Fall is the perfect time for dusting off your soup pot and making some hearty mushroom barley soup or a thick, warming broth. The majority of soup recipes are pretty much the same: Saute onions and garlic in some oil in the in the pot. Add chopped veggies, meat, grains and some seasoning. Let simmer. Serve.
But now that holiday shopping season is looming large, Cuisinart has an alternative. It’s the Blend and Cook Soup Maker. A Bed Bath and Beyond ad for this gadget promises “no pot” and “no stirring” and “no chopping.” As if any of those things are particularly onerous and time-consuming, right? The soup maker appears to be an amalgam of blender and heater. It sells for $199.99.
This gadget, like most single-use kitchen gadgets, is likely to have a long shelf life. By which I mean it will spend a lot of time on your shelf, along with the panini press and espresso machine.
When I help clients to organize their kitchens, we often find dusty one-hit-wonder appliances hidden in the back of cabinets. They were usually wedding gifts that weren’t on the registry or the product of good intentions: “I’ll brew fresh coffee every morning before going to work!”
I generally advise against buying single-use gadgets, with some exceptions. If rice is a staple at your meals, a rice cooker is a wise investment. Ditto for a coffeemaker, provided you regularly drink coffee.
So save yourself $200 this holiday season. Chances are, you already have a large, heat-resistant device that will allow you to make quarts of nourishing soup. It’s called a pot.