Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Most Useless Kitchen Items and Utensils


fresco
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think I will hold out for the UV laser solution. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I will hold out for the UV laser solution. :laugh:

Well, yeah, but that's for cheese; the onion laser has yet to be perfected. I guess you'll have to wait. I have several laser pointers; they make great cat toys but can't cut anything at all. OTOH, a UV laser may cut well, but the cat probably wouldn't even see it; just as well, as I don't wish to slice the cat anyway. :biggrin:

Um, on-topic? Well, I was getting to that...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Truffle Shaver. This was a gift (or a tease). To get any real use out it I'd have to blow a week's take home pay. About as useful as an Aston Martin key ring without the key that goes with it.

No, these are astoundingly useful for use on ginger. For some reason they work great on ginger in spite of its fibrosity (isn't that the technical term for being really fibrous?)

Fine Dave. Useful it is. Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll swap you mine, specifically for the key that goes with the Aston Martin key ring. Here’s the specs: It needs to be the maxed out gray Aston Martin DB5. Yeah, the one with the extras. Here’s what I would do with it. I’d fill the oil slick tanks with extra virgin olive oil; I would replace the Ben Hur type axel wheel choppers with wire whisks. I’m not finished, I would replace the front-end machine guns with pepper grinders (white and black peppercorns respectively) and rewire the injection seat with heating coils to toast and pop up bagels and English muffins. Finally I would line the revolving license plates with mini martini canisters so that my refreshment is shaken…. not stirred. Now that my friends this is a truly useful kitchen utensil. Should any of you see an Aston Martin DB5 at a yard sale or whatever and would be willing to swap it for my never used truffle shaver, contact me off line.

“Goldfinger….do you expect me to chop?”

“No Mr. Bond….. I expect you to dice.”

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have one of those slicers, too.

But since taking a knife instruction class last summer, I can do it quickly without benefit of a slicer.  I even taught my 73 year old mom how to do it.  She was thrilled with the "trick" and ended up serving sliced avocado with everything in the ensuing weeks. :biggrin:

Can you share the trick? I ussually score and then scoop with a spoon. But I'm a messy "rustic" cook!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

What do you think is the most useless kitchen utensil or product? Be creative and don't hold back.

Mine would have to be the shaker tops that are put on basically all spice jars. All these things ever do is get in the way. I'm looking forward to everyone else's thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ohhhhhhh, so many, so many.......I'm sure more will come to me, probably as I'm trying to go to sleep tonight........

Totally agree on the shaker top thingies. In that same category would be the drizzly-top inserts on bottles of sauces (soy, Worchestershire, fish, etc.) and vinegars. Right into the trash they go.

The onion "slicing guides", avocado slicers/skinners (sort of look like a harp) and the "knuckle guard" I see in high end cookware catalogs. The slicing guides look like a large set of salad tongs, and you're supposed to grasp the onions in the cups, and slice between the fingers. I think they market them for tomatoes as well. One word.......WHY? Sure would be hard on your knife edge !

Same thing with the avocado slicer/skinner thing. How hard is it to peel and slice an avocado?

And the knuckle guard just looks damn dangerous. It's a metal THING you slip your index, middle and ring fingers into, and supposedly you won't knick yourself from big old mean Mr. Knife. Me, all I can see is me catching Mr. Knife in the top of it, and slicing all the skin off those three fingers from the middle knuckle on down.

Oh, and the thing that looks like 5 or 6 thin spikes set into a wood handle that you use to grab the onion while you're slicing.

Shrimp peelers/deveiners. Again, how hard is it to peel a shrimp?

Garlic slicers. 'Nuff said.

--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"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking of something that is truly useless, but it looks like the best I could come up with is "hindrance/ annoying." Agreed on the shaker tops and slicing guides. I've always thought multiple fancy whisk designs made little sense, but then again I've never used a non-balloon whisk. I just hate clutter (I have enough problems as it is keeping all my pans in order).

From the pastry side: pie weights. They're uneven, heavy, and leave pockmarks on pie crusts.

For me at least, egg timers or even regular tick-tock timers. Digital timers are a step up, but I'm always with my cellphone, so I always use it to time my baking, set alarms, etc. The bonus is that it also is my calculator.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't really have a problem with the worthless plastic things, they don't clutter my kitchen and I didn't pay $ 70 for them. My list of worthless things would look like:

1) 85% of cooking knives after you already own a chef's knife, bread knife and paring knife.

