3a toaster oven
I must confess: I do not have a toaster oven. But, of the appliances that I lack, this is the one I most miss. Besides being able to toast bread, bagels, English muffins, and any other breakfast bread you might conceivably want to enjoy, toaster ovens are also very useful for re-heating leftovers and baking small quantities of food Ö their small size means that they heat up to the proper temperature far faster than a conventional oven.
useful but not essential
4a rice cooker
The secret to perfect steamed rice can be found not in a recipe, or a technique, but in this handy-dandy little appliance, found in just about every Asian household Iíve ever known. Add x number of cups of rice to the rice cooker container, fill with water up to the line marked x, close the lid and hit cook. Half an hour or so later, the cooker automatically shuts off and your rice is ready to go. In addition to requiring no attention whatsoever during the cooking process, it frees up space on your stovetop, leaving you more space and time to work on more exciting dishes. An Asian grocery store/supermarket will provide you with the widest variety of rice cookers from which to choose; however, rice cookers can now also be found in department stores and specialty cooking stores.
Having survived for 2 years without a microwave in my kitchen, Iíve actually discovered that these appliances arenít nearly as necessary as I once thought. Itís just as easy to re-heat leftovers on the stove as in a microwave, and the food will taste a lot better [why is it that microwaves completely suck the flavor out of foods?] That having been said, most people swear by these things, so who am I to argue?
6a food processor
They chop, they mince, they puree, they grind, they slice, they dice, they grate Ö anything you can do with a knife and chopping board, these gadgets can do faster, and probably better. As an added bonus, food processors are also mighty handy for making bread, pizza and pie dough. You can certainly do without one of these miracle machines, but they will, undoubtedly, make life easier.
So pass on the waffle maker, citrus reamer, tabletop grill, sandwich maker, at least for now Ö these 6 basics will give you the most use for your money and space.