Minimalism

Buyer’s remorse series: The kitchen

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I’m starting a series in which I examine honestly purchase decisions that I’ve regretted. I think it’s important to do this type of reflection, as it’s an important part way for us to consider our buying behaviours. As I continue to declutter my possessions and learn to live with less, I I want to consider also the circumstances that led me to make these purchases to help me better understand and monitor what I bring into my home. Buyer’s remorse is often associated with larger or more expensive purchases, but I’m applying this lens to a variety of items, as I think it’s too easy to say “well, that item cost only $5, so it’s not a big loss.” While $5 may not seem to be so important to some people, the fact remains that in many cases, I’m left with an item that doesn’t provide value and that I will likely need to dispose of, which leads to the generation of further waste.

The kitchen is one of those areas that lends itself easily to buyer’s remorse, as it can be very tempting to buy speciality items that look useful but that are rarely used. I love to cook, and kitchen ware stores are my siren song; I’ve become much better and walking away but, sadly, not always, as we will see below.

Vitamix blender

This may come as a surprise to many, but I regret buying my Vitamix blender. These blenders are hugely expensive and, in my case at least, not worth the money. My blender lasted for 8 years before the motor blew. Eight years may seem like a long time, but this company makes a point of saying how durable and long-lasting their products are. I didn’t overuse or misuse the blender; it simply blew up one day, leaving behind a cloud of smoke. Repairing it would have cost far too much and, frankly, I never found that it worked as well as advertised, and having to use a tamper frequently to move stuff around in the container seemed to defeat the point of a blender. I succumbed to the hype surrounding this “must have” gadget. I’ve replaced it with a much less expensive and, more importantly, a much better quality blender from my old-time favourite brand Kitchen Aid.

Vegetable slicer

I eat a lot of vegetables, and slicing and dicing can be a little tedious at times. I saw this gadget a number of times in the store, and I thought it would be a perfect addition, as it would allow me to slice and shred vegetables. I really tried to like this product, but it was simply too fussy to use. I always had to remind myself which slicer was appropriate for which function. The chute through which you pass the vegetables always got clogged. Pieces of vegetables got stuck to the blades, which slowed down the process and made washing the blades difficult. Finally, I don’t generally use shredded vegetables that much, especially since this process tends to make some vegetables (e.g., zucchini) very soggy. Slicing by hand may not produce perfect results, but it’s faster. Besides, if I want to do a larger batch, my Cuisinart food processor has slicing and shredding discs that are clearly labelled and easier to use.

Hand chopper

Yet another attempt on my part to find a more efficient way of chopping vegetables. This device runs manually: You pull the green ring up and it moves the blades around. You need to keep pulling the ring until the vegetables reach the desired consistency. The vegetables always came out in different sizes, and hence looked not much different from those I cut with a knife on a chopping board. I found this item a little hard on my hands, and, of course, I managed to knock myself on the head a number of times during the ring pulling part.

Mini food processor

At this point, I’m sure you can see a pattern here. Once I got rid of the manual devices above, I thought this mini food processor would be a perfect addition to my kitchen, as it would allow me to do smaller batches without needing to bring out my larger food processor. This mini food processor worked very well, and I have found that it’s hard to go wrong with Kitchen Aid appliances, as they are of good quality. The problem here is that I don’t need two food processors. It’s better to have one larger machine that can do more, than two items that duplicate each other, to a certain extent.

Herb scissors

I’m shaking my head as I think of these scissors: What on earth was I thinking? I thought they would be an excellent tool to help me cut fresh herbs. Wrong. First, I tend to use dried herbs daily, rather than fresh herbs, as the former last longer and have a more concentrated flavour. Second, these scissors were such a nuisance to use. You had to hold the fresh herbs with one hand, while negotiating the scissors around the herbs with the other hand. The herbs came out in different sizes, always stuck to the blades, and were sometimes covered with blood from my holding hand. I’m back to knife and chopping block.

Garlic crusher

Whoever designed this garlic crusher has clearly never used it. It was a nightmare. Most of the times, this item failed to crush cloves of garlic and, when it did, left most of the clove behind, which resulted in so much waste. What makes this purchase particularly stupid on my part is that I had a perfectly good garlic crusher before, although it is a little hard on my arthritic hands, which is why I bought this crusher. Total waste of money.

Jar opener

In my defence, a jar opener is a necessity in my kitchen, as I have arthritis in both hands and wrists, which means I simply cannot open most jars any more without assistance. This particular jar opener was recommended by a few arthritis websites: The device did not survive the first attempt. This opener does not have a hinge, so it doesn’t fit easily over a number of jar tops. When I tried to fit it over the first jar, the plastic device snapped in half. I now use this motorized beast that works like a charm.

Juicer

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with juicers, and this Breville model worked very well. It simply was a hassle to use, as there were a lot of parts to clean after using it. The thought of having to clean this machine stopped me from using it often (it was also hard and bulky to lift). Further and, perhaps more importantly, juicing removes too many nutrients and fibres from fruits and vegetables, both of which end up in the pulp. I much prefer to eat whole fruits and vegetables rather than juice them.

Are there any kitchen items you regret purchasing?

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