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Useless Food "Gifts" You've Received


Pickles
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If you're a person interested in food, there's a pretty good chance some well-meaning person has given you a food-related gift.

What was the best one you ever got? How long have you had it, and how often do you use it?

If it was a gourmet item, like a sauce, etc., can you make it now yourself and not have to keep buying it or asking Santa for it. :biggrin:

What was the worst gift, and what did you do with it?

Plenty of room for the old Seinfeld "regifting" here! :wink: I just got something odd called a "dipping set." :wacko: It's a smallish hand painted ceramic bottle with small neck, and 4 little "dipping bowls" for flavored EVOO I presume. I know keeping that bottle clean and rancid-free is too much effort for me...pretty as it is. I smell a re-gift. :laugh:

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A revolting egg separater, shaped like a head-mug. Crack the whole egg into the cup, tilt forward slightly, and the whites run, drip or ooze through the clever little nostril holes. :huh: Even with my warped sense of humor, this is one that's stayin' in the box. :blink: Ack Gack!

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Best food gift ever: A terra cotta mortar about 5 inches in diameter with a rock maple pestle. Made for me by an artist friend. Used almost daily for the last 15 years. Just seeing it on my counter or holding it cupped in my hand makes me so happy. :wub:

"Portion control" implies you are actually going to have portions! ~ Susan G
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We get a lot of useless food-related gifts. Cos, like, we like food, and nobody in our families has a clue about what else we might like. (It could be worse. We like books, too, and there is no thought more horrifying than that of unsolicited gift books!)

Let's see... there was the year that was all "tea" -- lots of pretty individual teacups, which are granted very decorative (though I am not big on dust collectors mostly) and many boxes of mostly cheap and nasty flavoured teabags... there was the curliqued "kuntry" aged-metal carousel full of quaint stopper bottles of overaged herbs and spices... the giant alligator-shaped bottle with a weensy bottle of Tabasco in its jaws, full of multi-bean soup mix in layers (now that was just weird)... and this year, a very expensive stainless-steel "oil well" and dripless oil bottle -- for me, who adds barely any fat other than EFAs to my cooking, and hasn't for years. (Fortunately, that one came from a mail-order catalogue from a company of which I am very fond, and I returned it and got something I'd been wanting for months.)

And let us not disregard the gigantic boxes of Quality Street filled chocolates that we receive every Yuletide, despite my repeated, and quite blunt, pleas for "no junk food". I don't waste calories on chocolate unless it's worthwhile, and these boxes, along with other odds and sods of cheap sugary treats (being as we always receive them halfway through the two-week holiday off work) go straight into the trash, since I can't pawn them off at the office and don't need clutter round the house.

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Have to admit I'm amused by those runny-nosed egg-separators - or rather, "amoosed," since the only one I've seen is in the shape of a moose's head.

Best food gift ever? The Colony Cup. The only sensible fat separator device I've ever seen. Instead of tilting to pour the good stuff out of a spout attached at the bottom of the vessel the way most of them do (in my experience this never works right anyway - something always gets past it and then you have to start all over again), the CC has a little trap-door in the bottom. It's very solidly designed and built, looks sort of like a measuring cup in heavy lucite. There's a removable strainer-trap at the top. The inside bottom slopes gently down toward the hole in the center, so you get every drop, and the trap door slides shut with one little push, neatly trapping all the fat at the surface. I've only ever seen two of these in my life; mine and the one belonging to my closest friend. Coincidences are funny things.... But you also have to wonder why some of the best ideas fail to catch on and the mediocre ones take over the market. (Can you say "BetaMax"?)

Oh - another great gift that should have owned the market and didn't. I wasn't given this - I gave it to everyone the year it came out, and have been acquiring unused ones at garage sales, just in case. Knife whizzes glance aside, please: it's the MiniChop, the first and IMO by far the best of the miniature food processors. For chopping a handful of herbs or a couple of shallots or any such small matter that's too small for the full-scale food processor, you can't beat it. Well, yeah, you could with a well-wielded perfectly-sharp knife, but my knives are seldom perfectly sharp, I blush to report; and my knife skills are fair to decent but no way am I that FAST. Don't know why the MC didn't sweep all contenders off the field - it's much more powerful than any other such machine I've seen - I think there may have been a problem with a technicality about its UL listing. Pity. I swear by mine - and am glad I have three spares in the cellar, in case this one ever gives up the ghost....