2) 85% of pots and pans after you have the basics

3) Those cutting mats you roll out that every cooking magazine said were a must have 3-4 years ago. Not sure what they were good for other than blunting my knives.

4) Cutting boards smaller than 8' x 11'

5) The old fashioned pasta tongs that my mom had, the ones that kinda work like a scissors.

6) Wooden spoons. Ok, flame me but I don't understand why anyone would use one when a perfectly good plastic cooking spoons are made by Mafter and other companies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

haha--I can answer this as I have a drawerful of them--my mom gives one to me for Christmas every year!

Let's see, mushroom brushes, the infamous bagel slicer, I think I got an english muffin slicer, too, that year, the lemon zester that's supposed to peel a thin strip fom a lemon and doesn't, any number of vegetable peelers that don't work, a garlic press, an egg slicer--I can come up with more later....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The owner of a local kitchenwares store once held up an item for me and said that, if I could guess what it was, I could have one for free. Turned out it was a grape peeler. (Apparently she bought them simply because she thought they were so absurd.)

I guessed wrong, so I imagine I'll never know if it would be useful! But somehow, I doubt it.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dr teeth - i also hate wooden spoons. i actually hate most wooden kitchen tools (it's an obsessive-compulsive, germaphobe kind of thing.. not to mention that i'd imagine the flavors themselves would get absorbed by the spoon). i was cooking with my boyfriend at his house and asked for a spatula and he pointed to the wooden spoon-tula (half spoon, half retarted-looking spatula) that he had already started using and i gave him a look of "what the...! no!" but gave in because he wouldn't give me something better.. :sad:

zoe b - i don't mind those egg slicers, they're great for making egg salad really fast, but i wouldn't buy one especially unless i needed to dice that many hardboiled eggs

mkayahara - you don't need a device to peel grapes, you just get some slaves/scantily clad women, like back in the good ol' days of rome! :biggrin:

and i second/third anyone who mentioned the avocado slicer thing. those things are ridiculous (a picture here, for those fortunate enough not to know of them) they also had special "lettuce knives" and "tomato slicers" (in the vein of the avocado slicer) in the produce section of wegmans, and i always wondered how many of those they actually managed to sell.

i also have to say that the oxo angled measuring cups are really absurd to me. but worse still are the /stainless steel/ liquid measuring cups, because i'd hope that people know that the proper way to measure liquids requires looking at the meniscus at eye level!

and those jar openers! (sorry, i'm not ripping on oxo.. they make some very good tools, but i already happen to be at their page and i knew they sold those things)

i also think those things that chop your veggies for you are completely ridiculous (in the vein of "as see on tv!" gadgetry). that may be because i'm veeeery particular about how my vegetables are cut (to the point that friends have teased me about using protractors and rulers), but come on! one size of dice does not fit all! and i don't mind the smell of garlic or onions on my hands, thank-you-very-much.

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I saw an avocado scoop in a recent Williams & Sonoma catalog, but I can't find it on their site now.

here it is!

man, conspicuous consumption really does a number on a person, as far as useless objects. for every good thing williams sonoma seems to sell, there's also another completely useless thing... like this "Mini Burger Press" (it's new! my days of slaving over mini burgers is over! :biggrin: )

Edited by feedmec00kies (log)

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

Link to comment
Share on other sites

-the onion slicer with the fingers

-this crazy "whisk" my wife has that is kind of like a spring

-this can-sized strainer so you can drain canned goods

But I LOVE wooden spoons. I don't know why, it just seems that using a wooden spoon is what my grandma would have used to stir tomato sauce. Total nostalgia for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6) Wooden spoons.  Ok, flame me but I don't understand why anyone would use one when a perfectly good plastic cooking spoons are made by Mafter and other companies.

I won't flame you but I will vehemently disagree.

There are wooden spoons made from a cheap and fairly porous wood that doesn't have a fine and smooth surface - yuck. (and they probably contribute to the ongoing loss of rain forest)

Then there are far more finely crafted spoons and wooden spatulas made from harder denser wood. They have smoother surfaces, more well defined edges and over time, with periodic applications of mineral oil, become smooth and warm like that great old wooden cutting board you'll (or I) will never give up. To me there's something warm. organic and natural feeling about a good wooden tool.

