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Things that are a total waste of money


Fat Guy
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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!

THANK YOU! I've always been astounded that yes, this is a real item that you can buy in stores. A garbage bowl. Oh my god. And not even a cheap bowl! It's $32 on amazon!

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Okay, here's my rant for tonight: Electric woks are a total waste of money. After complaining about the futility of using a real wok on the (ostensibly very nice) ceramic-top stove that came with my new house, I was recently given a new Breville, considered the best (read: hottest) one available in the US according to multiple sources. It certainly has a lot of impressive-sounding engineering incorporated into it. But it is barely adequate for small sauce-based dishes and completely hopeless for anything requiring real heat. My battered 19-yr-old Taylor & Ng wok on my Weber grill's cheesy 12k BTU side burner completely blows it away.

That Taylor & Ng wok, a 14" flat-bottom spun carbon steel model that came packaged with lid and accessories, cost me $28 new at Crate & Barrel back in the day, and it is the best money I have ever spent on any cooking-related anything ever. C&B still sells it, or a very similar one, for $50 now. Any wok over $70 or so is a total waste of money. Any wok with any sort of nonstick coating is a total waste of money. Any stainless steel wok is a total waste of money. Any wok made by a big-name high-end cookware or appliance company is a total waste of money.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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What the heck is a garbage bowl? Is that like the $2 plastic bucket I put scraps for the compost heap in?

On her show, Rachael Ray has a plastic bowl on her countertop to put all her scraps in while she works. People thought that was a brilliant idea, and voila, the official Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl is now available for purchase.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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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.

I agree that if one is only cooking plain rice, then the simple on/off/keep warm cookers are satisfactory.

However, I want to program the rice cooker to start cooking on the porridge setting early in the morning, long before I wake and I also want to cook different types of rices and other things that require more sophisticated controls and more variable temperatures. Besides, there are the nifty keys, the digital window and the tunes that signal. :wub:

The lid seals with a latch to keep the lid from popping open when the steam builds up with certain foods. Poached Pears with Grand marnier custard sauce does not work in the regular rice cooker. Take my word for it. It was a disaster. The same recipe from the Hensperger/Kaufman book was fantastic when prepared in the Zo IH cooker.

I'm not cooking for commercial purposes, although I do have a 20-cup commercial unit that I bought and used years ago when I was still catering. I have no use for it now but am hanging onto it "just in case." It comes in handy from time to time but not for rice.

"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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On her show, Rachael Ray has a plastic bowl on her countertop to put all her scraps in while she works. People thought that was a brilliant idea, and voila, the official Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl is now available for purchase.

OK, OK, I know in this topic we're supposed to be limiting the mockery to things we actually own. But seriously? $32?!!! Wow.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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... Things are supposed to stick to enamel to make a fond that can be deglazed... I don't need a heart-shaped one, but what says "love," after all, like braised meat?

Hi, David. For me, the chances of burning the fond are much higher in the LC than in an ordinary stainless pan. I made two big fat braises of beef last week, in my 7-quart copper-disk-bottom stainless stockpot. It browned the pieces of meat, it browned the onions, it formed a beautiful fond and it let me crank up the heat for each new batch of meat and moderate as they finished off. That pot fits almost exactly in my oven (like 1/4" headroom), if I use foil as a lid.

I have one 30-cm LC enamelled cast iron pot, 30cm across - one of the two-handed casserole types. It cost ~USD250. The stockpot is one of nine pieces that came in a set for ~USD250.

On reflection I consider the LC a complete waste of money. In the first place, manufacturing cost for the cast is probably about 5 bucks. In the second, I bought it mostly for curry-making - i.e. braises. It's hard to control the onion browning, and finish off with them just right. You can try to quench it with the liquid ingredients, but it can be so hot it boils even those off further than you want. Water you can replenish. Cream can get hurt. On reflection (and with a bit more input from Google) I found copper-bottomed stainless casserole pots of the same size and realised that's what I really want.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Copper bottomed stainless is great stuff as well. I have a couple of Sitram Catering frypans, and stainless has "sticking" qualities not unlike enamel, and the copper bottom has better heat distribution than cast iron. I also have heavy copperware, some tin lined, which is slicker than stainless, and some stainless lined. I guess I like using the LeCreuset when I want that heat retention and the heavy lid, and then avoiding hotspots is just a matter of managing the heat more attentively than is necessary with heavy copper or stainless with a heavy copper disk.

I do a fair amount of stovetop braising, particularly when I don't want to heat up the kitchen by running the oven or when I want the oven for something else. If I braised in the oven more often, it wouldn't matter as much, and in practice, I often choose between the 6 quart LeCreuset and the 10 quart copper rondeau on the basis of size more than cooking qualities. Sometimes I'll brown in a large copper saute pan or Sitram copper-bottomed frypan and transfer the meat to the LeCreuset to avoid crowding the LeCreuset, and then I'll deglaze the pan and add the liquid back to the braise (the alternative being browning in the LeCreuset in a few smaller batches, taking each batch out, and putting it back in the pot).

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I envy you your Sitram (though on a dark night and if I set my mind to it, I could surely persuade myself that was a waste of money too, much as I lust after it).

I can see the point of heat retention - for a family that wants a pot of soup left warm on the stove so that family members can eat lunch when it suits them, say; or for a family that likes to have second helpings that have stayed hot.