One more: the miraculous hot-cold-plate. This thing is slim and flat and requires no power; it's made of some kind of marvelous stuff that retains and reflects temperature (kinda like Nambe pots, but it's actually some kind of plastic and glass, far as I can tell). Put something hot on it, it's a hot-plate. Put something cold on it, it's a cold-plate. Like the old joke about the thermos bottle - how do it know?

I'm sure there have been a lot of useless gifts too, but I seem to have mercifully blocked them from my memory.

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And let us not disregard the gigantic boxes of Quality Street filled chocolates that we receive every Yuletide, despite my repeated, and quite blunt, pleas for "no junk food". I don't waste calories on chocolate unless it's worthwhile, and these boxes, along with other odds and sods of cheap sugary treats (being as we always receive them halfway through the two-week holiday off work) go straight into the trash, since I can't pawn them off at the office and don't need clutter round the house.

Ooooh, yes! one of the many benefits of my divorce is that I am no longer confronted by my former SIL's annual pre-fab box of cheap nasty chocolates at Christmas. I used to go to considerable effort to come up with useful and/or attractive gifts for that whole family; that miserable box of chocolates never varied. To do him justice, even my ex was chagrined by it.

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Giant pizza-size chocolate-chip cookie that arrived on our doorstep by UPS during Christmas week when we were out of town for two weeks. It was stale when we got back. (But the package included was a nice ceramic mug that I now use a lot.)

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My father-in-law, who thinks ketchup is spicy, seems to get a kick out of getting me a couple of bottles of hot sauce every year. I now have something like 15 or so bottles of inferior versions of Tabasco, made with peppers, vinegar, and salt. None of them will replace the Tabasco bottle. I need to make a big batch of buffalo wings, I guess.

Although last year he managed to get one that really surprised me. The same basic recipe, but using habaneros. Made by Grace, I think it's out of Jamaica. That has been really good to me. I'm on the lookout for another few bottles to keep in my arsenal.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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How about the "Most Useful Gift I've Almost Received"...

Two years ago for Christmas, my parents gave me a full set of cast iron cookware. The problem is this: They live in Colorado and I live in New York. The cookware was given to me while I was visiting them. Since I had flown, there was no way for me to get this home with me. Heck, there was no way I could even carry it down the stairs with me!

Well, in 8 days that set of cookware will finally be mine. They are driving out for a visit and will be personally delivering it! Yeah!

Actually, I'm surprised by the lack of food-related gifts I get from my family. My husband always gets me nice cooking things (a new knife and some All-Clad pans last year), but the rest of my family rarely gets me anything food related. Well, except for the "Joys of Jello" cookbook my aunt gave me last year! :wacko: Okay, it was in jest, but that's another story...

Julie Layne

"...a good little eater."

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Hi Chickenlady.

When we travel on vacation, and buy stuff we can't manage on the plane, we just go to one of those mailbox type stores, they have them almost everywhere, give them the stuff and they wrap it and ship it.

Have had no problem with them delaying shipment for a few days so that the treasures arrive home after we do.

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My best food related gift this year was a giant red LeCruset skillet with a lid. So heavy I can barely lift it, but wonderful. I use it a ton.

The worst are those "food included" kinds of prepackaged gifts. I have one with several flavored vinegars that is still hanging around. Should just throw it away. Or the one that came with a jar of salsa and some taco dip seasoning. Still use the little chili pepper ramekins that came in the box though.

I have an idea for those commercially packaged boxes of chocolates that you guys don't like. Rather than throwing them in the trash I take mine to Goodwill when I drop off a donation and give them to the volunteers/staff there as a little thank you for your efforts token. They seem to go over well.

What's wrong with peanut butter and mustard? What else is a guy supposed to do when we are out of jelly?

-Dad

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My best and worst gift can probably be rolled into one. For our wedding, my aunt bought us a 9 piece set of Le Creueset from Chef's Catalog. This was before I was into cooking and we had already bought a decent set of Analon when we moved in together a few months earlier.

We decided to exchange the set for a breadmaker/toaster oven/oven thing that looked like a big microwave. It made decent bread - for a year or two until the seal on the door stopped working right.

In the meantime, I have spent the last five years pining after and buying individual pieces of Le Creuset. I still use the Analon, but the breadmaker is stored permaenetly in the garage.

