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Gadgets, gadgets, gadgets

We’re a gadget and appliance obsessed nation. Technology can barely keep up with itself and the busier we get, the more we look toward tools to help us make light and quick work of drudgery. I remember thinking how cool it was that the Jetsons dealt with mundane chores by simply asking Rosie to take care of the matter. The video phone that Jane used is already here, but we are still a good distance away from Rosie the housekeeping robotic maid. Oh sure, there are gadgets galore to try to help us be more efficient and productive in our homes and offices, but at the same time some of those gadgets take up space and mental energy instead of us trying to accomplish tasks using a simpler methodology.

Let’s take the robotic vacuum cleaner. One thing it’s good for is that hilarious viral video of the cat riding a Zoomba wearing a shark suit — YouTube it, it’s worth a solid giggle. This gadget may work well for some folks who have large, empty, smooth surfaces to clean, but how many of us actually have the same kind of spacious floor space we see depicted in the commercials? At approximately $450, it’s something you really want to research before purchasing and I have yet to see one that works as well as a real vacuum cleaner.

There are lots of gadgets that border on silly. How about the toilet training potty chair with an iPad dock? Air conditioned shoes exist! Laser guided scissors? A remote controlled snack and drink delivery float for the pool? Believe it or not, there’s a portable hand held shredder out there.

Kitchen gadgets are super popular because busy cooks desperately want to reduce the amount of prep time we spend in the kitchen and we buy into the marketing promises of the uni-tasker. So there are entrepreneur inventors out there who are constantly trying to think up the next home donut maker, quesadilla maker or the good-for-only-one-very-specific-task gadgets, such as a banana slicer or pizza scissors. I understand that since I come from a culinary background I see everything in the terms of a few good knives, a pair of tongs and maybe an immersion blender.

The final product of lots of kitchen gadgets I see can be achieved with one good, sharp knife. To be fair to those whose knife skills aren’t as proficient I can understand some kitchen gadgets such as a garlic press, apple corer or a nut chopper. There are some things I wouldn’t do without though, such as a salad spinner, a microplane or my mandolin.

Since space is limited I have to think long and hard about incorporating any new appliances. I’ve wanted a Soda Stream for quite awhile but refused to buy one thinking I just didn’t have the room to keep it. After lots of contemplation and lots of bottles of seltzer water hauled home from the store, I decided that since I rarely use my Cuisinart, I could store it elsewhere and the Soda Stream could live where the food processor lived. I love my Soda Stream and being narrow and tall, it takes up little counter space.

Your best bet when it comes to high priced gadgets is do some research, check out reviews online, ask family or friends if they’ve had experience with something you’re considering buying. Gadgets don’t always come to us by our own hands and even if we’re cynical, it’s worth giving them a try before sending them packing.