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Your view: what are your most desired kitchen gadgets?

Food mixer

Research this week professed that the average household owns seven kitchen gadgets. I spouted that I had nowhere near that. In fact, when I counted, I owned six. Here’s how many you lot own.

I confessed in the comments section that I own a kettle, toaster, coffee machine, mini-chopper, electric whisk and electric scales! All I need to buy is that juicer I fancy and I’ll be ‘average’.

So what are the Which? Convo community hiding in their kitchen cupboards? Lee Beaumont says he owns a total of four (which seems suspiciously few):

‘I have a Philips HR1861 Whole Fruit Juicer that I use everyday, it’s awesome. I have a Breville VKJ142 Hot Cup Dispenser (that really is a kettle), a table top hob that I use to cook on as I will not use the massive oven, and lastly, Breville VST025 Sandwich Press that I use to fry on, make toast on and even cook chicken on for my dog.’

Norm owns a very healthy collection:

‘Food processor, blender, stick blender, toaster, sandwich maker, expresso machine, food mixer (old style) Qooker so no kettle. The only thing I would miss is the toaster.’

Counting your kitchen gadgets

It’s another story for our very own Sam Kennedy, who owns an impressive 10:

‘I’ve never really thought about it… let’s count: microwave (did live without one for a year, that was enough), toaster, stick blender thing with various attachments, steamer (gift – never used), espresso machine (used lots, bought 2nd hand from an ex-colleague), electronic scales x 2 (one broken), kettle and a meat thermometer. That’s 9 (or 8 if you don’t count my broken scales), I didn’t think it would be that many! Wait, coffee grinder – that’s 10…. think that’s it…’

Wavechange is doubling up some of his gadgets:

‘Food processor, hand mixer, two liquidisers (different sizes), two coffee machines (filter and pressure), coffee grinder, digital scales and a slow cooker. Plus the microwave and kettle if we must include such things.

‘Among the things I have but don’t use are an electric carving knife and can opener. I did not buy either of them.’

The gadgets you can’t live without

However, it’s a tie between Beryl and Malcolm R for the record of most gadgets:

‘Gadgets I couldn’t live without are: Kettle, coffee makers (I have three but only use one so the other two are surplus to requirements), toaster, cheese grater, microwave oven which doubles as a convector and combi so I never have to use my large cooker oven except for boiling stuff on the gas hob rings on occasion.

‘The rest I can live quite happily without, which include food processor, electric hand mixer, nicer dicer chopper that has so many bits and pieces (I have never been able to fathom which bit chops what because the instructions are all written in German), electric meat carver, stubborn lid remover that makes such a din that it has been relegated to a bottom drawer forever silenced and replaced by a pair of rubber gloves and the offending lid placed under the hot tap which usually works. A total of twelve altogether but reckon I only need five. Time for a good clean out I guess!’

Here’s Malcolm R’s 12 and I’ll be ignoring the mention of Mrs R:

‘In order of use:

• Mrs R
• Kettle, Toaster, Microwave – I couldn’t agree that these are gadgets – used regularly
• Food processor, Electric Scales, Mini Whisk – used occasionally
• Coffee Grinder (must use – Ilike coffee but buy ground), Bread Maker (also must use – it is just getting back into the habit – great bread and always fresh) – these are rarely used at present
• Juicer, Egg Boiler (a present, good, but easier to use a pan), Sandwich Toaster (novelty wore off) – not used
• Deep Fat Frier – despite pleadings for real chips, disallowed. Never been used.

‘That’s 12 excluding the best gadget who isn’t electric so she probably can’t be included.’

However, I want to move this debate beyond the kitchen gadgets you own (and yes I know, a microwave isn’t really a ‘gadget’). Why don’t we talk about the kitchen gadgets you most desire? A popcorn maker? A candyfloss maker? A Hot Cup Dispenser (whatever that is Lee!)?


What I want most in a kitchen is a self cleaning work tops and floors, along with a sexy female robot chef with a great cookery repertoire and a nice voice!

I was tempted to suggest my top gadget to dbt, but realise cloning has not reached such an advanced stage.
One of our conversations goes “what would you like for dinner” “I don’t know what have we got”. A gadget (or would it be an app?) that I would find invaluable is one that records the food you put in your fridge-freezer and larder, advises you when it needs using, and provides meal suggestions and recipes to use the ingredients that you have in stock.