Plastic: Yeah.... I know.... they make plastic that doesn't melt or burn as quickly as it used to... yada yada yada. I just don't like the way it feels. With few exceptions I'll always opt for stainless steel, wood or some combination of the two for my utensils (the exceptions being the rubber/plastic blade spatula I use to get batter out of a bowl and the silicone blade spatula I use to work and turn omelets.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

mkayahara - you don't need a device to peel grapes, you just get some slaves/scantily clad women, like back in the good ol' days of rome!  :biggrin:

Again I may be an iconoclast here but, I have mixed feelings about scantily clad women in the kitchen. While not uni-taskers I find the same problem exists with scantily clad women as with chef's knives -- when you have too many, they just get in the way. There just isn't that much grape peeling, fanning with ostrich plumes and cooing apreaciatively that needs to be done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miracle Thaw ranks high in the money wasters category ...

the Salad Shooter was used briefly before being stashed away for posterity ....

Truffle Shavers are useless unless you use a million truffles at home ...

a little rubber tube that "peels" garlic cloves ...put the cloves inside and massage the tube ... peeled garlic comes out .. seems useless to me .. I just smack garlic with my cleaver blade and get the same result ...

and then there is the much maligned shrimp deveiner which one can do with a simple small sharp knife ... but that is so yesterday!

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gifted Gourmet said--

"Miracle Thaw ranks high in the money wasters category ..."

I was just looking at this at the thrift store the other day and thinking wha????

"the Salad Shooter was used briefly before being stashed away for posterity ...."

I'll tell you a use for the salad shooter--I'm a soapmaker, and the salad shooter is fab at shredding soap--which I occasionally need to do--you can make confetti shreds in different colors and add them to a new batch of soap--it's very pretty.

and there is always one at the thrift store.

"Truffle Shavers are useless unless you use a million truffles at home ..."

it does get rahther exhausting slicing all those truffles by hand.....

"a little rubber tube that "peels" garlic cloves ...put the cloves inside and massage the tube ... peeled garlic comes out .. seems useless to me .. I just smack garlic with my cleaver blade and get the same result ...

and then there is the much maligned shrimp deveiner which one can do with a simple small sharp knife ... but that is so yesterday!

"

yeah, these last two are silly--I'm sure I'll be getting one for christmas--or maybe a garlic roaster--for those who have never heard of tin foil!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

feedmec00kies, I'm right there with you on the vegetable chopper things. My girlfriend's stepmom got here one of those onion chopper boxes, which we have never used (I think it ended up shipped off to one of her brothers going to college). I've never had anyone tease me about my dice, but I definitely cringe every time I read a recipe calling for chopping veggies in a food processor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like wood spoons.. But I have been interested in those Mafter ones. Are they plastic? or are they some sort of silicone? I even have a set of ultra cheap wooden spoons I picked up at a grocery store one day when I fogot to pack something to stir drinks with. (I was playing bartender in a hotel room for some friends). But I really don't like them. the wood sucks. I wind up using them to stir coffee in my french press coffee pot.

I have a lot of pots and pans for a small apartment, but I pretty much use all of them. The nice thing about having three sauce pans is the ability to have two or maybe all three going on the stove at once. Or have two going on the stove to make dinner with the third one in the sink, waiting to be washed since breakfast in the morning.

I have duplicates of several other utensils, too. Sometimes I need to handle more than one thing while cooking and other times, one is dirty, so it's good to have a clean one at the ready.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

dr teeth - i also hate wooden spoons. i actually hate most wooden kitchen tools (it's an obsessive-compulsive, germaphobe kind of thing.. not to mention that i'd imagine  the flavors themselves would get absorbed by the spoon).

I love wooden spoons! Stirring a good sugo or marinara with anything other than wood is sacreligious! :shock:

you don't need a device to peel grapes, you just get some slaves/scantily clad women, like back in the good ol' days of rome!  :biggrin:

I recently peeled grapes FOR a scantily clad female! :shock: (okay, she was 11 months old :biggrin: )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and those jar openers!

Actually, for those of us with weak and or achy hands (I have pretty severe rheumatoid arthritis, and my knuckles and wrists are among my most affected joints) those things are a Godsend....there are some jars/bottles that I would not be able to get into without one of these guys.

--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"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and those jar openers!

Actually, for those of us with weak and or achy hands (I have pretty severe rheumatoid arthritis, and my knuckles and wrists are among my most affected joints) those things are a Godsend....there are some jars/bottles that I would not be able to get into without one of these guys.

I agree! Even those angled dudads with large handles were created for arthritic people. I know how you feel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...