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Thread: Kitchen gadgets theoretically useful but dust collectors in practice

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Kitchen gadgets theoretically useful but dust collectors in practice

    So last Christmas we got a "Mac Magic" pasta pot. On the surface this seems like a practical gift. I mean we prepare a lot of pasta and such an item could see use multiple times a week. But, dang it, it seems force of habit is so strong and we've simply boiled water in a pot for so long it never occurs to us to use the thing whenever we prepare pasta. So it occupies a shelf in the basement. One other drawback is it's not quite as simple as cleaning a pot.

    Do you have any potential useful but heavily underutilized items collecting dust in their houses?
    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

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Not really. The wife is a great cook and knows how to use utensils. We don't need an avocado scoop or garlic peeler. She also hates one trick utensils outside of the ice cream scoop. We don't eat enough of any one thing to make it necessary. Something like mac magic is called a pot, a colander, and a wooden spoon. So many dishes to clean! I can't even talk her into one of those cool oval shaped dutch ovens made for pasta.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    We have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and a bread machine. Those are commonly just wastes of space in a lot of homes, but we use both quite frequently. My wife however does like to buy smaller utensils and then never use them. We probably have 48 cake scoopers and melon ballers. We have more cookie cutters than any house should have. We have three rolling pins and an entire cabinet full of cutting boards. Salad spinner? We've got two and I've never seen one get used. She did find a couple of winners though: a slap chop thing and another thing that you set an onion or pepper or whatever on top of a grate and then lower a press on top of it to chop it. My wife purchased both and used them each once or twice but I actually use them all the time. They are especially good for chopping veggies for soups or chili.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    I sort of still sell Pampered Chef. I'm the queen of unnecessary kitchen gadgets!

  5. #5
    My parents were notorious for buying the latest kitchen gadget. I keep things pretty simple myself. All this reminds me of Opus and turnip twaderlers in Bloom County.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I’ve used any appliance in my kitchen many, many times. I don’t buy “uni-taskers”. I didn’t need Alton Brown to tell me that.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Salmissra's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gtpeach View post
    I sort of still sell Pampered Chef. I'm the queen of unnecessary kitchen gadgets!
    I used to love Pampered Chef! I have a few gadgets around. But after several moves, only the multiple-use items remain.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    I used to love Pampered Chef! I have a few gadgets around. But after several moves, only the multiple-use items remain.
    I actually do use most of them. I'm getting ready to move so I purged a lot of the things I didn't use. And whenever I get to a point where that drawer doesn't shut, I usually go through things.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    I used to love Pampered Chef! I have a few gadgets around. But after several moves, only the multiple-use items remain.
    This past weekend, my mother tried to give me a Pampered Chef Multi-Grater & Slicer that she won at a pampered chef party/show. I tried it out on a block of cheese and it worked great but it was a pain to clean. I told her to keep it because I knew I wouldn't use it enough to make to justify giving it cabinet space.

    My mom is the queen of under utilized kitchen gadgets. She likes to buy them for herself and give them to others. I have a air fryer that I have used once that she gave to me when we asked for a deep fryer. It sits in the pantry awaiting a new home.

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    We've done a few kitchen purges over the years, but Mrs Maister suffers from some almost hoarder-like attachment to old kitchenware items. Much of the time these things' value is little more than "this was great aunt so-and-so's radish rosette maker. Remember the time we used it at that one party?" And I say...you mean the one we threw in 2003?

    Virtually unused items in our inventory include:
    popsicle molds
    1970's era electric frying pan (we have a relatively new one that we actually use)
    electric bun warmer
    egg slicer
    French fry slicer
    vegetable slicer (it might actually be a 35 year old RonCo model)
    6 bread pans (we only ever use two, maybe three of them)
    Set of 1980's era microwave dishes (it's a 'spare')

    My sins may not be as obvious, but I'm almost as bad when it comes to things like keeping four can punch openers around (you know, like you needed to open beer cans before they invented the pop top). Maybe the can punch end is seldom used but I go out of my way to use/rotate all four for the bottle cap opening ends: one is a Drewery's, another (my favorite) is a Goebels (adorned with an image of "Brewster the Goebels rooster"! TM), then there's a Stroh's opener (getting kinda rusty ), then there's the 'plain ol' opener I somehow found in our inventory one day - not sure where that one came from (but I'd hate for it to feel left out while the other three are in heavy rotation).
    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

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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    We have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and a bread machine. Those are commonly just wastes of space in a lot of homes, but we use both quite frequently. My wife however does like to buy smaller utensils and then never use them. We probably have 48 cake scoopers and melon ballers. We have more cookie cutters than any house should have. We have three rolling pins and an entire cabinet full of cutting boards. Salad spinner? We've got two and I've never seen one get used. She did find a couple of winners though: a slap chop thing and another thing that you set an onion or pepper or whatever on top of a grate and then lower a press on top of it to chop it. My wife purchased both and used them each once or twice but I actually use them all the time. They are especially good for chopping veggies for soups or chili.
    Our Kitchen Aid is used constantly. Pizza dough every week, cookies and cakes on occasion. I've always wanted one of those slap chop things for making stuff like salsa. My wife says we have a perfectly good Cuisinart for that. I argue that it chops it a little too fine. I don't win many arguments around my house.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  12. #12
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    ... I go out of my way to use/rotate all four for the bottle cap opening ends: one is a Drewery's, another (my favorite) is a Goebels (adorned with an image of "Brewster the Goebels rooster"! TM), ...
    On a side note, the Goebel's can opener in question has aged nearly as well as this Goebels tv ad (and yes, Brewster's image appears in it at the very end)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls-uhU6W0G8

    Now doesn't that just make you want to drink some Goebel's?
    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

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Our Kitchen Aid is used constantly. Pizza dough every week, cookies and cakes on occasion. I've always wanted one of those slap chop things for making stuff like salsa. My wife says we have a perfectly good Cuisinart for that. I argue that it chops it a little too fine. I don't win many arguments around my house.
    Seriously, the one gadgety Pampered Chef item that I actually love and will recommend to people is the manual food processor for that exact reason. It is a little bit of a pain to clean, but food processors in general are. I CANNOT make salsa in a regular food processor - I end up liquefying the onions. The manual food processor is perfect for that.

