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Appliance Party Night: A Gadget Gala


America’s obsession with convenience is manifested in all manner of glorious kitchen gadgets—many of which, unfortunately, end up in landfills. Do something about it this Earth Day: Throw a party and celebrate with fondue pots, salad shooters and chocolate fountains.

It might be an atypical approach to admiring Mother Earth, but it’s a fun way to “reuse,” as part of the recycle triangle. Save consumer appliances from going to trash wastelands by scooping them up at thrift stores, yard sales and re-gifting gatherings.

Some gadgets are more practical than others. Bachelors and busy families alike can find use for toaster ovens and bread machines, while an espresso maker or salad shooter are “luxury” items. Then there are always ice-cream makers, slow cookers, Fry Daddys and fondue pots to spice up any night.

My friend Dagny Strossner introduced me to the concept of an Appliance Party Night: Dust off the appliances you no longer use (or never used) and de-clutter the kitchen by taking your favorites to a friend’s house for an exchange or just to let them go to a good home. At a recent party, Strossner pulled out a milkshake maker. “Can you say ‘alcoholic milkshakes’? Chunky cookies & cream goodness—who would have known?” she says with a laugh.

The attendees weren’t celebrating Earth Day, but the idea works for the green at heart. “You know how you go to a party and everyone just stands around? Well, everyone had a job. If you didn’t bring your appliance, then you got put on one,” Strossner says. An electric wine bottle opener might kick-start the process; options abound when there’s an array of odd toys.

The evening could have finished on a sweeter note, though. “One thing I was banking on that never showed up was the chocolate fountain. I was totally devastated,” she says.