Kitchen Hacks

Immerse Yourself

An appliance with a twist


Packing up and moving a kitchen is a pain. But realizing, as you close the sole box that your own equipment fills, that all the good stuff actually belonged to your roommate — now that’s a tragedy.

As I recently mulled whether to move for a new job or stay put, the kitchen was not a factor. Unlike many people my age, I am not a natural born itinerant. I don’t get a thrill from accumulating new zip codes like beads on a key chain  I’m a foot-dragger, big time.

So as I started to empty the cardboard boxes and fill my new home, I expected to shed a poignant tear or two about a farewell to a city, or the end of an era, or something. Not about an appliance.

I looked at the stuff my two new roommates had furnished. A set of dishes! Good, I don’t have those. Silverware! Great, don’t have that either. Damn, I thought, as I placed my five reusable grocery sacks, three spatulas, and two animal-shaped dish scrubbers in the cabinet. I am useless.

The list of things I thought I had, but really don’t, began to grow. A loaf pan. A cast-iron skillet. A wire whisk, for goodness’ sake.

Those were replaced quickly. But the number one roommate-owned kitchen object that I miss dearly? Immersion blender. MORE

Kitchen Hacks

The Rice Is Right

One cheap appliance that can practically make dinner by itself.


Right after I graduated college in 2010, I joined a yearlong nonprofit fellowship program. Along with my public service job I got a spot in one of the organization’s group houses, each planted in a “vibrant” (euphemism much?) Philly neighborhood. There were vermin, there were muggings. But at least there was a kitchen. After four years of cafeteria food and oven-less dorms, I would finally have the chance to cook.

My five new housemates and I decided that we’d sit down for group dinners twice a week to bond and talk shop. We would pair up and take turns cooking. I pictured myself rambling through West Philly’s farmers’ markets like a young, urban Julia Child, searching for ingredients and then whipping them up into a feast for my new best friends, armed with my one cookbook: How To Boil Water. But that is not what went down.