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Most Useless Kitchen Items and Utensils


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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

But why buy an egg slicer when a pastry cutter will do? :biggrin:

What, you think a pastry cutter is silly, too? :raz:

Also, I have to place myself firmly in the pro-wooden spoon camp. (Indeed, wasn't there a recent thread extolling the virtues of the humble wooden spoon?) Sure, plastic might not melt on you, but you don't want to find out minutes before serving your guests that the plastic spoon you accidentally left in your ragu bolognese is one of those cheap ones that will melt.

And I never cease to be amazed at the number of dedicated tools out there that would have no reason to exist if every household had a good, sharp chef's knife and a modicum of knowledge of how to use it.

Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Also, I have to place myself firmly in the pro-wooden spoon camp. (Indeed, wasn't there a recent thread extolling the virtues of the humble wooden spoon?) Sure, plastic might not melt on you, but you don't want to find out minutes before serving your guests that the plastic spoon you accidentally left in your ragu bolognese is one of those cheap ones that will melt.

Absurd. The equivalent of saying we should all buy slicers with round tips rather than pointed because nothing is more embarassing than tripping minutes before your guests arrive and running the knife through your intestine.

I've run one of the new fiberglass spoons through an open flame and not had it melt.

And they are cheaper. And they last longer. And they can be put through a dishwasher. And they don't pick up funky smells. Or funky stains. Or get fuzzy.

My larger point, however, is that there is a 'foodie,' perspective that leads us, and I do include myself in this, to scoff at kitchen gizmos while at the same time seeing a 3rd $100 japanese chef's knife as the high of practicality.

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Also, I have to place myself firmly in the pro-wooden spoon camp. (Indeed, wasn't there a recent thread extolling the virtues of the humble wooden spoon?) Sure, plastic might not melt on you, but you don't want to find out minutes before serving your guests that the plastic spoon you accidentally left in your ragu bolognese is one of those cheap ones that will melt.

Absurd. The equivalent of saying we should all buy slicers with round tips rather than pointed because nothing is more embarassing than tripping minutes before your guests arrive and running the knife through your intestine.

I've run one of the new fiberglass spoons through an open flame and not had it melt.

And they are cheaper. And they last longer. And they can be put through a dishwasher. And they don't pick up funky smells. Or funky stains. Or get fuzzy.

My larger point, however, is that there is a 'foodie,' perspective that leads us, and I do include myself in this, to scoff at kitchen gizmos while at the same time seeing a 3rd $100 japanese chef's knife as the high of practicality.

Now, now. No need to get snarky!

Anyway, I think your comparison of leaving a plastic spoon in a pot to tripping and running yourself through with a knife is less than apt. I suspect I'm much more likely to do one than the other.

And I had no idea there was such a thing as a fiberglass spoon. How would I go about identifying such a beast in the wild? That's at the root of my issue with plastic: most store clerks can't tell me with certainty whether the spoon (or spatula, or whatever) they're selling me is made of nylon, plastic, fiberglass or Martian moon rock. At least with wood, I know what I'm getting, and the worst the bad ones can do is get ruined themselves, rather than ruining my meal. But maybe we're on the wrong thread for this discussion.

Finally, I'm assuming your "larger point" isn't aimed at me, since it doesn't address anything I said: I was the one defending wooden spoons, which another poster had identified as a useless tool!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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And (plastic etc spoons) are cheaper(than wooden spoons).

For good reason, as far as I'm concerned anyway. :wink:

And they last longer.

Perhaps? But I have several wooden spoons that are so old I can't even tell you how long they've lasted so far. :smile:

And they can be put through a dishwasher.

I never put any of my cooking equipment in the dishwasher.

And they don't pick up funky smells.  Or funky stains.  Or get fuzzy.

Good quality wooden utensils don't have these problems. (at least they don't if you keep them put of the dishwasher :rolleyes: )

Poor quality anything, including plastic spoons, are a bad deal. :cool:

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The OXO Wooden Spoon rocks! You can also find them at Bed, Bath & Beyond. They've redesigned it so you can really get some good torque when you are stirring thick batters or dough. It has a larger bowl and the handle is thicker in the right places.

Who'da thunk a wooden spoon could be better?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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peter green said

What do you discipline your kids with!