The advent of the what have we got in the freezer/larder is not that far away at all as bar scanners can do that already. In fact there is no reson why you could not construct a spreadsheet and update it daily with purchses in and out.

Where it is home freezing just select categories and record how much wieght frozen peas and, blackbeerries used.

I would like a bean-to-cup coffee maker, but they take up a lot of space and are expensive. What really puts me off are tales of unreliability and high repair costs. I think I will wait until I can buy one with a ten year warranty at an affordable price.

I guess I will have to continue to desire one of these coffee makers unless Which? would like to send me one to evaluate its long-term reliability. 🙂

Please Which? can I evaluate one too?

We compromised and have a Dualit bean grinder which is quite small and sits neatly behind the coffee maker, so you grind the beans and put it straight in the coffee maker. We still think the plunge type coffee makers are the best flavour.

This is the Hot Cup Dispenser I have: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Breville-VKJ142-Hot-Cup/dp/B001L5SSGQ/

I really do love it as I just need to pop a tea bag into my cup, turn it on and by the time I have been to the cupboard to get one of my sachets of uht milk the water has already boiled and the tea is ready for the milk.

Energy saving AND tea in a flash, what more could I ask for :p

renniemac says:
20 August 2014

I would really love a Kenwood food mixer, the one that you add extras to like, mincer, juicer, blender. oh! yes and self cleaning. I always think if I had one of these I could ditch my processor, juicer, electric hand mixer. or maybe I’ll just save money and keep the gadgets I have. actually I wouldn’t call them gadgets as they are some of the items I use on a daily basis. I am an avid cook and baker. but I would love the mixer to make bread cakes as the old whipping arm is not good these days. ( keep the smut out of your minds re last statement please) to me a gadget is things like doughnut maker, waffle maker and the likes. Novelty items. we always say we want! just to collect dust

Love myKenwood mixer. I use the mixer and blender quite regularly and have even used the juice attachment ( only with oranges though). No better tool and it doesn’t even use that much space.

colin says:
16 July 2015

looking to buy a pop corn maker, cannot see any reviews ??

Viv says:
18 July 2017

Why would you need a popcorn maker? A large
saucepan makes plenty and is soooo exciting – ‘specially if you take the lid off to have a peek!!

Right now, my most desired kitchen gadget is ACCURATE kitchen scales.

I was in JL the other day and tested the ones on show, firstly with a light object, then a heavier object. They all recorded different weights. So impossible to choose.

So I look at Which? product reviews but see kitchen scales have not been tested.

Fascinating – I’m currently using portable pocket electronic scales and an old sprung dial kitchen scale for my bread making.

That way I can measure small weights to a precision of 0.1g and larger weights to a precision of 10g.

I have no idea about the absolute or relative accuracy of either scale, but the bread is coming out nicely 🙂

Some of the earlier electronic scales had a couple of calibration screws, but I don’t think these are accessible on modern ones. If you are keen you could look for some calibration weights on eBay. Bags containing known numbers of coins could be useful for checking scales.

Even a single calibration weight can be useful. As well as checking that the display shows 100g when loaded with a 100g weight, check that the indicated weight increases by this amount when other weights are already on the scales.

I’m disappointed by your findings, Alfa, because the ones I have checked in the past few years have been remarkably good. I wonder if quality has deteriorated.

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I find a set of greengrocer’s scales with a large pan and heavy brass weights is best for gold and silver. It’s a bit ostentatious lugging it all down to Boots and putting it on the big weighing machine in the doorway.

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I don’t personally operate the portcullis, Duncan.

I wouldn’t have a Roller, far too flashy.

Indeed. The poor man’s Bentley. And don’t moats take a lot of looking after? Lost two footmen in ours this month alone.

When you think about it, drawbridge and portcullis technology was incredibly effective and yet very simple. So long as you had a big team of stonemasons, carpenters and blacksmiths you could keep out the hostile hordes. And with some well positioned machicolations you could pour boiling oil on their heads if they got too close. Trouble is, if you want to pop out in the car to get a newspaper and some milk it takes about half an hour to get the gateway open. Ringing the bell when you get back is a bit of a performance as well.