Bill Russell

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My most useless was a $9.95/ 20 peice set of cutlery knives.

My cousin keeps giving me packages of these cutesy pate spreaders. I've got Santas, Bunnies (dolled up for Easter) Pigs, and Chef's heads. Hot ziggity...just what I always wanted. :wacko:

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Best food gift ever... A friend from the PNW brought one of those soft sided coolers. It was stuffed with vacuum packed smoked fish of all kinds. The halibut was my favorite. I still mail order from these guys. And the cooler is one of the handiest ones I have. Oooo... I may have to place an order. :biggrin:

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

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Worst gifts:

Bargain-bin cookbooks - the kind with "Best-Ever" or "Complete" in the title. I've also received a diet cookbook (although I've always been thin), and even a cookbook for people with cancer (although I've never had cancer). :blink:

Nasty, cheap chocolates that taste like wax.

Best gifts:

My Weigh 6001T digital scale :wub:

Santoku knife :smile:

Kuhn Rikon 7-quart pressure cooker :smile:

White tea :cool:

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Oh, boy, worst food gifts!

1. One of those two-pronged "temperature sensing" forks. Besides the fact it doesn't work, it pokes holes in the meat and lets all the juices out. Yeah, we tried it. Once. After that, went straight to Goodwill.

2. Citrus fruit. Now I like citrus fruit. In moderation. But year before last, my extended family took it into their collective heads that we needed fruit for Christmas. LOTS of fruit. By the time all was said and delivered, we had received at least 40 lbs of grapefruit, oranges, etc. We finally had to buy a juicer to try to save some of it before it all went bad - there are only two of us!

So last Christmas, I sent out the word that while we appreciated their generosity, please, could we not have quite so much citrus fruit?

We only got about 30 lbs. This year a lot of it went in the garbage, because we still haven't used all the frozen juice from the batch the year before! I still have high hopes for this year :smile: .

Best:

A heavy duty garlic press. I forget who made it, but this is literally the only press that's stood up to the job - no matter how I overload it, no matter how hard I press it, it's the garlic that gives, not the press.

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

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A revolting egg separater, shaped like a head-mug.  Crack the whole egg into the cup, tilt forward slightly, and the whites run, drip or ooze through the clever little nostril holes. :huh:  Even with my warped sense of humor, this is one that's stayin' in the box. :blink:  Ack Gack!

I've got one of those. It's staring me in the face right now. It's got pens in it, and it's on the computer desk.

EDIT: to say I've also received a Stir Chef (which is an electronic pot-stirring device) and one of those Chef Wizards, which is that tong/spoon/whip tool. These have all been given to me by the same lady, hopefully as a joke.

Edited by NeroW (log)

Noise is music. All else is food.

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Useless-Green bean cutter to "french" green beans

Useful-Cuisinart recieved when I was married (1983). Still going strong (four or five bowls and I don't know how many blades later). It has recieved use probably four or five times a week for twenty years. Nothing fuzzy about it's logic either-pulse or on. That's it (and that is enough!)

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Don't know what my worst pressie would be but one of the best was my Kichenaid mixer that my dad gave me. LOVE IT! Use it all the time, as I'm sure you can imagine.

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

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One of the best:

About 4 years ago my mother gave me a set of measuring cups in unusual sizes: 2/3 c, 1 1/2 c, etc. I use them ALL the time!

One of the worst:

A set of those wax-topped bottles of decorative chiles in oil? vinegar? formaldehyde?

"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

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The same basic recipe, but using habaneros. Made by Grace, I think it's out of Jamaica. That has been really good to me. I'm on the lookout for another few bottles to keep in my arsenal.

is it red? and kinda thick with seeds? if so, i know this brand. it's the one that chased off the suitor in the other thread about spiciest cuisines. it's hot.

Edited by tryska (log)
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The same basic recipe, but using habaneros. Made by Grace, I think it's out of Jamaica. That has been really good to me. I'm on the lookout for another few bottles to keep in my arsenal.

is it red? and kinda thick with seeds? if so, i know this brand. it's the one that chased off the suitor in the other thread about spiciest cuisines. it's hot.

Actually, it is red, but the consistency of Tabasco. No visible floating particles, just a hellish emulsification that keeps perfectly at room temp. No seeds, no chunks, just pure satiny peppery drops.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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