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Things that are a total waste of money


Fat Guy
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Lovely. It reminds me of the time I was cooking in the kitchen of a friend's restaurant and all the old standard aluminum restaurant pans were so warped they were more like metal bowls, but it didn't matter. The burners on the commercial range distributed the heat quite evenly, and as long as the guy on the saute station pays attention and keeps things moving, nothing burns.

I still use those commercial pans.

When they get too rounded on the bottom, we just smack them on a heavy cutting board or similar object and they're good as new!

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If you guys think granite/marble counter tops are bad, you haven't tried concrete countertops! I don't know how much these have caught on for home use, but I'd lived in a house that had been remodled by a guy with too much money who had to go for the cutting edge concrete counter tops. They looked cool, but because they had to be so thick - a good 2-1/2 to 3 inches - they were really cold. And concrete does stain and crack - or rather acquires a patina with use. :huh: At the time I know a guy who made them and thought they were cool, but now it seems rather ridiculous.

I sympathize with the cold surface complaint, I hate bars made out of heat-sucking material that chill you to the bone when you lean on them. BUT my Mom's granite counters are lightyears better than the 1940's yellow hexagonal tile that was there when I grew up, gathering dirt in all the grout lines. There are other reasons why trying to cook in her kitchen drive me nuts, but at least the counters are easily cleanable and I can roll pastry or do chocolate work on them.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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We've touched on this on other threads, but some gadgets are a waste for some people and a godsend for others.  One of my friends laughed at my battery-powered pepper mill, but only until I explained that when I have an arthritis flare-up, it's the only way I can grind pepper. 

We don't have an electric or battery powered can opener, and have no plans to get one anytime soon.  With the increasing use of pop-top cans, we may never get one.  But there have been times when turning the handle on the manual can opener has brought tears down my cheeks.  I've found out the hard way not to do stuff like that if it hurts, because over-stressing one joint can produce a whole-body flare-up that lasts for weeks and takes a dangerous amount of NSAIDs and Tylenol to chase away.  Most of the time, I can use a manual can opener with no problem.  Next time it hurts, though, if Mr. jgm isn't home, one of the neighbors will have to open the can.

I used to think the electric jar openers were a ridiculous waste of money, until I watched a friend of mine who has rheumatoid arthritis hold a jar between her forearms and use one of those things.  Even with the opener, it was a struggle for her, but at least the opener made it possible for her to get the jar open.

Jenny

As Mom of Heidi, it is important that I remind everyone that every piece of equipment has a purpose for folks-- be it a mango splitter, or pre-cut broc.

But, what the kids at the apartment she's at one day a week really like, are rolls of paper towels and spray bottles of windex. They use these on everything, and I'm sure that all surfaces are clean. The other thing they really like is the wooden lemon/lime reamer that I gave to the apartment. All of the staff and parents have started donating lemons and limes, and I've contributed re-washable plastic glasses, and some sugar, and meauring cups, so they are making lemonade. (Note: they add a packet of no-sugar-added Koolaide for color).

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 2 weeks later...

As for All Clad I got 2 fry pans 10 & 12, 1 saucepan 3 qt, and 1 stockpot (8 qt) with lids all coppercore from a store display off of a reputable eBay vendor in 2004 for $400. So I think it was a pretty good deal, they have held up really well. My LC dutch oven came with quite a few warnings about its use so I prefer to cook with my All Clad. Funny side note, my wife and I received a Macy's Martha Stewart 8 qt. stockpot for Christmas last year and it is really bad, rust forms on the interior.

My contribution to the granite discussion is that I would never go with Corian because it scratches too easy. I also wouldn't choose granite because for the same price I could get Silestone which is quartz based, has Microban built in and doesn't require sealing.

Edited by Audiofan2 (log)

Twitter: Audiofan2

www.sacramentocook.com

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...Funny side note, my wife and I received a Macy's Martha Stewart 8 qt. stockpot for Christmas last year and it is really bad, rust forms on the interior....

I have never purchased a Martha Stewart branded item I was totally happy with. The workmanship is always inferior, the designs are sometimes flawed, and neither are indicative of the price. The worst was what seemed to be a relatively nice, 12-inch saute pan with a beautiful, thick copper bottom. The sucker was HEAVY, the inside was 18/10 stainless, I thought, yeah, nice pan.

