CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC
Music – “Tell Me You Can Cook” from The Paint Sisters by The Paint Sisters. Released: 2008
In the wacky, wonderful world (there’s that alliteration again!) of cooking, I have been amused by the inventiveness of the human mind, when it comes to cooking and eating. Probably most cooks will have heard of the ages old way to cook fish, in your automatic dishwasher. Seems like a good idea: save energy by using one appliance for two functions and not only get clean plates for dinner, but the dinner to put on them! However, there are two problems: one, if you combine cleaning and steaming and your food package isn’t wrapped tightly, either your plates will smell fishy or your fish will smell and taste soapy. If you go without the soap and only a hot rinse, your fish will be fine, but your dishes still won’t be clean, so you’ll have to run another cycle.
Then, there’s the old macho technique in which the avante garde guy seasons his steak, wraps it in foil and tosses it on the manifold of his sports car. By the time he reaches his destination (depending on how he likes his steak), he can pull over to the side of the road and dine al fresco.
In looking through various cookbooks of mine and reading some articles, I found that there are entrepreneurs out there everywhere. In addition to dishwasher steamed fish, some clever people have utilized all manner of household devices for cooking: hair dryers, clothes dryers, clothes irons, coffee makers, heating pads, to name but a few.
Take a look around your house and imagine cooking uses for some of your non-cooking appliances. For example:
Household Iron (cover with tin foil!)
Great for frying eggs (see photos!)
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Frozen hash browns
Clothes Dryer Shrimp (from “The Kitchen Sink Cookbook” Carolyn Wyman)
Soft boiled eggs
Instant “Cup o’ Soup” (if they still make these!)
Instant packaged dry sauce mixes
Instant mashed potatoes
“Melted” cheese sandwich
Quick gloss on cake frosting?
Keeping plates warm for serving
Spin drying large quantities of salad greens in a
Defrost a large turkey in cold water
I wanted to try the fried egg on my household iron, so I made a little foil package 2 layers thick with the edges rimmed to catch the egg. I propped up the iron in an old baking tin and turned it on to “cotton” (no steam). I sprayed a little oil into the packet and waited about 5 minutes for it to heat up, then broke my egg in and added a little salt and pepper. Soon it was bubbling away and after a few minutes, I had a perfectly done sunny side up egg! Wonders of modern technology and I didn’t even need a kitchen!
So far, I haven’t found any alternate uses for my vacuum or carpet cleaner, other than vacuuming and cleaning carpet. On the other hand, the vacuum might be useful to suck smoke out of the air after something spills over in the oven and burns.
It occurred to me that perhaps my back massager (which has both heat and vibration) might be used to tenderize tough cuts of meat before cooking – maybe I could turn the heat on high and even cook it? However, I’m still lacking any creative non-food uses for my Nutri Bullet Blender, waffle iron and immersion blender.
So, what about using food based appliances for non-food applications? Could I use my electric food steamer to set dyes in cloth? Sterilize kitchen utensils? Cross-cut fresh pasta from my paper shredder? High-tech gloss on waxed apples using my buffing machine? Electric tooth brush? Blender? Curling iron? Kitchen torch? Socks might dry pretty fast on a George Foreman Griddle. Yu Tianwang of China has even invented a washing machine just for vegetables (not to be used for your socks and underwear)
The possibilities are endless. It only takes that “thinking outside the box” mentality.