the great gadget: a kitchen timer


(Photograph by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, Apartment Therapy)

You, like me, have a clock on your oven’s dashboard, on your microwave, on your phone, on your left arm. Whyyyyy spend money on a timer for the kitchen? I never thought to until I used one in a test kitchen a few months ago. We timed everything and moved on to the next task. And I couldn’t believe what that did for my brain. It actually allowed me to move on to the next task fully. There was something about this device, that was devoted only to telling you when to check that the soup had simmered for 15 minutes, that allowed me to not look at the soup before then, and not let me forget to check it when I should. Maybe because it never let up, or switched back to being the oven clock, or get turned off while I went back to the phone call because the timer was indeed my phone.

I got by happily without a timer for years, so I know it’s possible. But I promptly went out and bought my own after my first experience with one, and now I use that timer more often than not in my kitchen. I am the nerd in the kitchen with the timer clipped to them, actually. That allows me to go upstairs and play on the computer carefree. Mine has two timers, allowing me to time separate steps, or cook with a buddy and each of us gets our own timer! Mine even starts going into overtime once the time runs out, so I can tell if I’m now 5 minutes late to check that soup. But despite how great my new timer is, I want a new one. That single, analog timer in The New York Times’ food writer Melissa Clark’s kitchen, pictured above (from The Kitchn’s tour of her new space). It doesn’t do at least 3 of the great things that mine does, but it looks way cooler. Don’t you love it? It’s not too late for you. Get that timer, or whichever one would look great in your kitchen. I think you’ll be as glad you did as I was.

Update: As Shannon pointed out in the comments, the timer pictured is actually a darkroom timer, in case you were looking to pick one up!