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Are these kitchen gadgets stupid or useful?


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I spent some time wandering around the Sur La Table in Northern VA the other day while waiting to meet someone for lunch.  We used to have one, but it closed.  I've always enjoyed window shopping at kitchen stores and I'm pretty sure nothing else at the mall (Tyson's Galleria) fit my budget or my body!  I even found a perfect house warming gift for my friend who is moving to Cape Cod.  But I saw a couple of things that I immediately scoffed at.  When I've done that in the past I've often been chastised as being ableist.  So, you tell me - stupid or not?

 

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Does anyone need a dimpled pan for spacing out shrimp and scallops? $30

 

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Wouldn't two chopsticks (freeze with take out) do the same thing?  And store so much easier?  $18

Edited by Smithy
Edited title for clarity (log)
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Unless you keep thinking about any of them I would pass. Def that silly seafood spacer. I am not a hasselback potato girl but if you do them and find it fun??? I bought someone that bundt cake pan that has all the roses - don't think ever used. It might have made a nice kitchen wall hanging like the old copper colored jello molds. Actually that was Williams Sonoma. Used to one a couple miles away -closed. Sur La Table is way over by LAX.  https://www.nordicware.com/products/rose-bundt-pan/

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49 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

I spent some time wandering around the Sur La Table in Northern VA the other day while waiting to meet someone for lunch.  We used to have one, but it closed.  I've always enjoyed window shopping at kitchen stores and I'm pretty sure nothing else at the mall (Tyson's Galleria) fit my budget or my body!  I even found a perfect house warming gift for my friend who is moving to Cape Cod.  But I saw a couple of things that I immediately scoffed at.  When I've done that in the past I've often been chastised as being ableist.  So, you tell me - stupid or not?

 

1-IMG_0111.jpg.131148fede156429d0ea9199c4648c41.jpg

Does anyone need a dimpled pan for spacing out shrimp and scallops? $30

 

1-IMG_0112.jpg.a3f4583674e4d0e3f64338635ab2454e.jpg

 

1-IMG_0113.jpg.9d9eb80e369d6ea49937968aa5f9bbf1.jpg

Wouldn't two chopsticks (freeze with take out) do the same thing?  And store so much easier?  $18

 

I have never made hasselback potatoes.  But if I were to try, I think the guide might be a help.

 

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Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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Both these items seem made for gifting.
I've made Hasselback potatoes and I’m pretty good at cutting even slices but I can see why someone who's not handy with a knife might find the slicing guide helpful. 
Per the website, the seafood pan is to be used on a gas, charcoal or electric grill. I can see it helping to prevent seafood from drying out directly on a grate though it seems you could just as well use a cast iron skillet. 

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there are people who cannot draw a straight line using a ruler . . .

so the gadgets have appeal to people - who imho could do it but decline the thought "a bit of practice."

 

....my first hasselbacks . . . well, let's just say.... they didn't work out so well....

 

the seafood doohickie - it's looks like a pretty thing for a party type serving.  (a) who needs that many (whatevers) for a less than yuge family?  however, if one is throwing parties 2-3x/month in a coastal town . . .

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1 hour ago, blue_dolphin said:

... the seafood pan ....it seems you could just as well use a cast iron skillet. 

Indeed!    Moosh your prawns in salt, pepper and olive, lay on side in a hot CI skillet, turn to other side, turn onto "shoulder". Remove.    Perfectly cooked and succulent.    You can hold in a covered vessel for an hour.   

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Your instincts are great @Kim Shook,  it is stupid.

All you need for the potatoes are two chopsticks and a knife. And then you cook them and realize that they look far better than they eat.

And the shrimp pan isn't even a unitasker.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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I'll go out on a limb: they are both stupid. I'm not diplomatic, I know. Also I've never had any desire to make Hasselback potatoes. And if someone gave me either of those things as a gift I would question their judgment. 

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8 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

I'll go out on a limb: they are both stupid. I'm not diplomatic, I know. Also I've never had any desire to make Hasselback potatoes. And if someone gave me either of those things as a gift I would question their judgment. 

They are just the kind of thing that well-meaning non cooks buy for people who DO cook.  Bless their hearts.  😄

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3 minutes ago, Kim Shook said:

They are just the kind of thing that well-meaning non cooks buy for people who DO cook.  Bless their hearts.  😄

You are too kind.

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You know why they call them HASSLEback potatoes!?  Because they are just one massive PITA!  No gadget will make me waste further time with them.  If I want thick potato chips, I will just use the bloody mandolin (not my blood, I use no cut gloves on that beast!) and cut the entire damn disc off!

