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Favorite and Useless Kitchen Gadgets

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I have followed the spotlight discussion with great interest. Your answers are wonderful and I'm enjoying your peripatetic life vicariously.

I have a bit of an addiction to kitchen gadgets, some old, some newfangled and I started wondering if in those 3 varied kitchens you cook in, you have accumulated any interesting gadgets. Particularly for baking, do you have any favorites? How about any that you have found totally useless?

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I guess it won't come as a surprise, but I have way too many gadgets, pieces of equipment and kitchen gear in general. Of course, the clutter is not my fault. Part of the blame goes to my husband who, because he was trained as an engineer, has never met a piece of equipment he hasn't thought one of us needed. Then there was my decade or so of writing The Tools of the Trade column for Bon Appetit magazine -- it gave me license to go gadget gaga, and I did.

When Pierre Herme came to my kitchen in New York for the first time, he said, "You have more stuff than I do!"

But do I use the things?

Here's what I use lots (in no particular order):

Standing mixer

Heavy baking sheets

Silicone baking mats


Rubber and silicone spatulas

Offset spatulas

Icing spatulas

Food processor (primarily for making pie and tart dough)

Rolling pins (I've got two French pins, one nylon [i love it] and one wood, and two pins with handles, one wood and one covered in silicone)

Stainless steel mixing bowls in every size

Baking pans -- of course -- rounds, squares, rectangles, bundts and fluted tart pans

Serrated knife -- a long one for chopping chocolate

Double-boiler set-up

Measuring spoons and measuring cups -- metal for dry ingredients, glass for liquids

Graters -- I'm addicted to Microplane graters

Maybe there's more, but this is what comes to mind as I scan my NY kitchen in my mind.

I have pretty much the same equipment in Connecticut. My sparest kitchen is the one in Paris, although it's still pretty well equipped. In fact, I'd say Paris is the best equipped because the proportion of essentials to bought-on-a-whim-because-they-were-cute gadgets is most favorable.

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Of all the gadgets you give a home to, which amuses you most when you see it now?

(because its cute, useless, over-designed, whatever)

And, is it possible to have too many and too varied a collection of baking pans?

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Oh dear, Kouign Aman, you ask a tough question -- and is it one I really want to face?

I have "cute" and useless gadgets that I'm giving space to that I really shouldn't -- the adorable green loop that scoops out avocado (it does a good job, but by the time I remember I have it, I've already cut the avocado); the tiny cutters to make sweet little flowers out of carrots (maybe in my next life -- and if I use them, I'll use the butter curlers, too); the huge scissors to cut small grapefruit sections; duplicates of the sliding measuring spoons that are a good idea, but I never reach for them; and, and ... I'm sure there are tons more.

As for the bigger stuff -- why do I need not one, but two deep fryers? And why don't I use them? I fry very rarely and when I do, I'm more apt to just put some oil in a pan and bring it up to temp. However, when I do haul out the fryers, I have to admit they're fun and easy to use.

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