First time I used it, I put some oil in it to saute/brown something, and it all ran to the edges. The damn thing had been milled so badly on the interior, that the bottom was convex ! Everything I tried to use it for (granted, I only tried 2 or 3 times before it went to the local charity) stuck like a b*stard because there was no oil in 99.9% of the pan. Last Marfa-branded item I ever, or will ever, buy.

To drag this back on topic, talk about a 100% waste of money.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I hear you Pierogi.

Over the years I have come across any number of cooking vessels that have convex or sometimes concave bottoms - the latter usually those with a raised rim on the outside of the bottom.

I began carrying an 8-inch wooden ruler in the bottom of my purse - that also had a leveling bubble in one side and I used that to check the configuration of skillets, griddles, stockpots, etc.

On one occasion I thought a stockpot (20-qt) didn't look quite right, set it on a counter and found that it was canted to one side by several degrees. I pointed it out to the sales rep. and he simply shrugged and said that as it was probably going into a restaurant kitchen where they wouldn't care how it looked as long as it took the heat.

I also once found a "bubble" about 2 1/2 inches in diameter in the center of an electric griddle. I had insisted on taking it out of the box to see it as it was a wedding gift. The salesperson was reluctant, saying it was no different from the one on display but I insisted. I am very glad I did. I did not buy that brand.

"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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This is outrageous: biggest waste of money for me was a food processor. Someone had given me one and I really liked it. I bought a new one, and handed the hand-me-down down. Mistake. I liked it becuase the blade wasn't sharp. I don't like my food liquid. I've replaced it with Microplane graters and a mortar and pestle -- I can control the size and texture of the food better. I admit it cuts butter into flour very nicely but the clean-up isn't worth the effort.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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I also own other pieces of All Clad and Le Creuset that were wedding gifts.  I think a lot of people get their "nice" kitchen stuff as wedding gifts, and All Clad is readily available at the major department stores and Williams-Sonoma.

All of the All-Clad I have came to me as gifts. At the time I was quite happy to get it, and have gotten more than 15 years of use out of the stuff. The same with my Henckels knife set. Is this what I would buy for myself today, knowing what I have learned in the meanwhile? Probably not, but I should I tell my mom, sorry, but 15 years ago you should have gotten me Sitram instead? She'd have no idea what I was talking about. Though I have to say, the one thing I really don't like about the AC is that it is hard to pour out of them.

On the other hand, now that I can actually afford to do so, and have recently moved into a house with a real nice old Wolf Range, maybe I will start "upgrading" a few pieces....

Actually, some of the biggest wastes of money I've seen have been gifts--stuff from people who have no idea what or how I cook, and subsequently have given me things that have gone completely unused. But it's hard to say, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this piece of crap?" Actually, one that I felt a little bad about because it wasn't cheap or crap, just not especially useful to me; a Shun-Ken Onion utility knife. It's a nice little knife, I just don't really use it that much. A Ken Onion chef's knife would be much more useful (but of course, more expensive). So how do we keep our friends and relatives from making expensive mistakes?

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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I'm glad this thread has taken the turn from slamming things that other people have that are a total waste of money to things that I have that are a total waste of money.

In fact, I vote that unless you own it you can't dis it.

When finances allow we remodel a room every 2-3 years. Last year was a totally new kitchen. After moving the sink clear across the room and having an available cold water line nearby the stove, I bought a $700 pot filler on ebay for $150. We use it several times a week for the usual (e.g. pasta) and when making stocks.

Granite counter tops are beautiful, warm and practical when making fresh pasta.

I bought higher-end cabinets on ebay and then on my own fitted them with slow-close drawers and doors. They're really nice to have and impresses guests when I tell them I put them in myself.

Bought an air switch on ebay for the sink disposal. Big button right in front of you; no wondering which electrical switch is for the disposal or the lights.

Now, every single one of these things is completely unnecessary for me, a pretty fair home cook who isn't close to being wealthy, or most any home cook for that matter.

Things that I own that are a total waste of money include a moderately expensive espresso machine, that I ended up using occasionally to steam milk for my coffee. It sits in my appliance garage, which I had fitted with a xenon light and four outlets so everything is always plugged in. Just slide out the appliance of choice and use it.

Egg coddlers (sp?).

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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  • 6 months later...

An Amazon email came this morning highlighting Valentines Day related kitchen gifts. Okay, a red Kitchen Aid mixer is fine, if red appliances appeal. But a heart-shaped 2 qt Le Creuset Dutch oven? A heart-shaped cake or tart pan I can maybe see (although it isn't my style exactly) or even heart-shaped ramekins for the custard fanatic who already has everything, but a Dutch oven? What can you do with heart-shaped soup?