Another shortcoming – or drawback – was that the technology could not stop junk marketing and sales messages being delivered by bow and arrow.

In the worst known case, the arrows used for the unexpected arrival of these entreaties caused actual injuries, when they penetrated the recipients’ mail armour.

Hence the problem became known as nuisance mail shots.

Like most youngsters, I suppose, I was fascinated by Castles and associated add-ons, but despite what we hear about trebuchets and tunnelling most attacks seemed to result in lengthy sieges. Hence the need to keep the kitchen well stocked with the latest gadgetry – scullery maids and whopping boys, and above all to ensure the castle was built on top of a reliable water source. Popping out to the local Spar for a few bottles of Aqua Vita wasn’t really an option.

But the French became adept at chucking decomposing horses and cattle via Trebuchet over the castle walls. Wonder if Airbnb was around then?

Is there a government initiative to build affordable castles?

Problem with our portcullis was when we forgot the keys – and hadn’t been paying the serfs staff a living wage.

I would like a barcode scanner to help compile a list of what I have purchased before it is consigned to fridge, freezer and cupboards, together with ‘use by’ date if applicable. The date is not currently part of a barcode, as far as I am aware, so would need to be entered manually for the time being.

Being a mere male I have always eschewed shopping lists but viewing a stock list before heading for the supermarket could avoid unnecessary purchases.

wavechange – did you know that there are smart phone apps that claim to do this?

The iPhone apps are good in that respect. I have a bar code scanner, which I got to catalogue our book collection (still took an eternity) but you also need the software with the scanner, to resolve the codes into useful names. The Mac’s ‘Delicious Library’ is the one I used for the books. But we have a lot of books…

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Duncan – I expect most smart phone users are capable of typing “bar code scanner” into their app stores search engines, so we should not worry about posting links.

For a pragmatic view of smart phone security:

a) iPhone users should only use reputable apps from the Apple Store;

b) private Android users (myself included) are probably all doomed anyway.

One of my friends takes little of no care to manage the effects of her Android phone on her digital footprint. That said, she has noticed that, after she gets home from Aldi, her phone invites her to rate her experience at Aldi. So “they know” she’s been to Aldi but is now back home again.

I’m aware of smartphone apps that scan barcodes but not a system of stock control.

Ian – Have you considered using bibliographic software and importing the information from one or more online databases? I used to have my own database with details of thousands of papers, some books, patents and other resources. Nothing needed to be typed other than any of my own notes. I have not had a use for this sort of software since I retired.

That’s what Delicious Library does, Wave. It’s not been defeated by much, although a 17thC Shakespeare Folio had it stumped 🙂

Excellent. There’s no point in typing in anything that is already in a database.

A problem will arise with all those items bought loose – fresh fruit and veg for example. I hope they don’t start barcoding each carrot. So you’ll need a hybrid system. Our food stock is not large enough to need any more than a manual check, and putting earlier use-buy items at the front.

I’ve just resurrected a small battery-operated whisk/milk frother a bit like this, except the handle is a much more tasteful red and white plastic chef concealing the 2x AA batteries. A whizz at stirring up sauces, milky drinks – including cocoa leaving no lumps at all – and even batter in small quantities.

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So the Georgian well might become your most desired kitchen gadget?

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…along with Georgian Typhoid…

At least in Georgian times there was little risk of glyphosate getting into water supplies. I’m not suggesting that Duncan is using it but not everyone avoids herbicides.

Raw sewage might possibly be more dangerous than Glyphosate. Cholera was an unpleasant side effect of drinking water, I believe. Sewercide rather than herbicide.

Yet there are far more pathogenic nasties in your throat than in your colon. One reason why spitting’s so dangerous.

Trams and buses in my day had prominent notices – “No spitting”. Don’t see those nowadays. I don’t remember, even then, spitting being a widespread activity. Did it stem from chewing tobacco?

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I don’t believe it originated with the downtrodden. There are Shakespearean references in Lear and the lesser-known Timon of Athens, and spitting itself seem to have been widespread among the nobility in Mediaeval Britain. But 3000 years earlier, the bible has references in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Job and Isaiah, and these mostly related to insulting behaviour.

I thought it was a footballing habit.

