My mother spent many years as a professional baker making everything from the perfect cinnamon rolls to wedding cakes. My grandmother is amazing at finding yummy and easy recipes I never would have found any other way and knows a lot of great cooking tricks she's learned over the years. With the help of those two amazing women I moved into my first apartment well prepared to cook for myself.
I've found that are some kitchen appliances that I use very frequently because they save time and work so well. But I also think that they are perfect for someone with a very small living space and who may not have a stove/oven.
1. An immersion blender. This is one of my mother's favorite kitchen tools because it is so versatile and can be used in situations where a full sized blender cannot, like when you are cooking something on the stove. We both really like the Cuisinart model because it has power, is well made, and has really useful attachements: a whisk, a small food processor, and a sharp-edged blending tool. My mother has the cordless version and loves the portability.
I used it today to make the best hot chocolate ever (the secret is to use real chocolate rather than cocoa).
2. A toaster oven. This has to be one of the best inventions ever and another of my mother's favorite appliances. It is perfect for someone who doesn't have an oven because you can use it to cook or bake small amounts of things without heating up your kitchen and it doesn't take up much space. Of course it is also a toaster. I cannot imagine not having one of these, I use it every day.
3. A rice cooker. I wanted a rice cooker just so I could make rice, but I had no idea that they could also be used to steam veggies to perfection if it has a steaming basket. I cook most of my veggies this way now and it saves me a lot of time. This would be perfect for a college student because they are very inexpensive (I've seen them for $10) and easy to use to make a healthy meal.
5. A slow cooker. My wise grandmother insisted that I get a slow cooker because it has been an invaluable appliance for her. Of course she was right, I use it on days where I don't have any time to cook or when preparing large quantities of beans to freeze for the upcoming week. I absolutely love the Cuisinart model (I know...I kind of have a thing for them, maybe because they seem to last forever and have all the functions I want) because it has a large ceramic pot and it is programmable so I can come home to a warm dinner.
Do you have a certain appliance that you love and find particularly useful (or fun to use? I know I'm eying a gourmet ice cream maker...)? Please do tell!
***Note that I have received no compensation for this post, these aren't thorough reviews and I'm not trying to advertise for the companies. My sole intent is to share my own experiences and opinions on cookware.