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An Amazon email came this morning highlighting Valentines Day related kitchen gifts. Okay, a red Kitchen Aid mixer is fine, if red appliances appeal. But a heart-shaped 2 qt Le Creuset Dutch oven? A heart-shaped cake or tart pan I can maybe see (although it isn't my style exactly) or even heart-shaped ramekins for the custard fanatic who already has everything, but a Dutch oven? What can you do with heart-shaped soup?

I said the exact same thing when I saw the heart shaped Le Creuset last night!

PS: I am a guy.

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An Amazon email came this morning highlighting Valentines Day related kitchen gifts. Okay, a red Kitchen Aid mixer is fine, if red appliances appeal. But a heart-shaped 2 qt Le Creuset Dutch oven? A heart-shaped cake or tart pan I can maybe see (although it isn't my style exactly) or even heart-shaped ramekins for the custard fanatic who already has everything, but a Dutch oven? What can you do with heart-shaped soup?

I said the exact same thing when I saw the heart shaped Le Creuset last night!

This item has been around for years and I too have often wondered why they persist in marketing this shape.

They had the same one in the Sur La Table store in Pasadena for a couple of years. I could tell because it had the same stick-on label that had a tear on one side.

The shape just seems very impractical to me. Once you discount the "cute" factor, you just have an odd-shaped vessel. And one that is too expensive for its size.

"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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Le Creuset is very pretty, and I have a few pieces bought up to about ten years ago. In the end I think it falls squarely into the 'waste of money' category.

It's useless for saute because of the thermal inertia of all that cast iron - you can switch off the heat but it runs on and on. The enamel doesn't last more than a few years till it's scuffed and stained and everything sticks to it. It's too damn heavy. It makes sense if you're actually Dutch or don't have an oven for any other reason - it gives you an oven that runs on a stovetop. Otherwise, at those prices ? Forget it. A triumph of marketing over good sense.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I like my LeCreuset dutch oven. I've had it for about 10 years. Things are supposed to stick to enamel to make a fond that can be deglazed. If I don't particularly want that, I use a different pot. The enamel has held up well, and the lid is heavy and fits tightly. I don't need a heart-shaped one, but what says "love," after all, like braised meat?

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In the end it's how much you use it and whether it makes a real difference. Despite my allegiance to my ice cream maker and rice cooker, I turn up my nose at cheap (or sometimes not so cheap) single purpose appliances that do something you can do as easily in your oven or on the stove. I'm looking at you pie makers, egg boilers, pancake makers, omelette makers, etc, etc, etc.... But the things sell and keep selling so someone out there must be using them, musn't they?

I'm a bit iffy on glass extractor hoods. They can look dirty in a hurry, but frankly my stainless steel hood is no different. And in a space where you don't want them dominating or blocking view lines, I think they can be great. But in the end the best hood is the one that extracts the most with the least amount of noise.

But I LOVE my granite countertops. They are light, and matte-finished iinstead of shiny and brilliant to work on. Any light stains come right out with a scrub of baking soda. Bliss!

M New Kitchen.JPG

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An Amazon email came this morning highlighting Valentines Day related kitchen gifts. Okay, a red Kitchen Aid mixer is fine, if red appliances appeal. But a heart-shaped 2 qt Le Creuset Dutch oven? A heart-shaped cake or tart pan I can maybe see (although it isn't my style exactly) or even heart-shaped ramekins for the custard fanatic who already has everything, but a Dutch oven? What can you do with heart-shaped soup?

I said the exact same thing when I saw the heart shaped Le Creuset last night!

This item has been around for years and I too have often wondered why they persist in marketing this shape.

They had the same one in the Sur La Table store in Pasadena for a couple of years. I could tell because it had the same stick-on label that had a tear on one side.

The shape just seems very impractical to me. Once you discount the "cute" factor, you just have an odd-shaped vessel. And one that is too expensive for its size.

My first thought was if you could do some kind of cake or other moulded object for which the heart shape would actually make a difference.

PS: I am a guy.

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I, for one, love my All Clad and Le Creuset! We started off our married life 25+ years ago with a full set of Calphalon, which, at the time, was the be all and end all. It wasn't. As the anodized exterior wore off the calphalon, we slowly replaced pieces with ones we bought at Marshalls for significantly less than retail. The only other cookware we use as often is a 14" Lodge cast iron skillet and our Le Creuset Dutch oven that I use for no-knead bread at least twice a week.