I’m sure the warning in buses and other places was connected with the unhealthy trades and work-places that many people had to endure without any safety protection. The death rate due to respiratory, tubercular and pulmonary conditions was quite high in those days. High standards of personal hygiene were more difficult to maintain as well.

Might be good to have “No Sneezing” or “No Coughing” notices 🙁 . How many do this without a handkerchief to protect others?

I think we’ve been diverted by Glyphosate from the topic of “kitchen gadgets”. Our lobster pick (think that’s what it is) is never used for its intended purpose – the poor can’t afford lobsters – but is good at getting anchovies out of their tight cluster in narrow jars (pizza is not the same without them, nor a nice salad), and to spear olives and pickled onions.

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I wonder what the best kitchen gadgets were in those days? I remember a Kenwood Whisk being a prized possession, helping the popularity of lemon meringue pie.

I still have my mother’s Spong Bean Slicer [circa 1946]. It is still very good at preparing runner beans for cooking and was used again a few days ago.

Back in the fifties when I was a young lad my mother had a translucent green plastic egg box for up to 12 eggs. I suspect it pre-dated the purchase of the new-fangled English Electric refrigerator, but that became its habitat. After my parents died I kept the seemingly worthless object among other ephemera from the past. Some years ago I bought a self-defrosting fridge and found that cardboard egg boxes became soaked from contact with the back wall, so I now transfer my eggs to my mum’s old polystyrene (?) egg box. I’m sure I could buy a nice new box but there is something satisfying about one that is 60 years old still doing a good job. I’m not sure what became of the Spong mincer that I used to operate when I was a child.

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I’m curious, Duncan Do you believe you are the only regular to have lived through tough conditions? You say

I lived through a hard -nosed -tough working class heavy industrial area , so not conjecture

and not only imply that no one but you has experienced these conditions but you also make some other, very inaccurate observations. To say

The flue could kill then

is true, assuming you meant ‘flu and not what draws smoke and air upwards through a pressure differential, but Influenza remains a potentially fatal disease today.

Yes, Tuberculosis was more common, then, but it still exists, although better housing, sanitation and vaccination programmes have helped reduce its impact. But you should not assume you have a monopoly on difficult upbringings. Just because most of us don’t wish to broadcast details about our early lives and suffering doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

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On visits to the National Slate Museum in Wales, I particular enjoy taking our children to visit the row of workers’ cottages. These are done out to reflect the living conditions from various key times in the industry. We sometimes also visit Penrhyn Castle, where you can see how the other half lived. When we can, we also like to go “underground” and learn more about working conditions in the slate mines; I reckon working on the open galleries of the slate quarries, always exposed to the weather, would have been equally tough.

Many other museums and stately homes also provide similar education.

As far as I can see, good schools regularly take children to visit these types of places, so that our social history is preserved.

In higher educational circles, the interlinked industrial and social history of the UK is far from neglected. One of my most treasured books is Welsh Slate by David Gwyn. I can’t read Welsh, so my copy is its English edition, but it is great to see that it was published in both languages.

duncan lucas says: Today 09:12

By publicising it you are giving out Historical Truth to the younger generation who lives their lives artificially through “Disney World ” stories and adverts about the 50,s while removing real life . Historical revisionism is full blown now and I find it hard to believe what comes out of the mouths of those that govern us or are in a position to control us .

Ignoring for a moment that the average age of the visitor to Which? Conversations is about as far from the “younger generation” as you can get, I simply don’t agree about your comments regarding what you call “Historical revisionism”. Our own memories are constituted in such a way as to retain the good bits and allow the bad bits to fade away. But there’s an abundance of material about the ’50s; I have a great deal of it, in fact, as history is an interest of mine, and it tells it as it was. Of course, we can all supplement it with our own experiences but the ’50s was a fairly grim time generally. The UK was struggling to rebuild after a devastating war, vaccinations were only slowly being rolled out and public health wasn’t that wonderful.

You don’t really see what went on in the 50,s because those in control of us hated 50,s Rock-n-Roll , where are all the original 50,/early 60,s TV shows and all the “Teddy Boys ” razor gangs etc ? Even Marlon Brando,s – the Wild Ones was suppressed in case it gave rise to motor bike gangs which occurred anyway where I was, “conservatism ” with a Big “C” applied then.

