The Kitchen Appliances That Will Bring Some Joy Back to Cooking
Rediscover your happy place.
We spent more time in the kitchen this past year than we have in decades. Over half of Americans reported cooking more in December than they had the year prior, according to a poll by food and beverage marketing firm Hunter Public Relations LLC. The shift may be long-lasting: Almost three-quarters of respondents said they intend to continue cooking more when the pandemic ends.
This, then, is a year for home cooks to flex culinary muscles with an eye toward fun. They’re already experimenting with equipment and techniques primarily considered the provenance of professionals.
Take dry-aging beef.
Meat coolers such as Steak Locker’s Smart Dry Aging refrigerator, which produce tender, flavorful rib-eyes and T-bones, are becoming widely available. Gabriel Llaurado, who sells the $1,500 Steak Locker fridge at his virtual butcher shop Meat n’ Bone in Miami, estimates he sold more than 50 of them during the third and fourth quarters of 2020 and would have sold more if he could have sourced them. “There’s a lot of interest in having a steak like in a restaurant,” Llaurado says.
Bread-baking fatigue has given rise to a boom in homemade tortillas.
“Last year we sold about 50 tortilla presses and over 450 pounds of fresh masa,” says Aaron Harris, who with his wife, Christie, operates the Mexican specialty food shop Molino Tortilleria & Market in Sawyer, Mich. “That might not be a huge number in an urban area, but we’re a small town, where many are trying homemade tortillas for the first time—and then they’re hooked.”
Homebrewers are filling their cups at a record pace, too.
Brooklyn Brew Shop owners Erica Shea and Stephen Valand shipped 80,000 kits in 2020, for $2 million in sales, a 250% rise from 2019. “Our April e-commerce looked like December, which is not how April ever looks,” Shea says. She expects 2021 to be even stronger with warmer weather. “There will be a lot of homemade beer served at socially distanced barbecues this summer.”