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Poor design in kitchen equipment


JAZ
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I recently bought a set of liquid measuring cups from Zyliss, which usually makes great kitchen gadgets. This set has a lot of great features -- it consists of a one-cup, a two-cup and a four-cup measure, all of which stack, with a lid that fits over the whole bunch, or over the largest one if you want to store something in the fridge. The measurements are easy to read, and it can all go in the dishwasher.

The problem? The so-called "pouring spouts" are mere bumps in the contour of the cups -- you may as well be pouring from a drinking glass. Why would they make a liquid measuring cup that you can't pour from?

Second example: Why don't the manufacturers of cooling/draining/roasting racks make one that fits in either of the most common size pans used in a home kitchen -- a half-sheet or quarter-sheet pan? Chicago Metallic makes both sheet pans and racks -- you think they could match up the sizes, but no. Or rather, yes, but only if you buy a set of two non-stick half-sheet pans and one rack. Otherwise, tough luck. You can buy a rack that's too small or one that's too large. Or end up with two non-stick pans you don't need.

Any other examples out there?

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I have the same pouring problem with the Pyrex measuring cups. If I don't get the pouring angle JUST RIGHT, it flows back down the jug and in the most recent incident, all over my feet.

The OXO SoftWorks ones work better with a much more angled spout, but they only come in plastic that isn't microwave safe, which is often a pain.

"Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats."

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food.craft.life.

The Lunch Crunch - Our daily struggle to avoid boring lunches

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Hi,

If you hate measuring cups without pouring lips what about high-priced sauce pans (GUESS WHOSE?) that have no pouring lips?

Cooling racks are made from chrome plated wire. I want heavy stainless. The I USED to buy heavy (1/8" steel) cooling racks. These made wonderful roasting racks on the top of skillets.

Tim

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Hi,

If you hate measuring cups without pouring lips what about high-priced sauce pans (GUESS WHOSE?)  that have no pouring lips? 

I recently bought my first set of high end cookware and I was also really surprised to find that saucepans with pouring spouts were so hard to come by.

My personal pet peeve is toasters that don't lift the bread or bagel high enough out of the slot so you have to dig in with a fork and hope not to electrocute yourself. Is it really that complicated of a design to avoid something to obvious?

"In a perfect world, cooks who abuse fine cutlery would be locked in a pillory and pelted with McNuggets."

- Anthony Bourdain

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My gripe is with colanders with bases that are solid (i.e., unperforated) ring stands and extend from the bowl all the way down. When you pour a pot of pasta or whatever into them, most of the water goes down the holes in the middle of the bowl and is trapped by the base, so it backs up into the bowl. If your sink is (cough) less than scrupulously clean, then all the yuck must be getting washed back up over your nice clean pasta. It is next to impossible to find a well-made colander with feet instead of this stupid ring stand.

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My gripe is with colanders with bases that are solid (i.e., unperforated) ring stands and extend from the bowl all the way down. When you pour a pot of pasta or whatever into them, most of the water goes down the holes in the middle of the bowl and is trapped by the base, so it backs up into the bowl. If your sink is (cough) less than scrupulously clean, then all the yuck must be getting washed back up over your nice clean pasta. It is next to impossible to find a well-made colander with feet instead of this stupid ring stand.

Dianabanana, check out the colanders/strainers that are rectangular and made of mesh, like a strainer, but with a frame that expands to fit over the top edges of your sink. The frame holds the strainer basket well above the bottom the sink, and they're way more secure than balancing a regular strainer on the sink edges/divider. I got mine at Linens 'N' Things and its one of the best inventions yet.

--Roberta--

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Hi,

If you hate measuring cups without pouring lips what about high-priced sauce pans (GUESS WHOSE?)  that have no pouring lips? 

I recently bought my first set of high end cookware and I was also really surprised to find that saucepans with pouring spouts were so hard to come by.

My personal pet peeve is toasters that don't lift the bread or bagel high enough out of the slot so you have to dig in with a fork and hope not to electrocute yourself. Is it really that complicated of a design to avoid something to obvious?

That's why I stick to my "antique or vintage" Sunbeam "T" type toasters.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Well-designed sauce pans don't need spouts; if their lips are shaped appropriately, as with my Sitram saucier, you can pour easily without a spout.