I also love my granite countertops. I can set a hot pan on it, knead dough, roll out pie cust - it's wonderful!

What I don't get are the electonics - rice cookers, ice cream makers, etc etc etc. Who has the space for all of these things?

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My first thought was if you could do some kind of cake or other moulded object for which the heart shape would actually make a difference.

Which is a genuine application for a dutch oven, isn't it ? Making bread or cake on the stovetop.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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I must stand up for the slow cooker. It's a huge help for the vegetarian cook, and anyone interested in frugal foods.

I never used my slow cooker, until I learned that it is unparalleled in the creation of stock. Now I use it all the time -- for stock. Nothing else.

(And I love the trio of used All Clad Cop-R-Chef pans I found on eBay for $50.)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I don't own it, but I always found Rachael Ray's garbage bowl to be a complete waste of money. Why not use an old produce bag to throw trash in or even use a bowl that you already have in your house? I tend to use empty containers of sour cream or large empty containers of yogurt or better yet, plastic bags from the grocery store. Such a waste of money!

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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The first thing I bought from the gourmet chef outlet store by my house when I started cooking was one of those rubber plastic tubes you roll garlic in to get the skin off. The next week I learned the smash-it-with-a-knife trick.

90% of the stuff in the kitchen is mine and I plan purchases very carefully...I've thwarted various attempts by roommates to bring in their various unitaskers. But much to my chagrin there is a circa-1980s popcorn popper my newest roommate insists on having...even though I've offered to show her how to do it on the stove stop in a stock pot a couple times.

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What I don't get are the electonics - rice cookers, ice cream makers, etc etc etc. Who has the space for all of these things?

Me. I love my current rice cooker (Zojirushi IH) and have loved every one I have owned and bought the first one I ever saw marketed in the US many, many years ago - a Panasonic marketed under the "National" brand name.

I have given rice cookers as gifts to friends and family and every one is in constant use. My daughter, who previously believe her stove-top rice was good enough, uses the Zo neuro fuzzy every day.

If you look at the cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann, The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, you will see recipes for things that you probably never realized could be prepared in a rice cooker.

There are other single-purpose appliances for which I see no need and wouldn't buy.

I have an ice-cream maker, the self-contained one with no need to freeze a container. In the summer I use it almost daily.

My most recent extravagance is the purchase of a Thermomix last November. I have spent a lot of time playing with it and like that it is versatile but there are some tasks that it doesn't do as well as I expected.

It makes sense for people with very limited space because it takes the place of several appliances, i.e., a basic food processor, blender, steamer, rice cooker and etc. I don't like the way it whips egg whites but I am very picky.

It's very expensive and would be a total waste of money unless it is used daily.

For some things that I make, that most people don't, it saves me a lot of time and effort. (Marzipan, for instance.)

I have one friend who lives on a boat in a marina and she wants one since seeing mine in action last week and I think has already ordered one.

Other friends made a trip up from Palm Springs on Saturday to see how it works as they live nine months out of the year in a huge motor home, traveling around the US, Canada and Mexico. Their kitchen space is really limited. I made a stir-fry in the bottom while steaming potstickers in the top. That convinced them and they contacted the distributor in Canada from my computer.

For both of these people, price is no barrier.

I collect "antique" or "vintage" appliances, some very handy, some totally useless, but interesting. I have a few newer things that are weird or wacky.

Unless a kitchen item is used on a regular basis, it is a "total waste of money."

Everyone is different and what some people feel is a necessity, I might consider a waste, but I'm not cooking in their kitchen and my opinion doesn't count.

If a person wants and likes something, then they should be able to satisfy their desires.

In this case, it is entirely personal preference.

"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 haven't met an Asian family that doesn't have a rice cooker. It's a handy thing, if you make rice all the time, which we do. I'm dubious, though, of rice cookers with more settings than "on" and "warm." No commercial rice cookers have more than that or separate programs for different kinds of rice or fuzzy logic computers, and somehow, Asian restaurants all manage to produce rice that their Asian customers find satisfactory.

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I agree all around. If I had the space, and I thought I could/would use an appliance such as a rice cooker or ice cream machine, I might buy it. As it is, I must settle for rice cooked on the stove, my very old Donvier ice cream churn, etc.

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