Well, that gave me a chuckle. The age-old fear of media influence. But we all know what happened in the ’50s, Duncan. And those that don’t possibly aren’t interested.

Yet in the Fifties you could go down to the local shop and buy a key for your door that fitted the whole street

Er…no, you couldn’t. Unless the lock was that old, anyone’s opened it.

the police gave you a slap about the ear if you misbehaved, you got the belt for giving up cheek to your teacher, there was “3 of the belt ” and “crossed hands ” — and it worked.

So you believe assault, violence, intimidation and brutality against children were positive aspects of the ’50s? How interesting.

The lowest of intelligence pupil could all mentally do arithmetic –could spell English correctly and could write correctly . NOW ? not so because of this new regime of “teaching” (non ) methods leaving children unable to spell ,add correctly and certainly write English correctly.

Now, you see, you’re completely and utterly wrong – on all counts. You might be surprised to learn that the percentage of those in their 70s and 80s who can’t do even simple mental arithmetic is higher than in most school classrooms today. Now, if you were right, then everyone in their 70s and 80s would be wonderful at mental arithmetic. But they’re not.

Now, spelling. Should I indicate your misspellings? Because there are a lot. Yet by your logic there shouldn’t be any. Typos are one thing; consistently misspelling is another.

Teaching methods in primary school today are somewhat better than they were in the ’50s. Those who survived the routine bullying, intimidation, violence and humiliation you obviously thought were wonderful have often had outstanding careers in demanding occupations where a solid grasp of English was essential.

You call THAT progress Ian – I call it going back to Georgian times and earlier where poor kids worked instead of going to school.

Now here’s where you ignore the point of the question I asked and try to divert it into another tack completely. I never even mentioned the word ‘progress’. All I asked was why you make the implicit assumption that you’re the only one with a tough childhood. Many others have; they just don’t choose to broadcast the detail.

We used to take our children to the slate mines and Penrhyn Castle, almost on a weekly basis. Another great place is Beamish Museum in Co Durham.

There’s quite a bit of local irritation regarding Penrhyn Castle, since the slave trade and local exploitation is blamed for its existence. We once bumped into Lady Janet’s descendants – a dowager and her two grandchildren – when she was showing them the tree house. I heard her tell the kids ‘Now we share this with everyone’.

Ian, I like Beamish too – but, as I no longer work on Tyneside, it’s no longer just down the road for me.

It is interesting to hear that the sources of the wealth that established Penrhyn Castle (i.e. the slave trade and then the vast owners’ profits in the slate industry) are a source of irritation. In rural parts hereabouts, I haven’t sensed any similar residual irritation from the division of wealth that allowed the construction of Eastnor Castle by local landed gentry. But that may reflect differences in the attitudes and behaviours of the individual land owning families involved.

The Black Country Museum is on a par with Beamish in my opinion, Derek, and can easily be reached from Gloucester. It’s near Dudley [or Duudlay in the vernacular]. There’s always a school party or two whenever I’ve been there.

Being a bit of a hobbyist social historian myself I cannot accept many of the wide-sweeping generalisations made about the past by some nowadays. Books by the best writers do not hide or shade the truth but they balance the hardships with the benefits and successes of which there were many. One of the best, and extremely representative, descriptions of living conditions in the thirties and forties was by the late Eric Sykes in his autobiography. I doubt many could compete with his deprived upbringing which was typical of much of the population at the time. As Ian says, most people keep these episodes to themselves, but it is good that much oral history and reliable personal evidence is becoming available nowadays to help historians paint an accurate picture in its proper context.

One of the causes of poor health in the post war period was the fact that the country’s industrial production throughout the 1940’s had to be carried on at increasing levels of output by a shrinking and older workforce as almost everyone under 35 was directed into government service of one sort or another. The rationing system ensured adequate nutrition but overall people lost a lot of weight and constitutional resilience against illnesses. Smoking was incredibly popular as an officially condoned palliative.

