If money is no object, there are some extravagant additions a homeowner can look to for a kitchen designed to impress.
While not technically an indoor appliance, a barbecue fanatic might want to buy their own smoker to add flavor to hearty dishes. A Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse -- a large window for chefs who can't help peeking is a selling point -- goes for as low as $350.
If you're keen on a kitchen that's 10 times as interesting, the perfect gift for a would-be Jose Andres could be the nearly $3,500 Pacojet. The maker says it enables chefs "to 'micro-puree' deep-frozen foods into an ultra-light mousse, cream or sauce without thawing -- capturing the natural flavors and nutrients in individual, ready-to-serve portions." The system deep-freezes food; a high-precision blade, spinning at 2,000 rpm, shaves off micro-thin layers as desired.
Some want still more from their kitchens.
The Internet Home Alliance, which includes members companies such as Cisco (Stock Quote: CSCO) and Procter & Gamble (Stock Quote: PG), conducted a survey on "the digital kitchen" with 602 homeowners. It found "the kitchen functions as the nerve center of the house, with most families doing much more than just cooking and eating there."
The kitchen is also for entertaining friends, watching TV, doing homework, paying bills, talking on the phone, planning schedules and events and leaving messages and reminders for other family members. The survey suggested a wish list to fulfill these needs.
Digital calendar: Those surveyed reported wanting a calendar on a large screen that allows users to add appointments and post notes everyone in the household can see and access, whether from the kitchen or via the Internet.
Recipe projection system: Eight in 10 of those surveyed said they cook for enjoyment, and 64% do so at least several times per week. What they dreamed of was a wireless recipe projection system that would allow them to look up a recipe online, or even say aloud what they want to cook, and have the recipe projected onto a surface in the kitchen from a small cabinet-mounted device.
Internet access: Twenty-nine percent of homeowners and 43% of those remodeling their homes want to surf the Web while in the kitchen. Just 5% of homeowners said they wanted wired Internet access in their kitchen, with the overwhelming majority opting for wireless. At the very least, we might suggest investing in a stand or case that allows cooks to consult recipes on an iPad or other tablet device.