With new technologies, changing habits and evolving food trends, an endless stream of gadgets and appliances hit the shelves every year. So, what items will be the kitchen gadget of choice in the next 12 months?
It’s safe to say there is an endless assortment of kitchen gadgets on the market where form most definitely comes before function.
But even those who don’t dedicate a lot of time behind the stove will admit it is always preferable to discover tools designed to help make our culinary experience more enjoyable.
Australians love affair with all things kitchen gadgetry began with automatic toasters in the 1920s, in the 1930s it moved on to electric blenders, can openers and stoves while in the 1940s we turned to Tupperware and refrigerators.
In the 1950s it was all about non-stick pans and dishwashers and in the 1960s we fell for pressure cookers. By the time the mid-1970s hit fondue sets, SodaStreams and slow cookers were must-have items while a decade later deep-fat fryers, microwaves and food processors were all the rage.
Since then few kitchens remain without a juicer, an electric steamer or a coffee capsule machine.
Yet while the reason behind some of the must-have kitchen gadgets of recent times are questionable there is no denying that the spiraliser, the wine bottle glass, the custom BBQ branding iron and fruit infusion drink bottles have changed for ever the way we prepare, present and enjoy our food and liquids.
In 2004 Tasmanian Peter Harback sought to contribute to the world of kitchen gadgets by opening a store aptly called CoolThings Australia.
Harback, who refers to himself as the professor of gadgetology, says that while most Australians choose their kitchen gadgets by convenience, a growing number are drawn to items that prove popular among their friends or because they add positively to the act of gift giving.
“Sometimes trends do play a part. Like for example cool sandwich cutters that turn ordinary sandwiches into edible unicorns and soccer balls. Most often it’s a gadget that just brings a smile or a laugh though.”
Harback, whose store also sells novelty gifts, gifts for the home and office, cool gifts for kids and movie and gamer-themed presents, says current trends suggest anything involving a unicorn is likely to prove popular in the kitchen.
To this end, The Crack a Smile unicorn egg mould (RRP $17), is the perfect kitchen gadget to be added to your inventory this year as its allows budding home chefs to transform their regular eggs, pancakes and omelettes into “edible enchantments” while its silicone construction ensures it is heat-safe.
Keeping on the unicorn theme, Harback says the Treats for Unicorns Tin is a great storage tin for imaginative little people with plenty of room for storing food or other treats. Available in turquoise and made from galvanised steel, it sells for around $30.
Perfect for the crazy cat lover, Wine Lives Kitty Wine Markers appear as cat-themed charms that wrap around the stem of your glass to remind you which glass is yours. With each one a different colour, they come in packs of six and retail for $17. A dog version is available separately.
Harback says another item sure to prove a hit in coming months is the Hot Cookie USB Cup Warmer. A great kitchen gift for hard-to-buy men and women, it heats your hot drink to 50 degrees Celsius, ensuring you never have to put up with a cold tea or coffee.
The cup sits on a “cookie” made from plastic, allowing you to move it without touching the top hot plate. With a RRP of $35, it is compatible with MAC, PC and Chromebooks.
But if that doesn’t float your boat, Harback predicts fans of all ages will queue for the Toy Story Alien Mug (RRP $40) which he claims is the “coolest way” to drink coffee or tea.
Arriving in the form of a green space alien with three eyes, these mugs have a porcelain lid and can hold up to 300mls.