Another factor that postponed the post-war recovery of families was the loss of savings; a part of everyone’s income was withheld [as a higher rate of tax] and converted into Post War Credit Certificates; the redemption of these proved to be slow and many neglected to claim back their extra tax plus interest. No new housing [other than bomb damage replacement] was allowed until around 1950 and British industry was geared up for maximum export effort so there was not much to buy that would improve people’s living conditions. Work remained hard and exhausting for most of the population in run-down premises with unhygienic facilities. Rationing persisted for long after the end of the war so having a Spong meat-mincing machine was enviable but more or less essential as it meant you could buy better meat and make it go further than buying the butcher’s nondescript offcuts that he had minced up with other material. My sister still has our mother’s mincer but unlike the bean slicer I doubt it has been used in decades.

Can we stop picking on commenters? I think there are nicer ways of responding to comments – also perhaps nicer ways of making them. But I don’t think it does the image of Convos much good. New entrants who perhaps do not know the regulars and their particular ways might easily be put off. 🙂

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duncan lucas says: Today 10:18

Err –yes Ian you could go into the local shop at the bottom of our street and buy a key that opened the doors of other tenement flats in the street as iot was a local builder who built the tenements and supplied the door keys.

Good job there were no criminals in the ’50s where you lived, Duncan.

Testing methods better Ian ? in what world are you living in ? Do you think this is the only website I post on ? Its embarrassing to see you people unable to BASICALLY spell- basically do mental arithmetic , not because I blame the kids but I blame those who think its better to teach them so called “social skills ” instead .

Duncan: as you’re so convinced that everyone in the ’50s was taught how to express themselves well in written English, are you aware there are no fewer than seven basic errors of grammar and punctuation in that paragraph alone? Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but to say that things were so much better in the ’50s does suggest your recall is distinctly rose-tinted.

Yes I got a sore hand but I learned and it worked .

So, to answer a question you’ve dodged again, do you believe that routine bullying, intimidation, violence and humiliation of children were a positive thing? Did they help the children learn well?

I couldn’t manage without my green hand veggie peeler with its flexible blade at its head that replaced the old type with its side blade which I still have but never use any more. It so quick and easy and halves the time spent preparing a meal.

See: reviewed.com – Best vegetable peelers of 2018

For those who wish to enhance their kitchen counter with some intellectual pretentions, or are seeking the perfect gift for a friend who has everything else, might I suggest a book published two days ago which I noticed in a local book shop. The title is The Art of the Tea Towel and it fulsomely illustrates this essential kitchen accessory. Reviewers will no doubt describe it as “magisterial” but in the league table of unnecessary non-fiction it must be very high on the scale. Hardback only, lots of pictures, £16.99.

Here’s the waffle [no laughing, now]:
“Both practical and beautiful, the tea towel has over the last century established itself firmly as an essential piece of domestic design. This lavishly illustrated book explores 100 of the best tea towel designs from the 1950s to today. Featured are tea towels from well-known textile designers such as Lucienne Day, Emma Bridgewater, Pat Albeck, Cath Kidston, Orla Kiely and Angela Harding, as well as collectable tea towels from key retail stores such as Heal’s and Selfridges. Together they showcase a rich visual history of textiles and homeware design of the last century. With full-page images and close-up details, The Art of The Tea Towel will appeal to those interested in both textile design and homeware.”

Honestly . . . “collectable tea towels”! Has austerity gone already?

I suppose for those that like that sort of thing it’s the sort of thing they like.

Interesting narratives of days of yore but isn’t this supposed to be a conversation about your favourite kitchen gadgets?

I find Terry Towelling tea towels are best for drying things as I don’t possess a dishwasher, which are supposed to be more hygienic. I would however be interested to learn how often one should launder it? I always use a hot wash cycle but we know from previous convo’s, washing machines don’t always reach the set safe temperature that’s supposed kill off all bacteria.

But can a tea towel be considered a gadget, I wonder?

Depends whether or not you own a dishwasher 🙂

I have a big pile of tea towels given to me as presents, mostly unused. All weird and wonderful designs with strong colours that cannot be washed with anything else, fabric that doesn’t absorb, that I really don’t want but also don’t want to offend the giver by not keeping them.

I suppose you could call me a (reluctant) collector John. 🙄

Beryl – Unless you run a washing machine at maximum temperature, assume that removal of bugs is by the washing action, just like removing dirt. I always iron teatowels and that will kill bugs.

It would be interesting to get back to the topic and maybe that might happen by accident.

Thanks Wavechange, do you iron them wet or dry?

