Today I want to focus on small appliances. I did discuss some appliances in my kitchen post, but I wanted to keep an eye on the post’s length, so I thought it best to divide some of the content.
Air fry oven
One of my favourite small appliances is a countertop convection oven: I use it daily to make toast, bake, broil, make pizza, and so forth. These ovens are far more energy efficient than the large stove, especially if you need to cook only smaller amounts. I had a Cuisinart countertop convection oven for many years, but it was starting to lose some efficiency, so it was time to replace it. The model above caught my eye, as it had an air fryer function. The fact that it was very light in weight appealed to me, but this should have been a warning sign. This oven is made primarily of aluminium, rather than steel, hence the light weight; the problem, as I soon found out, is that aluminium is not durable and that it rusts. Within a year, this oven had accumulated a lot of rust inside, even though I did my best to ensure that I cleaned and dried it well. One year in, and it was already time to replace this oven. I invested in a much more robust Breville oven that works like a dream.
Floor steam cleaners
When I first saw floor steam cleaners, I thought they were a wonderful idea, especially since I had moved from a carpeted rental apartment to a condo with wood and tile floors. I was attracted by the concept of using only water to clean floors. The model on the left was one of the first on the market, and which I bought from a Canadian television shopping company: It lasted about six months. The machine’s water container tended to leak and spew water everywhere and by the six-month period, no more steam was released. I proceeded to buy the model on the right, made by Bissell, so I had higher hopes. This model allowed you to change the temperature of the steam, depending on the type of floor, which appealed to me. This model lasted for only about a year, after which point the steam function stopped working. I about to risk wasting money on a third model, and I was also concerned about the potential damage of steam to my new cork floor in the kitchen, so I switched to a manual Vileda spray mop, which allows me to add a little of the concentrated cleaner that I use for all surfaces, or simply water. I can use the mop in its dry state to sweep cat fur.
When you live with cats and have severe allergies to dust, you vacuum – a lot. Sweeping doesn’t work for me because of my allergies, and brooms don’t pick up the particles of litter cats always drag around with them. The Hoover vacuum above was a huge disappointment. I had grown up with Hoovers, a brand closely associated with vacuum cleaners; in fact, we used “hoovering” as a verb when I was growing up, so I had high hopes for this machine. I also liked the bagless featur, as the older models with bags aggravated my allergies. The machine worked well, but after two years, the hose connected to the bagless container came loose. I tried duct tape to keep it together, but the force of the suction kept ripping the hose off. I managed for as long as I could, but for the sake of my sanity, I invested in a Dyson. There was a significant sticker shock, but after one use I said “what took me so long?”
Soy milk maker and tofu maker
In my attempt to reduce the packaging that comes with buying commercial soy milk and tofu, I bought devices to make my own soy milk and tofu. The Soyabella soy maker came with very good reviews and allowed me to make both soy milk and almond milk. The machine worked very well for about a year, but at the end of the first year, it stopped grinding the soy beans correctly, which created a very thin liquid. The tofu maker turned out to be too fussy and hit and miss: I found that it didn’t work very well with my homemade milk, and I needed to have the coagulant shipped. The quality of the tofu simply didn’t match what I could buy from the store, and tofu is something I eat almost daily. I’ve learned over the years that some DIYs are simply not worth the time and effort.