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Thread: Useless/Useful Kitchen Gadgets

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Useless/Useful Kitchen Gadgets

    I was looking in our messy kitchen junk drawer last night for a melon baller and thought to myself that we use the durned thing maybe once a year tops. Is it really worth keeping around? I ultimately concluded yes because at least it was small and we tended to use it repeatedly if not very often. Can't say that for the onion slicer, french fry cutter, or the radish rosette maker! And what the hell is this thing? I've never used it! I didn't learn of its function until just now, but we have one! I swear Mrs. Maister makes a deliberate point to use our 'salad spinner' once a year for no other reason than to justify keeping it around (and taking up lots of cupboard space)! On the other hand, we tend to use our slow-cooker during fall, winter, and spring months every few weeks for soups and stews that are ready to eat as soon as we're home from work.

    What are the most useless/unused gadgets found in your kitchen? And what are the most used/useful?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    What? You don't use your egg slicer on a routine basis?

    Stuff we use:

    We actually use our french fry slicer about once a month (we make healthy baked french fries). I used to slice by hand, but it took forever.

    We are about to buy a new slow cooker with a built-in timer. The insert for our current one cracked. I love the slow cooker because all you really do is dump a bunch of crap in it and come back in a few hours.

    Pineapple slicer. I love fresh pineapple. This would probably be put in the useless category for a lot of people, but not me.

    Never use:

    Electric Skillet. I don't know why, but we have yet to use this wedding present and it has been over a year.

    Apple slicer. Never used it.

    Egg slicer. Never used it either.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

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  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Maister -
    That gadget was mentioned by
    Quote Originally posted by sisterceleste
    I use one of those wire egg cutters
    in post #11175
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...13954&page=447
    Oddball
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Until I got married I never used a pressure cooker. I cooked beans and soup the old fashioned way, by cooking them slowly for a very long time. My wife got a pressure cooker. I scoffed. New-fangled gadgetry!

    Then I began to see the advantages. The pot liqour was richer and more flavorful. It cooked the beans and soup really fast. Instead of my hopping john taking much of the day to prepare, it was done p.d.q.

    Same to with my god-only-knows soup - prepared from whatever leftovers are in the frdge. Thirty minutes and the family has a hearty soup for lunch.

    I was wrong. i know it is hard to believe, but I was wrong. On this one matter.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I threw out a bunch of useless gadgets I'd had forever just a couple months ago. Things like a hamburger-patty shaper.

    Stuff I like: jar openers. The thingy that cuts the seal off a wine bottle. The thing that looks like a claw that works great getting pasta out of the pot. The ice cream scoop where you press a lever and it pushes the ice cream out of the scoop. Wooden toast tongs.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    When we got married, over 4 years ago, we registered for a belguim waffle maker and an electric griddle. We got them both, and have never used them once. My husband and I disagree about our garlic press. He says it is hard to clean and we should just use diced garlic from a jar. I say nothing beats the taste of freshly minced garlic. Last night I tried the jarred garlic, and though it smelled good when I was cooking it, I could hardly taste it in the dish.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch
    My husband and I disagree about our garlic press. He says it is hard to clean and we should just use diced garlic from a jar. I say nothing beats the taste of freshly minced garlic. Last night I tried the jarred garlic, and though it smelled good when I was cooking it, I could hardly taste it in the dish.
    We received a garlic press as a well intentioned gift...it gathered dust in a drawer for two years before we finally gave it away. Mrs. Bubba swears that it is just as easy for her to press and mince up garlic with a knife.
    I found you a new motto from a sign hanging on their wall…"Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy"

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I wish I had a spaetzle hex to take up space in my kitchen junk drawer. I'm sure I'd use it...... at least once.

    Does anyone have popsicle molds? Ever use them more than once?
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I wish I had a spaetzle hex to take up space in my kitchen junk drawer. I'm sure I'd use it...... at least once.
    I used to have two spaetzle makers. The small one that made enough for me and was relatively easy to clean got used regularly. I think the larger one, more like the behemoth I grew up with, got used ONCE in all the years I owned it.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Hmmm in my kitchen... there's nothing useless... no space to waste.... All I ever use are knives and peelers.... And there's not much you can do without them.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Does anyone have popsicle molds? Ever use them more than once?
    Yes and yes. We make them all the time. The kids love it. Plus, we can make whatever kind we want. We typically use 100% juice, so they are much better than store bought popsicles. Plus they are much smaller.

    We used them all the time as adolescents to sneak our alcohol. Put some vodka in with your favorite fruit juice and no one knew you were getting drunk while eating some popsicles (worked great in school). Of course, you couldn't put too much vodka in or else it wouldn't freeze enough to stay on the stick.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    I was looking in our messy kitchen junk drawer last night for a melon baller and thought to myself that we use the durned thing maybe once a year tops. Is it really worth keeping around? I ultimately concluded yes because at least it was small and we tended to use it repeatedly if not very often.
    I am of the Alton Brown school of thought: if it does not serve more than one purpose than it is a waste of space. Instead of a melon baller, I would just use my teaspoon or tablespoon.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister
    Does anyone have popsicle molds? Ever use them more than once?
    I had a set I used a lot when my son was little. Juice, root beer, coke, whatever the kid was in the mood for. But, they got broken and I never replaced them.

    Used to have a manual sno-cone maker. I really liked that, it kept my son and his friends really busy on hot days.

  14. #14
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Tonight we are having chicken prepared on a ......



    We use our rotisserie about a half dozen times a year - had it for 8 years. We got our money's worth out of it already.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    But I use my melon baller to scrape out the rinds to jalapenos and to pick up a very small spoonful of capers out of the jar and it lets the juice drain too.

    I use the garlic press, the potato ricer and the potato masher. Electric skillets are good when hosting brunch and you need more space on the stove, just cook whatever in the electric skillet.