My gripe: burner caps on the single-ring gas burners on virtually all non-professional ranges, which push flame out and away from the center instead of up. Fat Guy lays out the problem in this post, in which he responds to my complaint about hot handles and singed pan sides:

This is a standard problem with the single-ring sealed burners you see on a lot of the mid-level gas ranges. The sealed burners have the gas jets aimed outwards and sort of under and around the burner cap (this is how they make them immune to spills) so they create a big ring of about 6" or more in diameter. This is why a lot of the better ranges use unsealed, concentric-ring designs (star-shaped burners are also a choice).

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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My nominees for an all-pervasive example of rotten design: German knives of the "Wustdent" variety and their pricey ilk. What's with that raised chunky clump at the base of the knife where it attaches to the handle? (The heel?)

Its thickness prevents the knife getting really sharp, no matter what method you use, without eventually wowing the blade. The heel prevents the blade edge from lying flat to the board. I've always hated these knives, presents from well-meaning family.

My Global, among other knives, doesn't have this stupid bump, so it can be sharpened evenly the full length of the blade.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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My nominees for an all-pervasive example of rotten design: German knives of the "Wustdent" variety and their pricey ilk. What's with that raised chunky clump at the base of the knife where it attaches to the handle? (The heel?)

Its thickness prevents the knife getting really sharp, no matter what method you use, without eventually wowing the blade. The heel prevents the blade edge from lying flat to the board. I've always hated these knives, presents from well-meaning family.

My Global, among other knives, doesn't have this stupid bump, so it can be sharpened  evenly the full length of the blade.

Henkle has a few without it....as do I :biggrin:

so many kitchens I have worked in dont have a knife that hits the board flush because of this

T

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

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My gripe is with colanders with bases that are solid (i.e., unperforated) ring stands and extend from the bowl all the way down. When you pour a pot of pasta or whatever into them, most of the water goes down the holes in the middle of the bowl and is trapped by the base, so it backs up into the bowl. If your sink is (cough) less than scrupulously clean, then all the yuck must be getting washed back up over your nice clean pasta. It is next to impossible to find a well-made colander with feet instead of this stupid ring stand.

Dianabanana, check out the colanders/strainers that are rectangular and made of mesh, like a strainer, but with a frame that expands to fit over the top edges of your sink. The frame holds the strainer basket well above the bottom the sink, and they're way more secure than balancing a regular strainer on the sink edges/divider. I got mine at Linens 'N' Things and its one of the best inventions yet.

Brilliant. Thanks.

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My nominees for an all-pervasive example of rotten design: German knives of the "Wustdent" variety and their pricey ilk. What's with that raised chunky clump at the base of the knife where it attaches to the handle? (The heel?)

Its thickness prevents the knife getting really sharp, no matter what method you use, without eventually wowing the blade. The heel prevents the blade edge from lying flat to the board. I've always hated these knives, presents from well-meaning family.

My Global, among other knives, doesn't have this stupid bump, so it can be sharpened  evenly the full length of the blade.

Henkle has a few without it....as do I :biggrin:

so many kitchens I have worked in dont have a knife that hits the board flush because of this

T

That's called a bolster, and it's there to provide stability as well as prevent the back edge of the blade from slicing into the side of your second finger, should you be one of us who employs the hand-over-edge grip. It's true that unless you have a big-ass grinding wheel (and mad skillz to go with it), you can't maintain a proper edge shape as long as the bolster is pristine and intact. But a professional sharpener can manage it by taking down the bolster itself; I've pulled a couple of knives back from the brink by letting a pro do it.

On the other hand, I agree that the bolster on many knives is over done. Messermeister Elite and Shun's Ken Onion line use partial bolsters, which provide balance, protection you and access for sharpening.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I just realized I didn't register a real complaint, so I'll pile on here.

Hi,

If you hate measuring cups without pouring lips what about high-priced sauce pans (GUESS WHOSE?)  that have no pouring lips? 

I recently bought my first set of high end cookware and I was also really surprised to find that saucepans with pouring spouts were so hard to come by.

. . . .

These same expensive pots and pans have really terrible handles -- sexy-looking, maybe (they sure look good on TV), but clearly not designed with the shape of the human hand in mind.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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My nominees for an all-pervasive example of rotten design: German knives of the "Wustdent" variety and their pricey ilk. What's with that raised chunky clump at the base of the knife where it attaches to the handle? (The heel?)

Its thickness prevents the knife getting really sharp, no matter what method you use, without eventually wowing the blade. The heel prevents the blade edge from lying flat to the board. I've always hated these knives, presents from well-meaning family.

My Global, among other knives, doesn't have this stupid bump, so it can be sharpened  evenly the full length of the blade.

