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 over-the-top kitchen gadgets

Ellen Shapiro

Recommended Posts

The "Rotato". http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/rotato.htm Stupid rotating thing. Blade gouges the skin off lemons, limes, potatoes. You could peel around ten potatoes in the time it would take this thing to do one.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

welcome back ellen--I've missed your contributions while you've been away.  my nomination for most over the top kitchen gadget--but one that has since become indispensable to me:

the hand-held infared laser thermometer

these things have started to gain wider acceptance in the food industry as more people embrace the HACCP temperature recommendations and test that food is maintained within the safety zone.  The particular model I use is by Cooper Instrument Corp.  Model # 461--purchased from JB Prince--and what I really like about it is that it switches from degrees F to C easily.

It measures the surface temperature of things--many use it to read the inside temp of ovens--but I find myself using it for chocolate work:  it effortlessly reads the surface temp--so you can figure your internal temp is a degree or two higher.   (FYI--It does not work with clear or boiling liquids--so measuring sugar as it cooks this way is out.)

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo


Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a Raytek Minitemp around the kitchen for awhile -- it was an evaluation piece for an article and we sent it back even though the company didn't seem to care what we did with it. It was a ton of fun while it was with us, though. It could read the temperature of anything, and not just in the kitchen. :)

Ellen Shapiro


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
Here's my nomination: The wireless remote oven thermometer/pager from Williams-Sonoma.
. . . . It will page you when the meat is done, allowing you to spend time with your guests. . . . A wireless transmitter and remote pager alert you within a 100-foot radius. . . . æ

I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually bought one of these thermometers for myself on Christmas eve. I was making a rib roast and didn't want to open the oven, plus I didn't want to pay attention to the oven. It was a success, and all my sisters-in-law now want one!

However, I received one of these babies in my stocking this Christmas:


Menu Light And Vintage Chart

Ever strain to read a menu or wine list in a dim restaurant? Or wish for extra light when reading a theater program? Menu Light is the slick, trendy accessory that can solve both problems-and more! On the flip side it features a handy comprehensive vintage chart from the Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The featherweight design is a heavyweight when it comes to reliable, powerful lighting. Just squeeze the card to activate. A super-bright bulb, dome switch and mercury-free battery are encased in the waterproof vinyl package. Delivers light day-after-day-for up to 2 years. The credit-card sized device is just 3½x 2¼" and slips conveniently into a wallet, shirt pocket or purse. Why not pick up a few extras for friends and business associates before your next restaurant visit?


Dean McCord


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd like a mandoline. I have a good set of sharp Wusthof knives that I know how to use - but I want a mandoline. After I get one and use it for awhile, I might put it away in the attic and go back to my knives. But, who knows?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wireless remote oven thermometer/pager
Got that
The "Rotato"
Had one; returned it. It was clumsy and took too much peel off tomatoes, apples, etc.
the hand-held infared laser thermometer
Got that for the pizza oven. See photos on Pbase. Mine goes up to 1022F and when I point it on the inside ceramic, it goes off the scale. Did you know red-hot charcoal gets up to around 800 degrees? :shock: I got mine at Action Electronics. As Steve says, it's great for chocolate, as well as other temperature sensitive items (like the girlfriend). :raz:
Menu Light And Vintage Chart
Don't have that, but I did get something similar at Flora Springs this past summer. It doesn't have the light but it has the top varietals and their flavor profiles as well as a vintage chart similar to Wine Enthusiast Vintage Chart.
a magical Japanese implement that cleanly and neatly takes the top off a soft-boiled egg.
Egg cutter? Got that
a mandoline
Got three!
i want a salamander
I would like a small toaster oven to act as a salamander, but I'm not comfortable with the Easy Bake Oven-like materials they use to make them. They look so tinnie that if they get up to 450F I'm sure the heat would penetrate through and burn the paint off the wall.


I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but I know that yours doesn't work worth a damn !

It works in my house, it doesn't work in yours. Hmm.... :hmmm:



I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  You wrote that you want a


  30,000BTU professional wok burner (approx

  ?) for the kitchen we are redoing. Dont

  have the space for it. Definitely over

  the top, but god do I want one. :)


  You mean 30,000 BTU/hour? Likely.


  Now, now, why struggle over something so small

  when you can get much more so easily?!!!


  I refer, of course, to that tool of the hot and

  powerful, an outdoor propane burner intended

  for heating pots of Louisiana shellfish on

  beaches. Constructed of welded iron rods with

  a cast iron burner in the middle with some

  brass fittings and a rubber hose ended with a

  regulator valve. Elegant? No. Powerful? Yes.


  I got mine at that esteemed emporium of the

  culinary erudite elite, Sam's Club. The

  packing box claims


  King Kooker

  Manufactured by

  Metal Fusion, Inc.

  712 St. George Ave.

  Jefferson, LA 70121

  (504) 736-0201


  Model No. 88 PKP






  Ah, they also didn't specify per hour.


  My notes also say






  For this, outdoors is not a handicap: Really,

  you don't want this in your kitchen! Trust me

  on this one!


  For my last usage, I did a 'chicken casserole'.

  So, got a 7 pound chicken, cut it up, cutting

  at all the leg and wing joints, removed and

  discarded the red jelly material from between

  the ribs and under the membranes of the back.


