Saturday, October 28, 2006

Top 10 Useless Kitchen Gadgets

Some of the following material contains adult subject matter. Reader discretion is advised.

First off let me just say that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, I am a firm believer of that. So before you go and get your shirt in a knot, remember that this is just my (experienced professional) opinion and if you happen to have one of these gadgets and use it and love it, that’s just fine too. Whatever makes you happy! Granted this is a bit of a rant on my part, but I also want to point out that sometimes, no matter what some commercial is telling you, you DON'T need a gadget for every job. You would never see any of these item in a professional kitchen, that's how useless they are.
Today, consumerism is rampant and we could learn a lesson or two from the Chinese. Do you thinkthat in the average kitchen in China they have a tool for every little job? No, there's a good wok, a cleaver, a steamer for rice and a few odds and ends. Watch the movie Eat Drink Man Woman; the father can practically peel a grape with a cleaver.
Remember: never underestimate a good sharp knife! It gets the job done. Even for an Octodog (see below)

On more thing. I chose these from hundreds of similar gadgets, utensils and contraptions that I have seen and heard of over the years. Maybe they aren't the most useless of them all, but I find them the most common and the most annoying. That said, here they are!

Top Ten Useless Kitchen Gadgets ( in random order)

  1. Mushroom Brush. I always see these sitting on the edge of people’s sinks, looking filthy, and I can’t help wondering if they double as nail brushes, pot scrubbers, etc. Disgusting. Are the mushrooms really so dirty that we need to have these brushes on hand at all times? Guess what? I never clean my button mushrooms. Ok, if there’s a huge clump of dirt clinging on, I’ll get it with my knife.
  2. Turkey Baster. I’ve never met anyone who actually uses theirs, but I have heard of people who have used them to assist in getting pregnant. They look so dumb, are usually in old 70's colors and take up space in a drawer 364 days out of the year. Have a dry bird? Use your gravy ladle. I know you have one of those if you're cooking a turkey.
  3. Corn Holders. People collect these like they are going out of style. Would it actually be so wrong to hold the corn with your hands? Too hot? Who’s going to bite into an ear of corn if it’s too hot to even handle? Again, I know people who have service for 20, but have never used them.
  4. Garlic Presses. More like garlic juicers. None of which have ever successfully pressed a peeled garlic clove. You end up loosing half of the garlic in the press, plus, have you ever cleaned one of these??? I’d rather rince a knife blade under water than spend ten minutes picking garlic out of the little holes. People are always shocked and dismayed that I don’t have a garlic press. Listen up, I don’t care. It's against my unspoken culinary code of conduct. Same goes for garlic peelers: it's so much easier to whack a clove with the flat side of a chef's knife. Gets rid of frustration too. (Also, from a gourmet's perspective, size matters. Crushed, pulverized garlic emits the most intense flavor. Sometimes you need a more subtle hint of garlic in a dish and thinly sliced would work best here. See what I mean?)
  5. Melon Ball Scooper. Didn't know that melons had balls? Suprise! Apparently they need a lot of scooping. This technique is so 80's, you're dating yourself if you serve these in a fruit salad. Don't want to get rid of it? Use it to scoop cookie dough to make perfectly shaped little balls of goodness.
  6. Apple Peeler, corer, slicer, etc. When did it become so much work to peel an apple?? These things are so ridiculous. First of all, look at the size of this contraption. Compare the valuable cupboard space it takes up to a slender vegetable peeler. Now haul it out of that box, mount that apple, blab blah blah. Clean it and put it back in the cupboard, way in the back with all the other stuff you use once a year. Oh look, I’ve already peeled a bushel of apples with my little peeler.
  7. Egg Separator. This is a device that is supposed to hold the yolk while allowing the white to drop into a dish. These are getting more and more elaborate by the year. (see above photo.) It's easier - much easier - to use the broken eggshell, and much, much sexier to strain it through your fingers. Yea so you have to wash your hands after. Well, you should always wash your hands after handling eggs anyway.
  8. Electric Carving Knife. Don’t get me started. If I ever have one of these, just shoot me. Enough said.
  9. Measuring Spoons with a ‘pinch’, ‘smidgeon’, ‘dash’, etc. PulEEZe. You know you've seen these. If you happen to own then I hope they were a gag gift.
  10. Bagel Slicer. Now these are downright dangerous no matter what the add says. This one is actually called the Bagel Guillotine Biter. Need I say more? Bagel Guillotine Biter. Oops, there goes a finger. (I also have no use for hardboiled egg slicers, avocado slicers, etc) Apparently there are a lot of people out there who are having trouble slicing their bagels. Now you can buy them pre-sliced, people. Whew. Solving the worlds problems, one at a time. Note: the Bagel Guillotine website would like us to know that their product has been clocked at slicing 20 bagels per minute. Who are these people who are eating 20 bagels in the morning?? I'll tell you what. You have 20 -or 40, or 400- bagels to slice and I'll come over and slice them personally. Just don't ask me to use an electric knife.

And as a bonus, I present the all-time worst kitchen gadget I have ever seen: The OCTODOG. This is from, but I'm afraid of posting the picture on my blog, so you'll have to link to their site if you want to see this monstrosity. But if you've read this far, I bet you do.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Octodog. That really should have been the #1 most useless kitchen gadget. Mom made "teeth" in our lunch sandwiches when we were young, but now I wish she had the octodog.

They should put these in the publisacs as promotional items for LBP.

Anonymous said...

great blurb on gadgets there! what about the George foreman grill ? does it qualify?
- Josh

Anonymous said...

Wow! I laughed so hard! I talked to dad today and he said he thinks you missed your should have been a standup comedien!

Michelle said...

You are tooo funny! Okay, unfortunately I am one of those people who could benefit from corn on the cob holders. I have in fact eaten corn on the cob when it was too hot and burnt the roof of my mouth! It even blistered. I knew it was too hot, but just kept going b/c I was so hungry! I don't learn.

April said...

Wow that was great! I think you should sent the article to be published. I hate garlic presses too. My mom loves gadgets but rarely uses them.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Aimee.
In references to Josh's comment, I have an indoor grill and I love it. If you ever bash it, I may have to stop reading your blog. :)

akaSuperMatt said...

check out a Williams-Sonoma catalog sometime. It's full of useless gadgets nestled among various overpriced items.

Anonymous said...

Hey Aimee!
Great article! I'm absolutely with you on some....the mushroom scrubber....the electric knife, the bagel slicer.....I mean please people!!!!! But I do have to stand behind the apple you have witnessed first hand at my apt., the apple peeler can be your best friend in times of need! And also in times of 'crap! I slices my finger again, and now there's tiny bits of band aid's in the apple crisp....." do you see where I'm coming from? All of this is just speculation, of course, I have no experience in these 'band aid bits'!

Coral said...

Growing up we always used a turkey baster to suck out the grease from beef we'd browned. I still do it in my own home now. :)

crazy daddy said...

I haven't tried them all and definitely I have no plan to try these useless kitchen wares here.

Cool Kitchen Gadget User said...

I'm all for egg separators (it just gets messy using shells) but must the always be shaped like noses!? I mean, I suppose it's one way of getting me to eat less meringues by putting me off my food whilst I make them!

Thanks for sharing.

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