OWWW--this brings back painful memories of getting rapped on the top of my head as a kid--my mom wielded a mean wooden spoon.

I was a wimpy parent--my kids knew I didn't believe in corporal punishment so when I threatened that I was getting my spanking hand ready they laughed at me.

feedmec00kies said

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.

I dunno--it's not a bad tool, but it seems to me that by the time you find the slicer in your clutter drawer you could chop 2 dozen eggs, and one less thing to wash--which is a goal at all times for me....

Edited by zoe b (log)
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There just isn't that much grape peeling, fanning with ostrich plumes and cooing apreaciatively that needs to be done.

Maybe not in your world.

On the topic at hand, my vote for sheer uselessness would have to go to those rubbery sleeve-ey garlic peeler thingies.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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mkayahara: i haven't had a pastry cutter in my possession as of yet, but that's a great idea. i did most of my cooking in the last few years (which is when i started cooking regularly) at school in a kitchen with "common" (aka shared) utensils and things, and i was able to keep the stuff i bought for my own personal use to a minimum (aka a decent knife and some not-so-sketchy measuring spoons/cups). i also haven't done much baking, nor does my mom, so i haven't interacted enough with pastry knives to have one myself.

Fugu, Pierogi: yeah, i kinda forgot about that, as i have yet to develop arthritis.. i guess they're not useless after all. my impression though, was based on the fact that my mom bought one of those, and the only one in my family who has arthritis in his/her hands is my younger sister... :blink:

srhcb: yeah, i was trying to think of a reason to buy a grape peeler, and that kind of came to mind. but unless you're going to have like... 10 kids, who all need their grapes peeled for a year or something each...

and actually, my dad used to cut grapes in half and pick all the seeds out with a knife for me to eat when i was really young. apparently, back 20 years ago there weren't seedless grapes, or at least they were so bad that my father couldn't stand to buy them (he grew up eating a lot of grapes in what is now southern ukraine, so he's picky)

Zeemanb: all i can say to that miracle steel is "hmmmm...." :hmmm:

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."

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Good quality wooden utensils don't have these problems.  (at least they don't if you keep them put of the dishwasher

I'm a die-hard for my wooden spoons. Good hard olivewood spoons are what I have. I do put them in the dishwasher and I usually run the machine on the sanitize cycle. I have plastic et al for serving but not for stirring.

I just thought about one thing. Where I do my volunteer cooking it hard to get things as clean as I like so I do own stainless steel spoons to use there.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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On the topic at hand, my vote for sheer uselessness would have to go to those rubbery sleeve-ey garlic peeler thingies.

Is this where I admit to buying one a few years ago and then NEVER using it. I guess that proves that at least in my kitchen it must be useless.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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On the topic at hand, my vote for sheer uselessness would have to go to those rubbery sleeve-ey garlic peeler thingies.

Is this where I admit to buying one a few years ago and then NEVER using it. I guess that proves that at least in my kitchen it must be useless.

i bet you could cut that thing so it make a flat sheet and use it to help open jars though :smile: (not as easily as the jar openers, but just to give yourself a little more friction)

"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

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I have a wooden spoon that my grandfather carved by hand many years ago. Nobody will ever have a plastic spoon carved by her grandfather.

Don't know which utensil is most useless, but I have boxes of them to choose from. :wacko:

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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On the topic at hand, my vote for sheer uselessness would have to go to those rubbery sleeve-ey garlic peeler thingies.

Is this where I admit to buying one a few years ago and then NEVER using it. I guess that proves that at least in my kitchen it must be useless.

i bet you could cut that thing so it make a flat sheet and use it to help open jars though :smile: (not as easily as the jar openers, but just to give yourself a little more friction)

I LIKE my garlic peeler. Sure I can smash cloves with my knife and frequently do so but when I need a pile of peeled WHOLE garlic cloves this little tube does a great job and takes up very little space.

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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  I guess that proves that at least in my kitchen it must be useless.

I LIKE my garlic peeler. Sure I can smash cloves with my knife and frequently do so but when I need a pile of peeled WHOLE garlic cloves this little tube does a great job and takes up very little space.

It's been interesting to me to follow this thread. It truly points up how we are each a unique cook - and why for serious cooks it's hard to cook in someone elses kitchen. We know not only where things are - we also know what is there that we like and use.

