My toaster is toast
Credit: Photo by Stocknroll via Getty Images

I don't have a deep fryer on my counter anymore. The cumbersome thing—a unit specifically calibrated to safely accommodate a full turkey—squatted there for several years before I finally admitted that I am not a person who fries things on a regular enough basis to justify that. I'd bust it out for Thanksgiving or other meat-centric holidays, play fast and loose with my arterial wellbeing for a day or two after, then let it lay fallow and greasy, until I came to the begrudging acceptance that my daily food life will never truly be as golden and crisp as it is in my dreams. I couldn't spare the real estate, so into the basement it went. When you live in a New York apartment, an appliance has to earn its place in the kitchen.

I swear I don't mean to sound all smug in an I don't even OWN a television way when I say this, but I don't have a microwave. I simply can't justify the square footage—or even inch-age—it would occupy versus the benefit it would bring to my cooking life when I can heat things up in pans on the stove. In that same footprint fits the coffee maker, Sodastream, and mini food processor—all of which I use daily or close to it. The toaster was nixed when I realized that it shorted out my electrical system if my husband happened to be ironing at the same time (he's a very dapper man) or using electronics in almost any other way, especially once we realized that it was just as easy, and even more satisfying to toast bread in a skillet (seriously try this if you don't do it already). In its place, my Instant Pot, of course, earns its keep by functioning as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, and a host of other things.

My Opal nugget ice maker is bigger than all of those combined, and it warrants every millimeter of that space. I've come up with a sophisticated calculation involving mass divided by frequency of use multiplied by sheer pleasure, and in each assessment it comes out ahead. I feel I should mention that I did not in fact drop a cold, hard $499 for the machine, myself. It was sent to Extra Crispy by the maker, First Build, and I was the one lucky enough to haul it home to test because we didn't have a water hookup in the offices close enough for us to try it out, before I realized that it doesn't actually need one. If upon reading this the company sends me an email asking for it back, I'll see if they'd accept a payment plan because this ridiculous machine has become the beating heart of my home.

It has one job: making ice. That's all it does. It makes nugget ice. Or pellet ice, or gerbil ice, or Sonic ice—whatever you happen to call it, but it's that small, scoopable, oddly soft yet crunchy ice preferred by ice chewers everywhere, and I'm absolutely dependent on it for joy these days. We're a pretty ice-centric household, with full trays and prissy sphere molds filled in the freezer at all times and we go into a mild panic if we're slightly under capacity. Speaking of that freezer, it technically contains an ice maker, but due to some lunacy on behalf of whomever designed our kitchen in the mid-60s, it's not near enough to a water source to actually function. Even if it was, I'd probably make room for the Opal because it makes me happy every time I touch the button and it hums to life for the sole purpose of converting a liquid to a solid, and me from an emotionally depleted person to one who has a freaking nugget ice maker in her kitchen.

Oh, and I have a KitchenAid stand mixer as a wedding present because apparently it's the law. I don't use it especially often, but if I tried to stash it away in a cabinet (which are also jammed to the brim), I'm pretty sure it would nullify my marriage, so I'm gonna let that stay.

One of these days, and I hope it's not soon, our landlord is going to come to us, hand-wringing and apologetic, but definitively telling us that he's selling the joint and we have to move out. Who knows what kitchen the future holds? Possibly a more commodious one but in all likelihood not and I'll have to make some tough decisions about what stays and goes. The stand mixer will probably get nixed, I can go back to chopping by hand, and I can always get my caffeine fix from a French press and some water from a kettle on the stovetop. But you're gonna have to pry that ice maker from my very, very cold hands.