 

 

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12 hours ago, Kim Shook said:

I've never made Hasselbacks, but I've always suspected that I'd be underwhelmed.  

 

Here's what Serious Eats has to say about Hasselbacks, and why he's underwhelmed:

 

Quote

But, to be absolutely honest, I've never been too happy with the way they taste. They're supposed to combine the best part of a baked potato—the creamy, moist interior—with the best part of roasted potato chunks—the crispy edges—but really, they produce only mediocre versions of both. The interior is never as moist as I want it, and the edges are always more dried and leathery than really crisp.

 

Kenji's modification is to make it a gratin instead. I've done that a few times and needed to tweak the recipe to suit myself, but been pleased with the final result...and @FauxPas did her own version here. Getting back to your original point, we didn't need a special gadget for it.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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im intrigued by the Rose Bundt Pan .

 

I very much doubt the baked cake comes out

 

like the pic.

 

if it did , it would be an interesting addition to a collection of

 

Bundt's 

 

if Bundt;s were someones affectation .

 

recalling 

 

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/my_big_fat_greek_wedding

 

and Bundt's :

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqbo2612lww

 

 

exceptional scene 

 

 

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On 7/20/2022 at 12:53 PM, Smithy said:

 

Here's what Serious Eats has to say about Hasselbacks, and why he's underwhelmed:

 

 

Kenji's modification is to make it a gratin instead. I've done that a few times and needed to tweak the recipe to suit myself, but been pleased with the final result...and @FauxPas did her own version here. Getting back to your original point, we didn't need a special gadget for it.

A few years ago I used up 6 or 8 potatoes trying to get a Hasselbeck worth eating. Dry, boring.  Complete fail unless I drenched it in queso....but that just covers-up the failure.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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1 hour ago, rotuts said:

im intrigued by the Rose Bundt Pan .

I very much doubt the baked cake comes out

like the pic.

if it did , it would be an interesting addition to a collection of

 

Upon reflection I think I only did it once to show her how to use it (not a baker). The ridges were distinct but the cake was the poppyseed on back of Solo can so a dark exterior that did not make most of pattern. Maybe with a light colored cakes and a dessert table to how off intact prior to serving if you care about that.

Edited by heidih (log)
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These specific examples are pretty dubious, but the need for adaptive/accessibility gizmos in the kitchen (and prepared "convenience" ingredients) is pretty significant. My GF isn't yet 50, but because of her rheumatoid arthritis she struggles now with any meal requiring more than a pop into the microwave (and even those can be problematic, if the packaging isn't easy to open). Of course she has a personal chef, so it's not as big an issue as it might be, but I'm not always home and doubtless will not always be healthy (fingers crossed on that front).

 

A Canadian site recently published this article by a Toronto-based writer, which I found pretty compelling. In this instance it's focused on ingredients, but the point holds. We've discussed adaptive cooking options in the past, I know, and have touched on some similar themes.

 

https://thewalrus.ca/garlic-in-a-jar/

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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Couldn’t live without this

Jar opener

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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32 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I read the description but I can't quite envision how it works.

 

Think of the inner lid of a canning jar after you remove the ring - if you tried to remove the whole lid at once it would be nigh on impossible - if you managed to get it started on one side (edge) the whole lid would lift off easily

 

The opener Anna is using wedges up one edge of the lid, breaking the vacuum and making it easy to unscrew.

 

Now that I've totally confused you, you should go buy weinoo's or mine, which are much less obscure 👅

p

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1 hour ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

 

I read the description but I can't quite envision how it works.

 

I am sorry but I do not believe that I can explain it any better. 
Edited to add that I can tell you that no jar has ever defeated me since I got this thing. 

Edited by Anna N (log)
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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1 hour ago, palo said:

Think of the inner lid of a canning jar after you remove the ring - if you tried to remove the whole lid at once it would be nigh on impossible - if you managed to get it started on one side (edge) the whole lid would lift off easily

 

The opener Anna is using wedges up one edge of the lid, breaking the vacuum and making it easy to unscrew.

 

Now that I've totally confused you, you should go buy weinoo's or mine, which are much less obscure 👅

p

 

Silicone jar grips work pretty well for most jars I need to open (and for bottles of Wray & Nephew).  If the jar grips don't work I have a Kuhn Rikon jar opener that I can recommend.

(eG-friendly Amazon.com link)

 

I am always on the lookout for a better mousetrap.

 

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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