    I don't use my blender mixer much, I KILL those things regularly, making peanut butter pie, I really need a big block cuisinart.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    I had a set I used a lot when my son was little. Juice, root beer, coke, whatever the kid was in the mood for.
    Dixie cups and Scotch tape would work.

    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    Used to have a manual sno-cone maker. I really liked that, it kept my son and his friends really busy on hot days.
    A food processor with the grater blade works fine.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Originally posted by Maister
    I wish I had a spaetzle hex to take up space in my kitchen junk drawer. I'm sure I'd use it...... at least once.

    Does anyone have popsicle molds? Ever use them more than once?
    I don't even know what a spaetzle hex is.

    My family had the popsicle molds when I was growing up, and I remember using them once. Something we used alot, though, were these special insulated cups. You'd put root beer, grape juice.. whatever in there, put the lid on and keep them in the freezer. Then it would freeze the liquid up enough to make slushies.

    The rotisserie reminds of George Foreman stuff. I had the little grill, the first one, but I probably used it only like 5 times, and haven't touched it in many years. Then there was the sandwich maker I convinced my mom to buy off an infomercial in high school. I actually used that thing all the time to make really unheathy grilled ham and cheese, and stuff. You could even cook eggs in it. And speaking of eggs, my parents had a special little poached egg pan, where water would boil below, and your eggs would cook in their own little well that rested above the boiling water. Man, I wish I had one of those now. Those eggs always turned out perfect.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch
    I don't even know what a spaetzle hex is.
    Something I apparently had never heard of either: http://www.aaltonet.com/spaetzle/index.shtml


    This is my favorite type of spaetzle maker: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...urfeitoflam-20

    And this is what I grew up with: http://www.loewen-urbach.de/spaetzle...zlepresse.html

  19. #19
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Ms. biscuit will be the first to admit that one of her biggest vices is kitchen equipment. She absolutely loves the stuff and buys it at every opportunity. Between the pile of things we got for our wedding and the additions she has made over the past two years, our shelves and cabinets are full of appliances, gadgets and what-nots. Luckily, we both enjoy cooking so a lot gets used. However, I’ve yet to find an opportunity to ball any melons or serve dinner with tiny pieces of silverware.

    Things that do get used:
    Food processor
    Blender
    Toaster
    Regular sized silverware
    Hand held mixer


    Things that never get used:
    Electric can opener
    Electric skillet
    The recently purchased salad spinner
    Garlic press
    Tea infuser
    Toaster oven
    Espresso machine
    Giant mixer
    Etc… etc… etc…

    Now where is that new turnip twaddler?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch
    And speaking of eggs, my parents had a special little poached egg pan, where water would boil below, and your eggs would cook in their own little well that rested above the boiling water. Man, I wish I had one of those now. Those eggs always turned out perfect.
    You can pick up a 4-egg or 6-egg poacher for $20-$30 at any homeware store like Bed Bath & Beyond.

    Quote:
    Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    Used to have a manual sno-cone maker. I really liked that, it kept my son and his friends really busy on hot days.


    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    A food processor with the grater blade works fine.
    Ah, but when you're dealing with 6 or 8 year olds, the whole is idea is to have a manual one, they have to work for their cones, which takes time and keeps them occupied!

    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    Dixie cups and Scotch tape would work.
    I dunno. Is it better environmentally to have one plastic set you use over and over for many years; or use up dozens and dozens of dixie cups and ice cream sticks? Plus, over time, if you use it a lot, the plastic set comes out way cheaper!

  21. #21
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I'll bet pasta makers rank right up there with fondue equipment in the dust collecting department for most people's homes.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  22. #22
    Cyburbian jmf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    I am of the Alton Brown school of thought: if it does not serve more than one purpose than it is a waste of space. Instead of a melon baller, I would just use my teaspoon or tablespoon.
    On this note, I use my egg slicer for eggs, strawberries and mushrooms. I also use it when I make egg salad sandwiches - slice and then turn and slice again.

    I like the strawberry huller since I don't stain my fingers but I can never find it.

    This year we are getting a lot of use out of our corn picks since the two-year-old loves eating corn on the cob!

  23. #23
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    You can pick up a 4-egg or 6-egg poacher for $20-$30 at any homeware store like Bed Bath & Beyond.
    A regular shallow frying pan filled with 1/2" of water can also be used to poach eggs. You just use a small bowl to introduce the egg to the simmering water to prevent separation.

    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    I dunno. Is it better environmentally to have one plastic set you use over and over for many years; or use up dozens and dozens of dixie cups and ice cream sticks? Plus, over time, if you use it a lot, the plastic set comes out way cheaper!
    Dixie cups are made of paper and wax and popsickle sticks are wood. The thing you are talking about is made from plastic, which comes from petroleum and is non-biodegradable.

  24. #24
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I really like my garlic press and have been using the cuisinart alot recently since I started making my own guacamole.

    We never used our big counter top mixer. We generally mix things by hand in a nice grippy bowl.

    I love my Pyrex. Greatest cooking dishes ever invented.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  25. #25
          Downtown's avatar
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    This has been the Summer of the Popsicle for us. It is the perfect transitioner to get Jack (2.5 yrs) off the swing set and back inside after dinner, before his bath.

    Things I always use:
    Garlic Press - Pampered Chef has a great one with a little thingie to clean the press out

    Melon Baller - mostly use for cookie dough and meat balls.

    Rotisserie, Waffle Iron, Rice Cooker, Slow Cooker, apple slicer/corer

    Food Processor - paid for itself in baby food

    Bread Machine - makes great pizza dough

    Things I never use: lemon zester, grapefruit knife, sandwich maker, half my Pampered Chef stonewear pans.

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