Agreed. Old Sabatiers, for instance have a bump, but there is clearance and curve to accommodate an edge that will lay flat to a board. Many German knives have a unnecessarily large heel, although the blades are often quite good.

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I really don't understand what you refer to when you say the blade should "lay flat to the board" or something to that effect.

In this thread

post #12, I have pictured a custom-made knife that has a small bolster but it has been ground down and sharpened because I wanted a knife which I could use for splitting small bones by using the base of the blade where the bolster mades the blade stronger and has a more wedge-shaped profile.

The sharpened bolster wil dig into the bone and a tap with a mallet on the back of the blade, where it meets the handle, will split a beef (or pork) rib.

Each component of a knife has a purpose and that is the reason that I don't buy "sets" of knives, I have selected particular knives from certain makers because those particular knives fit my hand (large for a woman) while others in the line are not at all comfortable.

Having chipped a corner off a chef's knife without a bolster, with the chip lodged in the bone, I learned that the bolster is necessary if a knife is going to be used for certain actions, while one is not necessary if just using it to slice and chop less dense materials.

I like some of Wusthof's knives but I have never been a fan of Henckels or Sabatier. I like many of Frederick's knives and Lamson Sharp and have a few favorites in their lines.

As you can see I have a few Globals and also have a couple of Furi. I have some inexpensive Forschner for other people to use as I do not like having other people use my good knives and everyone knows it. To me, knives are a very personal extensions of my hand and not to be shared.

I would advise anyone who has a knife with an uncomfortable bolster to a professional knife person and have them grind it down and put a proper bevel on it. Once set, it can be maintained but it should be originally worked by a pro. I have a Chef's Choice pro sharpener but I still take my knives to a pro every couple of years. When I was doing more cooking, I had them done more often.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I really don't understand what you refer to when you say the blade should "lay flat to the board" or something to that effect.

In this thread

post #12, I have pictured a custom-made knife that has a small bolster but it has been ground down and sharpened because I wanted a knife which I could use for splitting small bones by using the base of the blade where the bolster mades the blade stronger and has a more wedge-shaped profile. 

The sharpened bolster wil dig into the bone and a tap with a mallet on the back of the blade, where it meets the handle, will split a beef (or pork) rib. 

Each component of a knife has a purpose and that is the reason that I don't buy "sets" of knives, I have selected particular knives from certain makers because those particular knives fit my hand (large for a woman) while others in the line are not at all comfortable. 

Having chipped a corner off a chef's knife without a bolster, with the chip lodged in the bone, I learned that the bolster is necessary if a knife is going to be used for certain actions, while one is not necessary if just using it to slice and chop less dense materials. 

I like some of Wusthof's knives but I have never been a fan of Henckels or Sabatier.  I like many of Frederick's knives and Lamson Sharp and have a few favorites in their lines. 

As you can see I have a few Globals and also have a couple of Furi.  I have some inexpensive Forschner for other people to use as I do not like having other people use my good knives and everyone knows it.  To me, knives are a very personal extensions of my hand and not to be shared.

I would advise anyone who has a knife with an uncomfortable bolster to a professional knife person and have them grind it down and put a proper bevel on it.  Once set, it can be maintained but it should be originally worked by a pro.  I have a Chef's Choice pro sharpener but I still take my knives to a pro every couple of years.  When I was doing more cooking, I had them done more often.

When I say "lay flat" I mean that if you place the blade on a level surface and rock it back and forth at no time do you see light between the blade and the surface. Additionally, if your blade is resting on its heel there should be space between blade and the board.

I have used a metal file to grind down a heel or two, but it is a pain. I like the idea of electric knife sharpeners, but feel that they often take too much metal out of the belly of the blade, while leaving the heel untouched.

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I have owned several of the Chef's Choice sharpeners (having worked my way up to the newest M-130 specifications here) and have not noted any significant loss of metal from the blade. However the diamond 3-stage abrasives are not as aggressive as the silicon carbide wheels in other sharpeners (that are also less expensive).

I have a lot of experience with silicon carbide cutting wheels because for many years I did engraving in glass and my cutting wheels, burrs and single-diamond points, all had to be "trued" or "dressed" on a flat, angled or V-groove wheel. The only time I ever placed a knife against one of these wheels was after breaking the tip off a boning knife - fairly inexpensive, and ground it down to a point.

I do use them for sharpening my garden tools, mattock, axes, hatchets and brush hook but even for these not-so-precise-edges, I clamp the tool blades onto a holder that will maintain the correct angle because using a file by hand is very imprecise. :hmmm:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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