3 Appliances that Are Also Great Table Ornaments
Families everywhere dress up their dining table, especially when there’s cause for a celebration like a birthday, visiting guests, or a holiday. Favorite recipes and plenty of food are the foundations of celebration for cultures around the world, so it’s only natural that you’ll want your dining table to look the best it can.
When it’s time to shake out the tablecloth, dust off the china, and set the table, what will you do for a centerpiece? Floral arrangements, candlesticks, and elaborate runners are nice enough, but looking pretty is the only thing they do. That’s why, more and more, people are choosing table showpieces that serve a purpose beyond simply looking good, to impress their guests.
On the Rocks
Guests and family members alike enjoy drinks at the table while they wait for their meal. Whether it’s your youngest child’s favorite soft drink or a friend’s double scotch, it’s easy to start the meal off right with a beverage. For cold drinks, nothing beats serving fresh ice right at the table, and the best way to make that happen is with a portable ice machine.
How do ice machines work, without being in a freezer to chill the water? It’s amazingly simple, and a great conversation starter with your guests. Just pour water into the machine, close the lid, and rows of short metal spikes will freeze the water around themselves, forming hollow cylindrical “cubes”. When those pieces of ice are large enough, the spikes will switch from freezing to heating, warming up again just long enough to let the newly-formed ice slide off into the reservoir, ready for you to use.
A good quality ice machine can provide you with a few scoops of ice cubes in as little as six minutes, and it will keep producing ice as long as you provide the water, until you have all the ice you need. For such a small machine, it’s fast, convenient, and a great conversation piece.
Speaking of icy drinks, if you’re growing tired of your favorite cocktail, consider making your own infused spirits, or even limoncello, with one of the latest innovations in home kitchens, a sous-vide water oven. Imagine your favorite fruit, or perhaps coconut, or even jalapenos and spices, infused into your favorite brand of gin, vodka, or tequila. The possibilities are as far-ranging as your own imagination.
Dinner is Served
When drinks are finished and it’s time to serve dinner, nothing’s more convenient than having dinner already on the table for you. A slow cooker does double duty by cooking your feature entrée in a small appliance that can sit within reach of your dinner guests, for serving. Not only are slow cookers more attractive than ever before, many are also programmable, and some even come with separate chambers to prepare meats and side dishes separately.
So, if you have out-of-town guests to entertain, or if you want to take the kids to the beach for the day, a programmable slow cooker can manage dinner preparation for you. Fill it with the ingredients of your favorite recipe, set it on the table, and program in all the highs and lows and warms. When you return from your day out, dinner is not only hot and perfectly cooked, it’s waiting for you on the table.
Besides being the height of convenience, slow cookers are perfect for keeping cooked food as hot as necessary for food safety. In fact, the USDA recommends slow cookers specifically, when it advises us to keep cooked food safely hot while on the table.
Tea or Coffee?
After the cold drinks are finished, and the warm cooker emptied of food, the perfect finishing touch to any meal is a delectable fresh-brewed cup of fine coffee. But what if your guests prefer their cup filled with matcha tea instead, or steamy hot chocolate?
Make everybody happy by having a single-serve brewing system right at the table, stocked with a selection of all their favorite drinks. A wide range of k-cup brewers and single-serve beverage makers are now available to replace the one-size-fits-all 12-cup coffeemaker, providing a welcome alternative for families with different tastes.
If you’re serving coffee or tea after dinner, decaffeinated choices are best, so that no one loses sleep to the stimulant properties in caffeine. There’s no need to lose sleep, however, over whether tea and coffee are healthy choices for after dinner or anytime: the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published research ranking tea and coffee second only to plain water for healthy beverage choices. For more information about the American Society for Nutrition’s recommendations on popular beverages, check out their helpful pitcher-shaped chart.
Together, these three appliances will take you all the way through dinner, from cocktails to coffee. Now you can relax and enjoy your meal with your family, without excusing yourself to provide more food or drink.
That’s worth making room on the table for any helpful machine, and now that small appliances come in a range of sizes and colors, you can coordinate your choices to make them a decorative part of any table setting.
The appliances you choose are up to you and your family’s needs, whether it’s the suggestions above, or a juicer or a tabletop grill. Make room for machines, and bon appetit!