The retro 3-in-1 Breakfast Station and the joy/pain of single-use kitchen appliances

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When I saw this uber-adorable, super retro-styled 3-in-1 Breakfast Station my heart simultaneously leapt with joy and sank with bitter grumbles. SO ADORABLE! A STATION! FOR YOUR BREAKFAST! — but really, who needs another single-use kitchen appliance, even when it’s a retrotastic 3-in-1 station?

I mean yes: the robin’s egg blue-ness just screams “Barbie’s Dream Kitchen” all grown up, but I had a thing like this a few years ago — although it wasn’t as cute, the Back to Basics TEM500 Egg-and-Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher was a pretty magical little device. I loved that fucking thing: it toasted my english muffins AND poached my eggs simultaneously, so I could have this awesome perfect little breakfast sandwich done as I was braiding my hair before heading out the door to my dayjorb.

But when my magic mcmuffin maker died after a couple years, I just couldn’t justify replacing it. It just felt silly to take up counter space with this appliance that really did ONE THING really well: make egg mcmuffins. I mean, it made regular toast too, but we already had a toaster oven that could handle a much wider range of bread products…so how could I justify having a silly single-use toaster?

Then again, it wasn’t as cute as the 3-in-1 breakfast station

Anyway, all this pining over appliances brings me to my question: which single-use appliances do you have and love? When does it feel worth it, and when does it feel like a gimmick?

Comments on The retro 3-in-1 Breakfast Station and the joy/pain of single-use kitchen appliances

  1. I got an electric wok for Christmas. It is the best present since the piccolo when I was 13. It’s huge and takes up most of the space on top of the fridge, but I stir-fry or make curry at least once a week, and nothing burns anymore like with my crappy old wok!

    Also: my rice cooker! It’s a family sized one, so too big for just my husband and me. The one we had when we lived in Japan was fabulous – just the right size, with all sorts of options that I never used because I couldn’t be bothered to read the instructions, but it was nice to know that if I wanted to set my rice cooker to have rice ready when I got up in the morning, I COULD.

    My splurge when we moved back Stateside was a super-duper electric kettle. It has about six different buttons to get water to the correct temperature for all varieties of tea: white, green, oolong, herbal, black, and French press coffee. And it keeps the water at the correct temperature for half an hour after it boils. My husband and I each drink about six cups of tea a day when we’re home, and when I’m making tea at my mom’s house I miss my kettle.

  2. Unitasker is hilarious!

    I think our only indulgence is a magic bullet, but it’s not really a one-use item. We make smoothies every day in the summer, and soup in the winter. I also used it to put up a bunch of homemade pesto and chopped garlic last fall.
    We also have a coffee grinder so I suppose we could chuck that and just use the magic bullet.

    OH, we also have two banaguards, but I will defend them to the grave 🙂 Arriving at school/work with an intact banana is so worth the strange looks I get.

  3. I love my yogurt maker. It takes me less than two minutes to mix the milk and starter then pour into the cute little glass jars. I do this at night and by the next morning I have yogurt. Yes, there are other ways to do this but this method it so easy that I never hesitate to do it. I haven’t bought yogurt for several years now.

  4. We got rid of our coffee maker a few years ago after the carafe broke. Got one of those non-mechanical, perk-type drip thingers that sits on a single cup, and it works perfectly. It’s the best, and only takes up as much space as a coffee cup.

    I already mentioned our lefse griddle.

    We also have this toaster + toaster oven. It seems redundant, but it takes up a lot less space than both, and we make a lot of toast.

  5. I’ve got a coffeemaker and an egg cooker, both of which spend most of their time in the closet. We’ve got a water cooker out all the time because we love tea, and the toaster is on top of the microwave. That’s about it. (We do not really need the toaster, the BF just loves to have it out. Guys…)

  6. I have a waffle iron, LOVE IT. (Also, waffle iron cookies? Totally awesome.)

    The least-used appliance in our place? Toaster, hands down.

  7. I thought that an ice cream maker was kind of a frivolous purchase, but I knew my hubby really wanted one, so when a nice one when on sale on Amazon, I scooped it up. Now I am the obsessed one. I use it to experiment with crazy flavors (I recently made brown-sugar bacon ice cream with cinnamon whiskey – YEAH YOU HEARD RIGHT), make sorbet for my husband, and even plain frozen yogurt (sour and really yummy!) for my baby. It takes up a lot of space, and is totally unnecessary. I love it.

  8. My rice cooker is just great, and I can bake bread and make yogurts in it too! So it’s a single-multiple use appliance I am definitely glad I have.

