Kitchen appliances

Quality small kitchen appliances are big business

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Consumers who want to cook like the pros will spend more on better features and quality

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When I started hearing the industry talk about spikes in sales of high-end small appliances, I knew I could get the big picture from Hamilton Beach, a company that has been designing, developing and marketing appliances for over century, and whose commercial products are used in hospitality venues across the globe.

Marketing director Louise Sauvé-Nicholls confirmed the bump in an email interview, suggesting it’s partly due to home cooks expanding their recipe base and perfecting their techniques during the pandemic.

“They reap emotional rewards from cooking at zero, but life gets hectic and they also have to take shortcuts, especially on busy weeknights,” she says, adding that consumers who want to cook like the pros will spend more. for better functionality and better quality – both for replacement and first purchases.

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This has emphasized Hamilton Beach’s own Professional line, which promises more durable materials, user-focused design details and the right balance of performance and countertop appeal. This includes, according to Sauvé-Nicholls, features such as an exaggerated ladder on the product’s feet for stability on surfaces, simple manual controls and easy-to-read interfaces.

(NOTE: Prior to the interview, I was sent three Hamilton Beach products to test.)

The rise of vegetarian, vegan and flexitarian diets has increased the demand for more efficient devices, Sauvé-Nicholls says. “Plant-based milks need powerful blenders to reduce nuts to a smooth liquid form, for example, and our new Spiral Food Processor (which I review below) turns whole beets and sweet potatoes into beautiful ribbons.”

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Since we are now a two person household, I didn’t expect to use the Stack & Snap food processor much. I was wrong. Its 12-cup capacity reminded me why washing and preparing multiple servings of vegetables about once a week is the foundation of healthier eating, as well as a habit that can reduce waste and reduce food bills, which are set to increase.

Grated carrots, for example, can be used throughout the week in a salad, stir-fry, muffins, or smoothie/juice. Useful for making large portioned freezer recipes, the device was also handy for quickly and easily grating eight cups of potatoes for a midweek kugel that, with a salad, served four people well.

Using the dough blade, I baked two batches of holiday cookies, freezing both the raw dough and the baked cookies. With the metal blade, I ground oats into flour to have gluten-free recipes on hand, and chopped nuts, some of which I vacuum-packed for use next year.

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Sauvé-Nicholls suggests the surge in coffee maker sales is due to the shift to working from home, a landscape she says won’t change quickly.
“People want quality appliances that will work every day, and because they’re concerned about durability around the home, they want them to last for years.”

The pandemic has also encouraged home cooks to become more adventurous and connected, Sauvé-Nicholls says. “They like to replicate favorite restaurant meals and take inspiration from social media or virtual cooking with family and friends.”

The 12-cup professional coffee maker I tested had some very nice features, including one you can’t see but can taste: a high brew temperature combines with an oversized showerhead (the part that sprays hot water over the coffee) to evenly saturate it for the best flavor.

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It can be programmed to keep warm for up to four hours in ten minute increments in low, medium or high settings to suit your taste and schedule. As for the nifty little design touches, a teaspoon fits neatly and conveniently into the top of the machine.

It pairs well with the conical burr digital coffee grinder in the range. Grinding beans just before brewing always produces the best results, but this machine also handles the next step – using precise settings to achieve optimal grounds for a range of makers. It’s also pretty quiet, another nod to the user experience that Sauvé-Nicholls describes as fundamental to the collection.
For more professional cooking tips, go to www.aroundthehouse.ca

Vicky Sanderson is editor of Around the House, www.aroundthehouse.ca.
Check her out on [email protected], on Twitter ATHwithVicky
and at facebook.com/ATHVicky.

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