  Cut the liver into a few pieces, sauteed gently

  in some chicken fat, removed to a nice dish,

  deglazed the pan with some chicken broth,

  reduced and stirred to get a smooth sauce,

  poured over the liver, set on a nice tray, put

  on the floor, and called my kitty cat.


  Continuing with the casserole, took a 14"

  diameter Chinese round bottomed steel wok,

  fired up the burner, which quickly melted the

  accumulated snow, heated the wok, added pepper

  to the chicken pieces and and browned them skin

  side down first, including the neck, gizzard,

  and heart, and added to a pot.


  Measured out 4 C of dry white Chardonnay, used

  about 1 1/2 C to deglaze the wok, added to the

  pot, added rest of wine to pot, added 4 C of

  French style chicken stock (essentially the P.

  Franey recipe in the 1970 Time-Life 'Classic

  French Cooking'), added 2 ounces of fresh

  parsley and a sprig of fresh thyme, simmered,

  covered, braised for 30 minutes, separated, put

  meat diced in one bowl, skin, bones, scraps,

  vegetables in another bowl, and returned

  braising liquid to pot.


  Poached 3 pounds of vegetables -- onions,

  carrots, peeled celery -- in the braising

  liquid and removed the vegetables. Strained

  the braising liquid.


  Put 24 ounces of large (about 1 ounce each)

  white mushrooms, sliced 3-5 slices each, in

  wok, added 1 C of water, covered, cooked until

  water was gone and the mushrooms had given up

  their liquid. Removed the cover, turned up the

  heat, and browned the mushrooms.


  In this operation, if the propane heat is high

  enough, actually can brown the mushrooms before

  they give up their water. Also, to get the

  mushrooms to give their water, should use a

  cover and not have the heat very high. If the

  propane heat is high enough to generate a tall

  column of steam, then again boil away the water

  before getting the mushrooms cooked.


  Poached 1 pound of frozen baby peas (Green

  Giant 'Le Sueur') in some water, drained,

  discarded the poaching liquid.


  Strained the braising liquid, reduced to 1 1/2

  C, added 1/4 C minced fresh strong garlic, let

  the garlic simmer for maybe 20 seconds, added

  to a white roux, added light cream, whipped,

  corrected for S&P, combined with the diced

  braised chicken, the poached vegetables, the

  browned mushrooms, the peas, placed over low

  heat, covered, heated through, and ate with

  some of the white wine.


  The propane burner did well with browning both

  the chicken and the mushrooms.


  My unit is now old. The weather ruined the

  regulator, so I got some brass hose fittings at

  a hardware store and some rubber fuel hose at

  an auto supply store, used some epoxy, and made

  a new hose. So, I'm using this without a

  regulator (which may be somewhat dangerous) and

  using just the valve on the propane tank as the

  throttle. Works well enough.


  Also, since propane can be dangerous, I'm using

  this outdoors, on a very open porch, maybe 12

  feet off the ground, with plenty of cracks

  between the boards of the floor of the porch.


  I have no commercial interest in this propane

  unit, but the power level, the 170,000

  BTU/hour, is gratifying. As I recall, the

  price was about $30.


  I use the wok with a 'potholder' glove in one

  hand, to hold the steel wok handle, which gets

  hot, and a long commercial kitchen stainless

  steel cooking spoon in the other hand. Works

  well enough.


  The steel wok over that propane burner makes a

  nice way to brown 7 pounds or so of chicken.


  The heat from this propane burner cracked my

  Griswold cast iron frying pan, and I was

  disappointed to discover that the new frying

  pans do not have a machined interior.


  So, for doing sauteing over the propane, I've

  settled on just plain steel, either that wok or

  a steel saute pan.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Forgot to add one thing to the list. If you shop in bulk, you must get a Food Saver. If you have one you know what I'm talking about. If you don't have one, think about getting one. Very little gets into my freezers without first getting wrapped in this gadget. I can't believe how fresh-like the things are when I defrost them. I freeze whole chickens, all my soups and stocks, foie gras that I've portioned, IQF vegetables and fruit during their peak seasonality, steaks, you name it...

I got mine a few years back at Costco for $170. This included the vacuum sealer, three jars, and six roles of bags (4 - 11" and 2 - 8"). Since then I've also bought a 6-quart jar that I use to store a week's worth of lettuce. This is two heads of lettuce, cleaned and trimmed. The stuff stays just as fresh on day seven as it did going in on day one. No browning around the edges.

I have no vested interest in this recommendation, but it is something I can't live without.


I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really Nice, do you put your stock in the jars to save them? I'd imagine a lot of the stock would go into the device if you use a bag.

I put them in 1-quart Zip Lock bags, lay them down on a sheet pan, and put the sheet pan in the freezer. Once the zip lock bags are frozen, I run them through the Food Saver. It sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't.

I prefer this method because the storage space is more compact than jars. I currently have beef, chicken, duck, veal, and vegetable stock in the freezer. Each batch makes 10 to 11 3-cup bags. Once they go through the Food Saver, I store the bags in plastic grocery bags. It makes finding a specific stock in the coffin freezer in the garage a lot easier. It's also easier to know when you're running low on one (like I am with beef stock :shock: ).


I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...