It’s time for a little truth talk: all of us wish we were Julia Child, or Martha Stewart. We’d love to be the master of every sort of pastry, garnish, and souffle, but the fact is, with busy work and family lives, none of us can make it all happen by hand. You shouldn’t feel bad about using a few key machines to help you with the heavy lifting so that you can focus on the fine tuning of the evening and on making your home a relaxing, low-stress place that also happens to have amazing food and drink.

 

So, keeping that in mind, here’s a list of our “can’t do without” appliances that you need to help you around the house. Don’t think of it as cheating: think of using these as being prepared. After all, you want to be free to handle everything a machine can’t take care of!

 

  1. a KitchenAid mixer

The KitchenAid mixer has been the bulwark of every good kitchen for over half a century. You shouldn’t be without one! These machines are the pride of every cook’s arsenal, whether you’re making a meringue, a batch of dough, or the base for a fantastic mousse. You’ve got better things to do than stir for hours on end, and these machines can get you to just the right texture, quickly and easily! Sure, they’re expensive, but these are heirloom machines, and they’re made here in the USA, so you don’t have to worry about quality. Save your time and your back for every baking project with one of these.

 

  1. Roomba

 

Yeah, right-you’re thinking. A Roomba? Essential? Fat chance. Hear us out. When you’re having an occasion, your mind is going to be on anything but the floor. You’ll need a normal vacuum for nooks and crannies, and for things like stairs. But for keeping the main areas of your house clean on a regular basis, a Roomba is a very smart purchase. It saves you time and effort, and it’ll give you peace of mind, especially if you have animal friends roaming around your place. No matter what, you’ll know that the main areas of traffic are going to be clear. It might seem like a luxury, but trust us: being able to have the vacuum automatically go around your floors half an hour before guests arrive is going to make you gasp with relief every time.

 

  1. Dishwasher

Dishwashers are much less extravagant than Roomba’s, but they’re every bit as important to have as a reliable kitchen ally. We have an unspoken rule here that no matter how nice your cutlery, glasses and dishes are, you should never buy anything that can’t go in the dishwasher. You simply shouldn’t have to wash dozens of glasses every time you want to have people over, and then try to find drying space, let alone energy after an occasion. Dishwashers are highly economical–they use less water than you would doing dishes by hand, and they’re so. darn. quick. If you’ve got a family, they’re also the only sane way to deal with the dozens of dishes kids create every day.

 

  1. Coffee machine

 

‘Nuff said, right? We mean a real coffee machine, though, not a crappy old percolator. Do yourself a favor and get a Miele, or a KitchenAid coffee maker that can compete with what you can do with your french press. Nothing impresses guests or family members like fresh, perfect coffee. Nobody should be without a good machine! We suggest finding one that grinds beans right in the same chute, so that you’re getting maximum flavor. You also save yourself an extra appliance!

 

  1. Get a warmer oven instead of a microwave

This one’s a bit more expensive and intensive to get setup, since it’s not a standalone appliance. But if you’ve got a built-in microwave, or a bulky old cooling hood, make better use of that space with a warming oven. If you’ve been cooking for any amount of time, you know how easily the microwave can destroy the texture and taste of practically any food. It’s even bad at warming things up, since the warmth seems to disappear almost instantly, so all you have to serve is a soggy, cold disappointment. Warming ovens are great for covered dishes, baguettes, and other things that would take too much time and energy in your big oven. You can also use them for heating plates while your lasagna is cooling! Basically, they’re everything your microwave isn’t: a way to warm things consistently while keeping flavor and texture intact. If you’re the sort of person who likes to make enough for leftovers, a warming oven is the key to making things taste even better the second time.

 

  1. Drinks cooler, for wine or beer

 

If you’re going to get serious about wine or beer, you absolutely can’t be without proper coolers. Fridges simply don’t give you the precision or consistency you need to keep wines and beers tasting optimal, so if you drink more than a bottle a week, you should shell out for a proper cooling system. Wine coolers are the obvious way to store your vintages. You can set a temperature that stays constant, since you’re not constantly opening the door to get food. A really good one will control light, too, which can throw off wines. Even better, grab one with a few different chambers, so you can keep reds and whites at their own perfect temperatures! We actually don’t like beer coolers one bit. They’re catered exclusively toward cans, and they don’t store bottles well at all. And we think that if you’re going to start buying nice beer, you may as well get kegerator. They’ll let you keep a keg at home and pull fresh pints that taste infinitely better than canned brews.

Well, there you have it! All the essential appliances every good household should own. It can take time for many of us to get the money to invest in all these, but you’ll up your game as a household and as hosts with each one!