooker, turn it on, and head out into the world to do whatever the day has on its agenda…and when we come home, we have dinner ready. No temptation to stop for fast food or take out means that our meals stay in budget too.
I guess this cooker has me happy about the downsizing process instead of aggravated with the lack of space. This works, and works well, and with the latching lid, it’s easy to store despite its rather large size. It just goes to prove…if you look, sooner or later, you can find a product that helps with the downsizing without compromising quality or performance.