The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

Waffle Iron
These crack me up. Everyone has one of these, at least in this country. Families that haven't seen a waffle outside of an Eggo box or an IHOP since the term "sawbuck" was hipster slang have a waffle iron, apparently because of some national unconscious need to have dented pancakes on demand. Working fire extinguisher? Nope. First-aid kit? Nope. Waffle Iron? Of course! What do you think we are, grub-munching hunter-gatherers? Plus, and this is the kicker, the damn things are a pain in the ass to use. They don't manage to make cooking waffles easy, just possible. C

Food Dehydrator
I think the infomercial apes who hawk these things would probably disagree that this only makes one thing. As far as they're concerned, these pups are like a magical chef, preparing delights from tasty chipped beef to delicious apricot chews. But from my point of view, jerky is jerky. Thus you get beef jerky, turkey jerky, apple jerky, plantain jerky, what have you. And you know what? There's a reason jerky typically comes in half-ounce packets. Nobody needs extra jerky. Remember that. D+

Ice Cream Maker
These actually come in several varieties, ranging from "churn till your arm falls off" to "stick it in the freezer and go watch TV." These are great for teaching children about the lack of reward for hard work. If you churn, it's not worth it. If you deposit it in the freezer, it's not really hand-crafted. Either way it's more expensive than the store brand and less tasty than Ben and Jerry's. C-

An elegant solution to a thorny and chronic problem. I've been kind of low on appliances since I got an apartment of my own, and while I haven't missed waffle one, I'm amazed at how difficult it is to get satisfactory toast without a toaster. The oven only cooks it on one side, toaster ovens usually do the same and are a mess besides. So here's to the toaster: long may it warm our hearts and our bread. A

I dig on these. In case you're not up on Snack-Master, it's basically Play-Doh press meets Betty Crocker. In essence, you put a couple slices of bread in it, load it up with whatever you like on bread, latch that pup closed and it heats the concoction, seals the edges, toasts a pretty shell pattern into it, and boom -- Hot Whatever Sandwich. The great thing about this is, it's a perfect solution to the perennial "how do I make lunch from bread, hoi sin sauce, and cocktail onions" conundrum. Everything tastes better with a pretty shell pattern on it. B

Rice Cooker
The amazing thing about rice is that not only is it easy to screw up, but you can screw it up in so many ways at once. I've made rice that was simultaneously burnt, undercooked, dry, sticky, and crunchy. So in a purely practical sense this one wins big. Even with the ass ones, you stick in rice and you get out cooked rice, not Hall of Starchy Horrors. B+

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