    We received as a Christmas gift a grilled-cheese iron (think waffle iron, but for grilled cheese) we use at least once a week. Needless that since we have it, our grilled cheese consumption has sky-rocketed 🙂

    And my partner loves his ice cube making machine. Who doesn’t love a good ice cube making machine in the summer ? (people who can wait till the ice cubes freeze in the freezer… but my partner is no man to wait!).

  9. We don’t have one at our house, but the air popper is in CONSTANT use at my parents’ house. Air popped pocorn is almost an evening ritual over there, and so much less expensive than microwave pocorn. Plus, the microwave kind always seems to lead to nasty farts for just about everyone,yuck.

    I wish we had a waffle maker. It seems like something we would actually use, and would be a nice change from our usual weekend pancakes.

  10. My former housemate had a hot dog maker (!!) a deep fryer, an ice-cream maker and a popcorn machine. All that stuff cluttering up the bench, used to drive me nuts!

  11. burr coffee grinder – used every day – we don’t buy preground coffee anymore because the future husband is a bit of a coffee snob. We also have an Aeropress for stuch snobbishness, best appliance purchases we’ve made as a couple.

  12. My toaster is single-use, and frankly so is the microwave. Microwave gets used for melting butter for popcorn that I make on the stove, which I have since discovered I can do otherwise (put butter in metal bowl that I’m using for popcorn anyway; place bowl next to popcorn pot; when popcorn is done, butter is half melted, then put bowl on burner; when butter melts, dump popcorn from pot to bowl and voila, one less dish made and microwave is pointless). But my roommates use the microwave so I can’t get rid of it.

    Toaster was purchased specifically because it has a bagel button, i.e. it only toasts one side when that button is pushed? yeah right. It’s a “burn the crap on both sides even if you have it set to 1” button. Also, 3.5 is “untoasted,” 4 is “perfect,” 4.25 is “burned to a charred hunk of what-was-that?” even without the bagel button. So, single use.

    • Oh, I almost forgot my french press coffee pot! Definitely single use but it’s a compromise from having the electric drip pot on the counter all the time. At least it’s half the space and fits in a cupboard.

  13. I feel the same way about an electric egg cooker. My Mom had one when I was a kid, but it died years ago, and she never replaced it because she didn’t make soft boiled eggs often enough to justify it.

    Now I see them and think how lovely it would be to have all the guesswork taken out of soft-boiled eggs, but again, can’t justify the money and cupboard space.

  14. my number one single-use fave is the quesadilla maker. ours actually broke recently and we are fully planning to replace it. delicious toasty quesadillas that cook up super quick and easy? yeah, that’s worth it.

  15. I have a Tassimo that was a wedding present from our housemate. I suppose technically it’s a multi-purpose device as it does make a variety of hot drinks- but then so does my kettle that can also boil water for whatever nefarious purpose I need it for.

    In fact, my Tassimo is not as versatile as the kettle, as the only drinks I really like from it are the Milka hot chocolate (nom nom nom), machiatto and caramel machiatto. That being said, it’s sooo pretty and what it does make it makes well, so I can’t imagine my kitchen without it!

  16. I do love the retro look of the breakfast maker. It must be the great-grandchild of this appliance from 1915 that I’d seen on Shorpy- http://www.shorpy.com/node/3844

    We’ve tried not to have too many one-use kitchen gadgets, but our best ones are our rice maker & coffeepots (a big drip-style & a smaller cup capacity french press). We drink a lot of coffee, and I usually make some sort of stir-fry dish once a week, so the rice maker is so easy & saves a lot of time.

  17. I love me my egg slicer! There’s just something so wonderful about having perfect little slices of hard-boiled egg to lay on top of my toast before I chomp down on it. 🙂

  18. I recently got an Aebelskiver pan, I know it’s not an appliance per say, but it’s a 1 use kitchen product that, as my husband said yesterday “This is possibly the best gift we’ve ever gotten.”

  19. I actually kind of love the look of the back to basics alternative. It looks futuristic in a jetsons sort of way…if only it came in different colors…
    I have kind of the opposite problem, I have too many products that do basically the same thing. BUT I use them in different ways.
    I have a blender, which I use primarily to make smoothies (good way to get fruits into our diet and easy in the morning), a food processor which I use to make badass pico de gallo among other things, and an immersion blender, which I use with sauces and soups. The immersion blender also has this attachment that is like a mini food processor, which I use when I only need to chop a bit of onion or something, because it’s smaller and easier to clean.
    If it gets used, I don’t have a problem with it taking up space in my kitchen. I think the only unnecessary products are the ones gathering dust…like my rice cooker.

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