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When our oven decided to stop working we had to move quickly to replace it, and with us not being particularly flush with money, we had to opt for a very basic replacement, which unfortunately did not come equipped with a timer (it would have cost an extra £50 for the pleasure of that feature!) So the first thing I did was look on Amazon for a kitchen timer, and this gingerbread man caught my eye, it seemed reasonably priced as well (I think I paid around £6 or £7 for it at the time) and had good reviews so I didn't hesitate to buy it.
The timer is very nice to look at, shaped like a gingerbread man who is very cute looking with a smiley face, and everyone who has been in my kitchen has commented on it, especially children. It is about 4-5 inches high and about 3 inches wide, so it's a nice little size to fit on a shelf somewhere and not take up too much space. The nice thing about it is that you have the option of using the attached clip as a stand or as a belt clip. It also has a couple of magnets on the back so you can keep it on the fridge or freezer. Mine just sits nicely on top of my microwave so it is within easy reach and always visible.
The front of the timer has a large digital display which displays the time (which you have to set yourself) when the timer is not in use. Underneath the display are 3 buttons - minutes, seconds and a stop/start button - for setting the timer, which are a good size and easy to press.
***Using the Timer***
When you first use the timer you initially have to set the clock, a very simple process which is explained in the instructions, it only took me a couple of minutes to do this. Then you can begin using the timer for its main purpose - timing your cooking (it also has its other uses which I will explain later).
Setting the timer is very easy, just press the minute or second button and the screen will change to the timer screen, then you press the minute button to count up how many minutes you need, and the second button to count up how many seconds you need. If you are timing something for 5 or 10 minutes then it's easy to just press the minute button 5 or 10 times to get the desired time. However, if you are timing something much longer than this, if you hold down the button, the numbers will shoot up very quickly. Once you have the desired time set, you just press the start/stop button and away you go; you can watch the countdown, so you know at all times how long you have left before the beep is going to sound. And it's quite a loud high pitched beep, which can be heard in rooms outside of the kitchen, which is good if you are trying to catch up on some TV while you are cooking! To stop the beeper going off, just press any of the 3 buttons and the beeping will stop and the screen will automatically revert back to the clock.
If you need to stop the timer before the beep sounds, just press the stop button and the countdown will stop, and after a few seconds, the clock will appear again.
The other thing I use this timer for (and some of you may not agree with this) is to set a time limit on my daughter eating her tea. She is a very slow eater when it is something she is not particularly fond of, and she will chew the same mouthful for ages at a time. This can be very frustrating when my other daughter (and myself) have long since finished our tea and are eagerly awaiting our pudding. My youngest daughter knows that she will get no pudding if she does not eat her tea, so despite her being painfully slow she has every intention of eating everything, but she will sit there until 9pm if she has to. So one day, I plonked this timer in front of her, set to 10 minutes, and I told her if she had not finished by the time the beep sounded, she would get no pudding. She soon quickened her pace and finished with the 10 minute timescale!
So now I can get this timer out if she is being excruciatingly slow, and know that it will improve her eating.
I have been very pleased with this timer; it looks nice, and performs its task perfectly. I couldn't really ask for anything else; I use it every day, often more than a few times each day and it never lets me down. The nice thing about it as well is that it is appealing to children if they like to help out in the kitchen; it is something that they could easily use.
The only downside is the batteries are those small circular ones which are not as easy to come by as your standard pencil batteries. But the unit comes provided with these, and I suspect they will last for quite some time before needing to be replaced.
I'd recommend this to anyone on the lookout for a kitchen timer, or any timer for that matter - it could even be used as a toothbrush timer! It's fun, simple and easy to use.
These can be found on Amazon at the current price of £6.77 (Sept 2012). There is also a Cupcake version.
We seem to have been baking a fair bit of late, and this is our newest kitchen aid, designed to try and make sure we don't burn cakes and the like whilst busy doing other things.
This is a digital timer, as you can see it shaped like a gingerbread man, to appeal to little cooks, and has a fairly large digital display. It's about 10cm high and made of wipeable plastic with three big chunky buttons labelled M (minutes) S (seconds), with the third button being a start/stop button.
What you can't see from the picture is that there is a clip at the back of the timer. Cleverly this can attach to your apron or anything up to about 1cm thick - my child likes to clip hers onto her chair. The clip also has a little stand integrated into it, by pulling down a wire loop integrated into it you can change the clip into a stand, so the gingerbread man can stand up nicely at a 45 degree angle so you can see it whilst cooking. The clip can be removed all together so that you can attach your little gingerbread man to any metallic surface - like a fridge - as there are strong magnets in the back. In my experience the timer doesn't fall off a metal surface when used like this, even when you press the buttons. It's quite clever, though the clip does sometimes fall off when you don't want it to, especially when being used by an overenthusiastic child.
Using the timer is quite simple, and its use is well explained by the leaflet that comes in the pack. You, or preferably the child cooking with you, press the minute button until the desired time shows up, we don't tend to add seconds as normally. Like many timers you can either press it once for each minute you want to add, which is what I tend to let the children do, or hold the button down so the minutes scroll through more quickly. If you make a mistake you can clear the display by pressing the first two buttons together - it is fairly straightforward, which is a good thing in a product aimed at children. When not in use the timer displays the time.
As well as being handy to have for cooking times, I find this timer helpful as it involves my child in the baking of her cakes, and as the timer counts down it gives her an idea of how long she has to wait. I can't be the only mum who has given her children a completely false idea of units of time by regular use of "in a minute" when I actually mean "when I can/when I want to let you", so it's quite good to be able to show children what a minute is actually like. Keeping this well away from the oven also keeps them away from a dangerous hot appliance.
When the timer counts down it beeps quite loudly and quite insistently and can be heard in the next room. It is easily silenced by pressing any button. I haven't had to change the batteries yet, it came with some, and hope they will last a while as they are those slightly expensive thin ones, which is a bit of a shame.
Overall I am quite pleased with this timer, which is attractive to children and seems to work well. Apart from the clip being, as already mentioned, a little too easy to remove, it is quite solid and the buttons are well made and stand up to use by children.
This timer is also available in a cupcake design, and costs about £6, I've seen it in several cook shops and purchased mine from Cargo. Recommended.