Living in a studio apartment is like living in a game of Tetris: You’re always rearranging things and always wrestling with the idea of adding even one more object. After two years of reorganizing the same studio, I finally thought that my arrangement was efficient enough to invite four people over to sit and eat brunch.
I prepared a menu and bought about $150 worth of groceries and items, including a Dash Mini Waffle Maker, which I first spotted online at Urban Outfitters, for $18, before dismissing it as yet another useless tchotchke. But when I saw it on the Target, Crate & Barrel, and Bed Bath & Beyond websites for just $9.99 (and with stellar reviews), I thought there might be something to it. So I bought one.
One of the items on my brunch menu was a recipe from Bon Appétit for corn waffles that involves mixing corn flour with all-purpose flour and grated corn kernels. The resulting batter was pretty thick, but the Dash handled it like a champ. The ad copy calls this thing mini, and it really is — the palm-size waffle-maker is so small, it can easily fit into a purse — but no matter how much I worried that I would overfill the iron, the Dash just kept spitting out tea-plate-size waffles that were perfectly browned and fluffy. (A small blue light lets you know when they’re done.) After nine waffles, only two drops of batter could be seen on the side.
After carefully arranging the waffles in a way that I hoped would make my food-stylist friends proud, I served them up to my guests, who said they looked like mass-produced Eggos, but tasted much better. My platter was empty in under ten minutes. That’s a testament to the waffle recipe itself, but also to the quality of the Dash waffle iron. My only issue is that I wish the waffles had been a little crispier, but that could all be done with some time in a low-heat oven, which I decided not to go through with because I had other dishes on my menu that required high heat.
Now that my brunch has come and gone, the waffle-maker is tucked away in my kitchen, out of sight, out of mind. And I feel absolutely no guilt about adding yet another thing to my ridiculously small apartment.
Other small Strat-approved kitchen gadgets
Some months ago, writer Collier Meyerson wrote about her love of a butter knife. This month, she circled back with news of an even more superior butter knife: “It has a very special design feature — tiny little holes along the perimeter of the knife that might not look like much, but are completely magical. When you dig into a cold stick, the row of circles breaks even straight-from-the-fridge butter into the most delicate little curlicues.”
A year ago, chef Gabriel Kreuther told us why he’s used the same Benriner Green Mandoline for years and years: “There’s the regular blade on one side, which allows you to get a precise, consistent cut,” he says. “On the other side, you can add attachments to adjust the size of the cut. There’s one for a julienne, a dice, a chop — all in one piece of equipment. I use it for all my garnishes and salads, and no knife has ever created a better julienne.”
Strat writer Maxine Builder loves these unassuming metal chopsticks: “I fill my utensil drawer with metal chopsticks, which don’t break or bend, don’t stain, and can be used over and over again. The stainless steel is easy to clean and doesn’t absorb odors, so your scrambled eggs don’t take on the taste of a Sichuan stir-fry.”
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