The idea that heavy cast iron is necessary or better for braising sticks in my throat, though. Baking bread or cake may be better done with heat coming from above and around as well as below; I just can't see that braising does. Heat rises. Your braise is held at whatever temperature you create, from a genuine boil to a mere simmer or less, and that heat can be applied from the bottom just as well as it can from all around - which is why you can make the same dish on the stovetop as you can in the oven, even if, for the purposes of this discussion, you call it a braise in the oven and a stew on the stovetop. If anything, 'braising' on the stovetop, enamelled cast iron simply conducts a greater share of the heat up around the food through the pot sides, to throw away in the atmosphere (aka heat the kitchen). In the oven, it brings no advantage.

But we'll get thrown off the "waste of money" thread for letting the eternal cookware discussion seep into it :wink:

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Oh goodness, don't get me started:

Slap-Chop - got one for Christmas as a joke (I am a knife man) and it was a joke. The opening is too small to handle more than a one person's amount of anything. chunks get stuck in the blades, clogging the works....

The Alessi Philippe Starck lemon juicer, the one that looks like a giant tall spider.

philippe-starck-juicer-alessi.jpg

Neat looking but it never comes off the design shelf. I use a cheap red plastic one every day however.

Microwave ovens. Period. is there anything that can't be reheated almost as fast either using steam, oven, toaster oven or stovetop?

(they should design a mini-one about an 8" cube that would heat milk for Bechamel but that is about it.)

I have a bad habit of scouring the local trash looking for discarded kitchen implements. and this one astounded me. a Braun electric crepe maker? do we really need this?

braun crepe maker.JPG

I could go on. But I'll spare you.

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Okay, here's my rant for tonight: Electric woks are a total waste of money.

When we were getting married my future inlaws asked me what I would like as a 'kitchen gift'. I said rice cooker, and they insisted that a rice cooker was a useless piece of equipment but an electric wok (non-stick!) would be useful for years. I politely (truly politely) refused, saying I would prefer a steel stovetop wok and not to waste their money, but for weeks every phone call turned to the usefulness of electric woks and the uselessness of rice cookers. I held my ground and was branded as fussy. Electric woks were still purchased, but none made their way to our house.

And now? Their woks stopped being used within 6 months and mysteriously disappeared, but they all have rice cookers after seeing ours!

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Electric quesadilla maker from my future mother in law. When I decide to make a quesadilla (usually at midnight after a few beers) I'll be damned if I'm going to wait fifteen minutes for that thing to heat up, if I remember where it is at all. And I certainly don't need anything that encourages me to eat more cheese.

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Any wok made by a big-name high-end cookware or appliance company is a total waste of money.

Heck, if your wok has any brand name on it at all, you've probably spent too much. As much as I generally disdain buying cheap crap from China, there's one thing that should be cheap and made in China, and that's the wok.

My rice cooker is a very basic and cheap Panasonic model (on/off, not even a warmer) that was left to us about 15 years ago by a Japanese post-doc who was going home to Japan. I keep thinking that someday I'll get a "better" one, but never seem to actually get around to it.

"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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Any wok with any sort of nonstick coating is a total waste of money. Any stainless steel wok is a total waste of money.

Why?

Because plain properly-seasoned carbon steel works better than either and costs less.

John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

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Any wok with any sort of nonstick coating is a total waste of money. Any stainless steel wok is a total waste of money.

Why?

Because plain properly-seasoned carbon steel works better than either and costs less.

Agreed. Amortized over 38 years, the plain steel Chinese wok that my father bought around 1972 and that I use today was practically free, and it improves with age.

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Re crepe maker - I have at least 3 of these, found in charity shops and jumble sales - my kids thought they were wonderful when they were young and so did I. They could get on and make their own pancakes for supper - they used to have great fun!

Edited by Pam Brunning (log)

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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From the days of fern bars and "The Magic Pan." Who can remember the last time they made chicken crepes with mornay sauce?

My stepdaughter worked at a Magic Pan restaurant for two years in the early '80s and was very adept at using that type of crepe pan but also became adept at using my steel pans (which I still have and still use).

The pans she used at the restaurant were heated by separate burners, weren't electrified.

She loved making stacks of crepes and impressing her friends with quick meals from fridge leftovers at home or something made with canned baby shrimp (her favorite).

I don't specifically remember the mornay sauce.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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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Muffin pans - if you don't make muffins regularly. I couldn't find one to buy recently as I've been going through a muffin phase, so I just bought some sturdy foil muffin cups, set them on a cookie sheet at regular intervals, and used that to cook them. It worked out fine. It's possible, I suppose, that the metal sides of a dedicated tin help muffins to rise higher or something, but if you don't make muffins often, or if you have a small kitchen without a lot of storage space, I question the usefulness having a dedicated pan.

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T-FAL pressure cooker. I bought this when I was on an extremely tight budget and it nearly broke my heart. It won't go up to the pressures required for canning, which was its intended purpose.

Maybe not a total loss, though; I use it for steaming and as a container for transporting soups and stews to potluck-type events.

Also, it taught me to research before putting down my money, which has probably saved me quite a bit of money over the years.

EDIT: It's a total waste of money because for a few dollars more you can get a pressure canner, which does everything this toy does as well or better and allows you to can things besides.

Edited by Dakki (log)

This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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I assume that this is the correct thread for this? :shock: Good Lord. The commercial is hilarious - people just demolishing eggs all over their counters and stoves. This is something that NO ONE would buy for themselves, but that someone would buy for a cook thinking (or NOT thinking) "what a cool tool"!

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I assume that this is the correct thread for this? :shock: Good Lord. The commercial is hilarious - people just demolishing eggs all over their counters and stoves. This is something that NO ONE would buy for themselves, but that someone would buy for a cook thinking (or NOT thinking) "what a cool tool"!

My god - the accuracy you can get with this tool getting the egg in the bowl! How have I survived so many years without one?

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