What Exactly Defines a “Kitchen Appliance”?


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.

Lasagna from your dishwasher? (Photo Credit:  www.quemas.mamaslatinas.com)

Lasagna from your dishwasher? (Photo Credit: http://www.quemas.mamaslatinas.com)

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

Always buy permanent press clothes and save your iron for more important things! (Photo Credit:  www.southphillyblocks.org)

Always buy permanent press clothes and save your iron for more important things! (Photo Credit: http://www.southphillyblocks.org)

Clothes Dryer
Clothes Dryer Shrimp (from “The Kitchen Sink Cookbook” Carolyn Wyman)

Not only for drying clothes...how about making "Clothes Dryer Shrimp?"

Not only for drying clothes…how about making “Clothes Dryer Shrimp?”

Coffee Maker
Instant Oatmeal
Hot dogs
Soft boiled eggs
Ramen Noodles
Instant “Cup o’ Soup” (if they still make these!)
Steamed vegetables
Instant packaged dry sauce mixes
Instant rice
Instant mashed potatoes

Coffeepot broccoli! (Photo Credit:  www.buzzfeed.com)

Coffeepot broccoli! (Photo Credit: http://www.buzzfeed.com)

Hair Dryer
“Melted” cheese sandwich
Quick gloss on cake frosting?

Hmmmm.  Don't know about this one! (Photo Credit:  www.consumerfoodsafety.org)

Hmmmm. Don’t know about this one! (Photo Credit: http://www.consumerfoodsafety.org)

Heating Pad
Keeping plates warm for serving
Dough rising

Washing Machine
Spin drying large quantities of salad greens in a
clean pillowcase
Defrost a large turkey in cold water

Washing machine?  How about turkey defroster?

Washing machine? How about turkey defroster?




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.

Back massager as meat tenderizer?

Back massager as meat tenderizer?

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)

Yu Tianwang's washing machine for vegetables (Photo Credit:  www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)

Yu Tianwang’s washing machine for vegetables (Photo Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk)

The possibilities are endless. It only takes that “thinking outside the box” mentality.

My EatYourBooks cookbook collection


About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,500. What next? More shelves?
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