The price is right on a plethora of broken dreams

June 9th, 2015 9:48 pm

First Posted: 3/19/2014

In loving memory: One built-in, double-grated, gas-fueled Jenn-Air kitchen grill. Went to its great reward, or just a better home, about a year ago, and suddenly I’m having pangs of regret.

Thinking about crawling back to the Salvation Army, which graciously accepted my donation (even though I think it might have violated the rules) to see if maybe my old friend has not yet found a more suitable owner after all. If so, I’ll apologize, and maybe we’ll make up. I’ll explain the agony of this break-up decision, made via groupthink.

Does the grill stay or go? Can’t even tell you how many opinions I sought before parting ways with this talker of a kitchen accoutrement mainly because I just could not bear to cut a grill-shaped hole into the brand-new countertop of which I’d dreamed for so long.

OK, so maybe I also badly wanted the counter space it hogged, as well as the cabinet space underneath. But still …

No more built-in kitchen grill would mean no more Barefoot Contessa-style performance art from me in my home as I fire-roasted vegetables or steaks in dancing flames every bit as entertaining to guests as the dancing waters of the Bellagio.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just dwelling on the one time I threw some oil-rubbed red peppers, onions and asparagus onto that puppy while a trio of friends watched, and the resulting sizzles and shooting flames caused one to declare I may have the coolest house ever.

I’m probably conveniently forgetting the time it took three hours to cook a turkey tenderloin through — and still not quite; can we say botulism, or whatever you get from bad turkey? — or the time I dropped a raw chicken part into the grill innards and forgot about it for a month. (Gross.) Then, most notably, there was that day I boneheadedly used foil to trap the heat in an effort to make the thing cook faster and melted and warped the grates instead. They cost only $200 to replace. Way to be, Jenn-Air.

So maybe the decision to let go was easier than I let on, but I’ll always be a sucker for trends. And the latest news out of the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago — a stylista’s show of shows that wrapped up last week — is that snazzy appliances such as indoor grills are all the rage. Again. So are all-in-one and D-I-Y machines and “healthy” gizmos and gadgets. Oh, and get this: space, time and money savers.

Now is it me, or does that last statement sound contradictory? Take it from a sucker who has fallen for more kitchen geegaws than she cares to admit. You want snazzy machines, gizmos and gadgets, you kiss your space, time AND money goodbye.

But don’t.

Just hop on over to my house and take your pick. In my personal graveyard of domestic thingamabobs that disappointed are, or were: two George Foreman grills and one open-faced wannabe countertop grill (awful to clean); one waffle iron (easier and tastier to just go to Waffle House); one “perfect”-rice cooker (Trader Joe’s microwaveable bags deliver a better product); one “healthy” citrus juicer (only about as heavy as a small child); one maddeningly malfunctioning Keurig coffeemaker; one early-model Soda Stream, which I’m currently trying hard to love; one …

Oh, you know what, why don’t I just stop now before I embarrass myself?

The good news? Spring has arrived! And with it garage-sale season. Friends, do I have plans. I’m thinking I can have my own little backyard Home + Housewares show, beating Chicago’s prices by at least 75 percent. Sometimes you just gotta cut and run. Especially when you need to make room for the next big thing.