Check this out alfa: 57 Best creative uses for tea towels @ Pinterest.co.uk

Like Alfa we also have a drawer full of unused tea towels – many in calendar form so we can tell how old they are!

Personally I prefer linen tea towels but other types do the job well. Frequent washing and ironing keeps them looking good on display in the kitchen. Ironing while damp or with a good supply of steam gives the best results.

Even with a dishwasher the tea towel is a necessary accessory if not, pedantically, a ‘gadget’. On the basis that a gadget is a useful contrivance I think it fits in this topic. Anyway, some topics run out of steam and need a boost from something off-centre, especially at the weekend.

Beryl – Everything I iron is done straight from the washing machine. I think it’s better than using a steam iron – I use one but it is empty.

You don’t have to press so hard on an iron that is full of water.

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I am sure you are right, Duncan, but the old Kenwood’s were very heavy and for many people too sophisticated. For some they were mainly for show I suspect. Modern lightweight plastic food processors that do ordinary chopping, mixing, juicing and blending are good enough and don’t take up so much counter space in today’s small kitchens, or they can be easily put away in a cupboard. I expect a new Kenwood made to the original specification would cost a small fortune; as it is, a top-of-the-range Kenwood food mixer would set you back around £1200 and you might still want some more tools to go with it. I believe Kitchen Aid appliances are now the must-have items on the worktop. You’d like them – they are all-American and look pretty solid.

Thanks to Which? Convo I learned that Kitchen Aid is one of the Whirlpool brands. I need to replace my old Kenwood food processor, which is a classic case of use of inappropriate plastics, but I’m not sure what to go for.

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I know nothing about the build quality, Duncan, but the poor handling of the modification of dryers that they are responsible for has resulted in many household fires in the UK. I will not be supporting the company any time soon.

It is a pity that so many well made products have been taken over by multinational companies that are difficult to hold accountable for unacceptable behaviour of one form or another.

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I agree with you, Wavechange. It’s difficult now to get what you want from independent companies with good reputations. I won’t trade with the devil but the alternative is not always easy.

On build quality, I am not particularly concerned about the country of production so long as the design, the engineering specification, and the quality control process, are under the control of the ‘manufacturer’ that has its name on the product so that the correct materials are used, the assembly is compliant, and the product is safe.

Yes, Duncan, but shipping and VAT might account for the difference. I can’t afford to go to Ohio for a food mixer but I can walk to John Lewis in about fifteen minutes. Quids in, I would say.

John Ward says:Today 14:35

I agree with you, Wavechange. It’s difficult now to get what you want from independent companies with good reputations. I won’t trade with the devil but the alternative is not always easy.

Does he sell through Amazon?

I like your comment, Ian. Yes, I think the devil in several guises does market goods through Amazon.

I was going to mention Amazon in my comment but thought better of it since I could not relate my feelings to this topic.

Since you provoke me to comment (!) I have to confess that I have occasionally bought things from Amazon in recent years. I have purchased less and less each year as my objections to the company have grown and, following a recent experience where I am sure the devil was personally involved, I have vowed never to go there again unless there is absolutely no alternative. I expect Amazon might be more hell for sellers than it is for buyers who are probably mostly satisfied with the service they get. Luckily for almost all purchases there are alternative sources of supply.

I buy the product I decide best suits my needs from the supplier who….best suits my needs. I’m not into boycotting on principle because I think it generally achieves nothing except I lose :-(. If Kitchen Aid make good appliances I’d buy one. Whirlpool inherited bad tumble dryers from Indesit. They handled a monumental problem badly, aided and assisted by PeterboroughTrading Standards. But I’d still use Trading Standards 🙂

I also buy from companies that best suit my needs, one of which is an ethical and responsible approach to business and compliance with the law.

As much as possible I buy things from local shops or the local branches of the national chains. By not looking on-line the only price difference that matters is that on the high street from one outlet to another. Boycotting might not achieve much, except perhaps a sense of self-satisfaction, but patronising local shops can certainly bring rewards in terms of security of employment, boosting the local economy, more helpful service, recognition as a loyal customer, and so on. I happen to get more gratification from being known as a regular in a couple of dozen shops where the staff on the floor rarely change than from being a set of digits in a warehousing company’s database.