I'll also confess to laziness. The only time I use whole cloves is in my volunteer cooking and since I need a lot of them when I do need them I buy the pre-peeled ones at Costco.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I feel like a rich woman when I know that there will always be a clean measuring cup in the cupboard, so I don't have to stop cooking or baking to wash the right-sized one out.

I made that cream cheese/pesto/sundried tomato torte last night and must have used eight measuring cups (yes, of different sizes!), so I didn't have the pesto contaminate the cream cheese, etc.

I think we have four sets of dry measuring cups, maybe four one-cup liquid cups, and a couple each of the bigger liquid cups.

Okay, I'm spoiled. :raz:

Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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hear hear re the multitude of measuring cups :smile:

I have a contender for most useless gadget - somewhere in the house I have a speacial tool for lifting hard boiled eggs out of the pot!!! apparently a spoon, even a slotted spoon, isn't good enough :laugh: Got it at a tupperware party & kept it for it's pure inanity...

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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somewhere in the house I have a speacial tool for lifting hard boiled eggs out of the pot!!! apparently a spoon, even a slotted spoon, isn't good enough  :laugh: Got it at a tupperware party & kept it for it's pure inanity...

I use some scissor-like metal tongs with ends that look like old fashioned bottle cap removers. I also use these to serve hot corn on the cob.

I don't know what they're really meant for. :huh:

SB (maybe lifting eggs :rolleyes: )

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I am so glad this thread exists, since I began wondering the same thing after seeing the Rick Bayless Avocado Scooper in the Sur La Table catalog. Add to the list the Rick Bayless Masher, the avocao masher and slicer/pitter at William Sonoma (have people never figured out how to peel and pit an avocado with a plain old knife?) the tomato knife, the Calphalon deseeder, any egg slicer, bagel cutter, and the asparagus peeler/tongs!

Remember the old hot dog cookers that are like pop up toasters? If you eat so many hot dogs you really need one of these things, I want to know your cholesterol count!

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How about the hunk o' plain stainless steel that is sold as a miracle product to get the smell of garlic and onion off of your hands?  Saw one in a kitchen store last year for ten or twelve bucks.

This was going to be my nomination.

As for wooden spoons, plastic just doesn't have the stiffness that wood does. Plastic is great for when you want to reach to the corners of the pan but you can't beat wood for stir frying or other tossing.

My wooden spoon is older than I am. Being able to take the wooden spoon with me when I moved out was the one condition I was unwilling to budge on.

PS: I am a guy.

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After giving this much thought I would have to say my cousin Joel is the most useless utensil in my kitchen. I believe he was a gift given to me the day I was born. I have tried to return him many times to no avail. I've tried to sell him on ebay but I guess that is against some policy of theirs, can't sell him for parts either.

I live in a one bedroom apartment, my kitchen is just above easybake size. While he came with no instruction manual I am convinced his purpose is make you question/defend your every action in the kitchen.

He also has multi task functions. One of which is to take up space. Another is to randomly add ingredients to what ever you are cooking. Another would be to store kitchen utensils, equipment, food, etc... in his apartment for you , with out your knowledge.

That last function took me years to get used too. But tonight as I'm writing this I know the potato masher I was looking for earlier is safe and sound over at his place.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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somewhere in the house I have a speacial tool for lifting hard boiled eggs out of the pot!!! apparently a spoon, even a slotted spoon, isn't good enough  :laugh: Got it at a tupperware party & kept it for it's pure inanity...

I use some scissor-like metal tongs with ends that look like old fashioned bottle cap removers. I also use these to serve hot corn on the cob.

I don't know what they're really meant for. :huh:

SB (maybe lifting eggs :rolleyes: )

gallery_50527_4885_64496.jpg

Ar these the tongs to which you referred? My wife has had these for many years and she insists that they simply predate the ubiquitous tongs found in every kitchen nowadays.

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gallery_50527_4885_64496.jpg

Ar these the tongs to which you referred?  My wife has had these for many years and she insists that they simply predate the ubiquitous tongs found in every kitchen nowadays.

Those are indeed the exact tongs of which I speak! :biggrin:

I find this design lots easier to use than the ubiquitous kind. I often have to use my teeth to pull the little tab out and release these when my other hand is unavailable. :angry:

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