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Appliances That Make Holiday Hosting a Snap

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers

When you have a season full of baking and broiling, organizing large feasts, and enjoying days of leftovers ahead of you, you know you’ll be spending a lot more time than usual in the kitchen. Even those of us who stick to small family dinners rather than huge parties with extensive guest lists tend to cook to excess and make as many dishes as possible, and that can lead to some tricky situations during meal preparation and when it comes time to clean up. If you live for cooking during the holidays and want to set up the ideal kitchen to help you execute your tasks, here’s what to look for in appliances that will be there to help when you need them most!

KitchenAid 72" Counter-Depth French Door Bottom Mount Refrigerator

The new 72” Counter-Depth French Door Bottom Mount refrigerator from KitchenAid® has the largest capacity in its class and features a split shelf that can be easily retracted to make space for tall items, produce-preserving crisper drawers, and many other bonuses that aren’t found in the average fridge.

Flexible Refrigerated Storage

Just about everything begins and ends with the refrigerator. From stocking up all your ingredients to storing the leftovers, you’ll want to have a fridge that has the capacity to meet your demands at their biggest. But you also need to look beyond cubic volume and weigh the pros and cons of accessibility and accommodation to find the perfect cold storage solution for your kitchen; all the space in the world doesn’t help much if the arrangement of drawers and shelves doesn’t offer practical organizational potential. Invest in a refrigerator with an intelligent preservation system if you’re serious about keeping produce fresh, and see how shelves can be adjusted to serve your needs in the moment. If you can move small items and slide away their shelf to make room for a pitcher or an oversized roaster pan, you can avoid the stress that comes with playing kitchen Tetris when you could be doing anything else.

If you already have a fridge that suits your needs—or you’ve already maxed out what’s residentially available—and you still can’t seem to make holiday food storage go smoothly, there is still hope! Undercounter refrigerators and freezers transform cabinets so they can store food and keep it conveniently located, and most people find these preferable to an extra fridge or chest freezer in the basement or garage. You’ll be able to more easily prepare for and clean up after large meals when you have the right appliances at hand.

KitchenAid 30" Combination Wall Oven with Even-Heat True Convection

The 30” Combination Wall Oven with Even-Heat™ True Convection pairs a convection oven for even cooking and predictable results with a high-speed convection microwave to help produce more dishes more precisely at once.

Versatile Cooking Stations

While the refrigerator is the unsung hero of the holidays, everybody will be looking to the oven and stove to see how the menu is shaping up. And as anybody who has tried to coordinate the timing and proper cooking temperature of multiple dishes at once using just a single range will know, preparing a traditional holiday feast can be a frustrating experience. It might be to your benefit to separate the oven and cooktop to divide and conquer, especially if cooking is a team event in your home, but the characteristics of the appliances you choose are usually much more important.

Look at how cooking space is apportioned and what kinds of special features those spaces have to offer you. For instance, a double oven gives you the ability to cook at different temperatures at the same time—perfect when you need to bake potatoes and pies—and many come with convection and combination options that help cook meals more thoroughly and quickly. And as for the stove, there are benefits to be found for both electric and gas cooktops, but if you are serious about functionality and speed, induction is the way to go. Induction takes the guesswork out of proper preparation with precise heat settings and special controls that are programmed to simplify your life. Just touch a button to hold soup at serving temperature or melt delicate chocolate without scorching your pan.

Many people aren’t aware that double oven ranges are available, so if you have a small kitchen, don’t think that you’re doomed to endure painstakingly scheduling the different components of your meal. There are gas and electric models, too, so they will work with what your home already has set up. Explore the possibilities that different appliances offer—you’ll probably be surprised by how much variation there is in the market.

KitchenAid 27" Slow Cook Warming Drawer, Architect Series II

Whether you need more space to cook or you really want to keep dishes at the perfect temperature until they can be served, the 27” Slow Cook Warming Drawer, Architect® Series II can add a new level of functionality to the kitchen.

A Culinary Pause Button

If you've ever wondered how commercial kitchens can serve piping hot dishes in less time than it would take to cook them from the time you ordered, the answer lies in an appliance known as a warmer. For very busy, high-volume restaurants that can’t possibly keep up with demand during peak hours, success lies in preparing ahead of time, and because many people face the same challenge when they host an extravagant dinner party, you’ve probably wished there were a similar option for residential use. Now there is, and you’ll love how it takes away some of the stress of hosting.

Warming drawers are unobtrusive at first sight, but they can completely change how you use your kitchen. Often placed beneath a wall oven or simply under a countertop, these drawers can store dishes at serving temperature while you move on to preparing the next round—and that means you don’t have to crowd your counters with quickly cooling courses before it’s time to sit down. A warming drawer makes it easy to keep a plate warm for any late arrivals as well as keep an entrée at its best for anybody who wants seconds. When you have the means to prepare a feast at a more leisurely pace and maintain its quality, you won’t have to bother adding reheating to your to-do list.

KitchenAid 39 dBA Dishwasher with ProScrub Option

With a third level rack and a fold-down shelf with stemware holders, the 39 dBA Dishwasher with ProScrub Option is a great choice for cleaning up after a decadent meal that produces a lot of dishes during preparation and feasting.

Convenient Cleanup

A pile of dishes is all that sits between a fantastic meal and enjoying the rest of the night, but cleaning it can seem like an insurmountable task. Don’t be discouraged by the sheer volume of flatware or tricky utensils and stemware that await you—it’s just a matter of having the right tools in place to tackle each piece. And while handwashing used to be the only good option for a lot of it, dishwashers have definitely stepped up their game to meet our higher expectations.

Many of today’s new dishwashers provide a lot more than the bare minimum of two racks and a utensil tray. Not only are there models with three racks—which provide the perfect place for awkward items like large knives, serving spoons, and casserole pan lids—but you’ll also find that you have the choice to invest in specialized features that suit your needs. Holders for delicate objects and targeted nozzles make it possible to protect and clean efficiently. You wouldn’t dare trust an appliance with wine glasses and baby bottles before, but they have definitely advanced in recent years. With the increase in technology, dishwashers also clean tough messes more effectively, and that means you can spend a lot less time at the sink, preparing your dishes to be washed, when all you need to do is load them up.

If you’re looking for appliances that’ll help you be as productive in the kitchen as you want to be, take a look at KitchenAid’s® extensive, state-of-the-art collection. You’ll find refrigerators, ovens, and cooktops in all sorts of configurations for every kind of cook, and also some of the most advanced and quiet dishwashers in the industry. Of course, these appliances are available in multiple finishes or come panel-ready to blend into your cabinetry, so they’ll fit into any design and keep your kitchen looking great when guests come over!

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