    I do use a lot of the others depending on what I'm doing and how much of it I have to do. But I know that a lot of them are gimmicky and won't necessarily get a lot of use in the average person's kitchen.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    At our old house, the next door neighbor hosted Pampered Chef parties. Mrs. P went to the first one "since she asked me & we live next door" guilt. She brought home some sort of item and I have no idea what its for. After she went to a couple more (& bringing home stuff), I asked her why she kept going. She told me the neighbor had asked her to keep coming as sort of a plant to ask questions and there was free wine.

    Needless to say there are several items in the various kitchen drawers I have no idea what they are supposed to be used for, but she does use her salad spinner and slap chopper thingy.

    Our most useless appliance is an indoor smores maker that my SIL sent The Girl one year for Christmas. We got it out of the box once to look at it and it resides in the garage but I'm not allowed to part with it for some reason.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    Our most useless appliance is an indoor smores maker that my SIL sent The Girl one year for Christmas. We got it out of the box once to look at it and it resides in the garage but I'm not allowed to part with it for some reason.
    A smores maker? Don't get me started. Last year junior bought me a retro-looking hot cocoa machine. I have yet to use it. However, he's used it maybe a dozen times this past year. Oh well, at least it's getting used.
    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

  16. #16
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I might be interested in a s'mores maker. We have s'mores at least once a week, whether they are made on the fire pit, the grill, or the microwave.

    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Our Kitchen Aid is used constantly. Pizza dough every week, cookies and cakes on occasion. I've always wanted one of those slap chop things for making stuff like salsa. My wife says we have a perfectly good Cuisinart for that. I argue that it chops it a little too fine. I don't win many arguments around my house.
    We have a blender with a food processor attachment and I think that actually works better for salsa than the slap chop because you can really just put almost everything into it all at once. The one drawback with with slapchop is that it has a sort of small capacity.
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  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by dvdneal View post
    Our Kitchen Aid is used constantly. Pizza dough every week, cookies and cakes on occasion. I've always wanted one of those slap chop things for making stuff like salsa. My wife says we have a perfectly good Cuisinart for that. I argue that it chops it a little too fine. I don't win many arguments around my house.
    I used my Kitchen Aid constantly when my kids were home. I love it. I’ve had it since 1984.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I might be interested in a s'mores maker. We have s'mores at least once a week, whether they are made on the fire pit, the grill, or the microwave.
    .
    Well this is it:

    https://kalorik.com/site/cym-42873-bk.html
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by Planit View post
    You have got to me kidding me. That's actually worse than the Fry Daddies from when I was a kid.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    We got rid of a ton of stuff when we left the midwest.

    At one point we had:
    • 3 coffee makers (Mr. Coffee Drip, Keurig, Senseo)
    • Toaster oven
    • George Foreman Grill
    • Waffle Maker
    • Ice Cream Maker
    • Ronco Rotisserie (Set it and forget it)
    • Citrus juicer
    • Centrifugal juicer
    • Stick blender
    • Upright standard blender
    • Coffee grinder
    • Panini maker
    • Food Dehidrator
    • Electric Frying Pan
    • Crock Pot
    • Electric Griddle
    • Electric Wok
    • Sliding slicer thing
    • Rotating slicer thing
    • Mini-food processor
    • Fondu Bowl thing
    • Air popcorn maker

    We got rid of 80% of that...
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    My kitchen stuff and I say mine because the wife would never buy one or use one:

    Air popcorn popper - kids love this thing. Something about popping kernels that makes them happy.
    Grill/quesa dia/waffle maker - I make waffles once in a while and the kids like heated tortillas stuffed with cheese that aren't microwaved

    She took over my wok. Thought it was the most useless thing until she had to fry something. She also claimed my cast iron pan I used for camping. Always complained it was too heavy. Now I'm not allowed to touch it because it's all seasoned just the way she likes it. My mom also bought a set of mini spatulas for the kids to pretend cook with. She claimed those as well. They're great for a couple eggs in the skillet.

    She does have what I normally consider useless stuff like a cherry pitter. At least it's useless until I get the benefit of a nice pie.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Doohickie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gtpeach View post
    I sort of still sell Pampered Chef. I'm the queen of unnecessary kitchen gadgets!
    Yep. My wife sold it for a while. We still have a kitchen full of the stuff.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian AG74683's avatar
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    Deep fryer. It just takes SO much oil to use and really isn't worth the hassle to pull it out and deal with it. Then you have to strain the oil and store it somewhere.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    A blender and a coffee maker. I inherited both from my former roommate. I just simply don’t use either. I get my coffee at work and if I want a frozen margarita or something, I’ll go out.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Coffee grinder (that is either on or off, no settings) vs buying it already ground.

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