A Look at Kitchen Appliance Trends

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and our favorite cooks are busy getting ready for the feast.

We always appreciate the time, energy and talent that goes into the prep and cleanup of home-cooked meals. Thanksgiving dinner just kicks that appreciation up a notch, and it makes us think about ways to make cooks happier in the kitchen.

We’ve been in the construction business for more than 20 years, so we understand that good tools, cutting-edge equipment and optimized work spaces make the job easier, the outcomes better and the user happier. This rings true for the culinary arts as well. We could spend an eternity on cooking tools and space planning, but for this column, let’s talk turkey about a few of our favorite kitchen appliance trends.

» Induction and convection: According to Steve Grandbois at Specialty Appliance in Boulder, stoves with induction cooktops and convection ovens really are taking off. Induction cooktops use electromagnetic energy to heat your iron or steel cookware, leaving the smooth cooking surface cool to the touch and easy to clean. Induction offers rapid heating and cooling, precise temperature control and thermal efficiency.

Convection ovens utilize a fan, typically in the back of the oven cavity, to circulate hot air over, under and around food. This cooks food more evenly and 30 percent faster than conventional ovens. Convection also bakes at a lower temperature, helping to retain flavor and moisture in foods. Newer models also come with user-friendly, menu-driven LCD color displays.

» Steam heat: A dishwasher with a steam-cleaning feature allows you to tackle tough cleaning jobs with less water. It’s also easier on fine china and stemware than strong jets of water. When it comes to baking, experts say steam reservoir ovens allow you to preserve more color, vitamins and moisture in food than traditional baking.

» Flush doors and drawers: Many people want to conceal their appliances and minimize the amount of space they take up in the kitchen. In response to this growing customer demand, Grandbois says, “Major brands are finding ways to make their products blend in with cabinetry and disappear.”

Counter-depth refrigerators are often taller and wider than the standard models but are designed to sit flush with the face of the cabinetry giving them a built-in, custom look. According to Grandbois, a big trend is to apply cabinet paneling to flush appliances so they completely disappear. French door refrigerators, with beverage drawers and bottom-mount freezer drawers, make contents easy to store and access. Other trends include easy-access dishwasher drawers for tackling smaller loads and under-oven warming drawers for keeping hors d’oeuvres hot.

Sometime after the pumpkin pie and before the traditional post-feast nap this Thanksgiving, consider your favorite cook and perhaps chew on the idea of a new appliance or two that might enhance their life in the kitchen. And don’t forget to select Energy Star efficient appliances to make the planet a little happier, too.

To see our column in the Coloradoan, click here.