HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


The World's Most Useless Kitchen Gadget

  • r

My nomination is the "Octodog" which takes an ordinary hot dog and transforms (mutates?) it into an octopus. Why? I don't know.

Link: http://www.octodog.net/

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I think that looks cool!

    Actually, a friend with kids taught my mom how to make slits in hot dogs so they come out looking like hot dog men after they're boiled. My mom has taught every friend she has, and they've all become much more popular with their grandkids. They'd probably flip over the octodog!

    1. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a thread on the LA Board in which Patty told us about the secret "flying octopus" you can order at Hot Dog on a Stick.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. q
        Queen of Hearts

        Back in the days, when my mom used to make me bento lunches for school (when I still had that Hello Kitty lunch box), she used to make me little 'octopus' hotdogs too. You don't need a fancy gadget to make the legs, though; just slice the hotdogs and boil.
        The other highlight in my lunches were the little rabbit apple slices. She would partially leave the apple skins on so it would look just like bunny ears. I really miss those days!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Queen of Hearts


          And now I know what to have for lunch tomorrow!

          -An octopus hotdog with bunny ear apples and a cubed egg.

          Useless my fanny, how much more fun could you get?

          Ah, this reminds me of a Mickey Mouse toaster, was it? Some sort of a press maybe, that imprints his trademarked mug on your white bread. Can't recall what it was exactly, but I used it only once, maybe twice.

          1. re: Spoony Bard

            There's also a "Hello Kitty" toaster that imprints Hello Kitty on each slice. That was #1 on my older daughter's Christmas wish list last year. (She's pushing 35 and a University professor in digital media arts). I came through for her, and she hosted a New Year's brunch with a Hello Kitty theme.

            1. re: Gary Soup

              There's even a Hello Kitty personal vibrator. Oops! I guess that belongs on Not About Food...

              1. re: GG Mora

                Very funny. Thanks for the laugh!

              2. re: Gary Soup

                I have one of those! It does a fine job toasting her face on the bread. My husband is not so crazy about it, however.

              3. re: Spoony Bard

                speaking of toasters, a few years ago, someone at MIT invented one that downloads the day's local weather forecast, then burns an iconic image of the forecast onto the toast.

            2. t
              torta basilica

              Sur l' Table's avocado slicer - even they admit they don't use it. Starts out great, then smooshes it all up tring to pull the thing out at the smaller end.

              3 Replies
              1. re: torta basilica

                I've not had a problem with it. I got one at A Southern Season last spring in Chapel Hill. It is not something that i use a lot but it does not take up that much room and does a nice even good job for me.

                1. re: Candy
                  torta basilica

                  How do you pull it out of the small end without mashing it all up?

                  1. re: torta basilica

                    It must be in the way I'm holding the avacado. I do hold it in my hand and use the slicer at a slant then cut down and move it in an upward motion as I near the narrow end. I'll have to go buy an avacado and anaylze exactly what I do. But, I don't mess up the end at all.

              2. j
                JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                I'm going to have to go with the Egg Cuber. It's a little plastic box that you put a hot hard-boiled egg into. Once it cools, you slide the egg out and it retains the square shape. I'm sure it's amusing, but it looks like it would be more difficult than it should be to use, and what would you do with a square egg anyway?

                1 Reply
                1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                  I had an egg cuber when I was little, and a friend recently bought me one to refresh those childhood memories.

                  It only makes one at a time, but if you get a bunch of them, it does have a use - deviled eggs that don't roll away!

                2. Corkscrews where the screw is too short and/or too thin of a guage wire. Do they make these things for cosmetic reasons just to spice up the look of someone's utensil drawer? I mean would it break the bank for the manufacturer to double the wire guage and/or add an inch to the screw? I don't own one but I'm always running into them at other people's places.

                  1. Gee, I thought I was going to take the prize by nominating an Appleskiver pan, but it's hard to beat the Octodog.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Bob Libkind

                      You can use the appleskivver pan to make those lovely little Vietnamese Banh Can ( Silver Dollar Cakes). There is a recipe in The Simple Art of Vietnamese Cooking, Binj Duong and Marcia Kiesel. Out of print now but your local library might have a copy. I check it out frequently from mine and am constantly looking for a copy in used book stores.

                      1. re: Bob Libkind

                        I assume you are referring to an Abelskiver pan.

                        Having married into a family of Danish origin I found that Abelskiver is no joke, nor is the importance of a good cast iron abelskiver pan. These people take it very seriously (along with their lefse and lutefisk). I once referred to it as Elvis Cleaver and they were not amused!

                        My wife has taken on the family tradition and makes a mean abelskiver. We have tried using the same recipe for pancakes but they just aren't the same.

                        1. re: Sven

                          My original posting didn't go through, so I'll repost.

                          Lodge makes a castiron abelskiver pan, so there must be an active demand for it. I can't see Lodge going to the trouble of casting them if there was no demand. Maybe people just use them as wall decorations, but people apparently want them.

                          See the link below, then click on "Shop", then on "Specialty items". Sorry, but this site won't handle the direct URL, probably because it uses a secure site.

                          Link: http://www.lodgemfg.com/home.asp

                      2. I have never understood the point of an electric can opener. I find them much harder to use than my faithful Swing-A-Way. Maybe if you have a hand disability, but otherwise...why?

                        1. I've never seen this gadget, but for sure it will have appeal to kids.

                          I think there's almost no question that the world's most useless kitchen gadget is that juicer that stands on 3 legs, fairly high over the surface. I've read that it just does not work, and puts juice all over the place.

                          As a general rule, at least for hand-operated devices, the more expensive it is, the more useless it is. I certainly would exempt a nice mandoline from this category, but by and large, the higher the price, the dumber and more poorly-designed a gadget is.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Howard-2

                            If the juicer you're referring to is the Phillipe Starck model, you're missing the point. You don't actually USE it -- it just looks cool in the kitchen. There's a whole subgenre of useless gadgets of this ilk. I have enough trouble finding space for the stuff that does something. Why anyone would...oh, nevermind. That's an idealogical quagmire.

                            1. re: GG Mora

                              oh i got that juicer as a gift years ago from my sister! it's a terrible juicer but i can't get rid of it because every time she comes over she asks about it to make sure i'm using it...at least it makes a good conversation piece. it looks like a spaceship.

                              1. re: kristen

                                Yeah, that's the one!

                                I'm one of those wackos who thinks that good (i.e. functional) design has inherent good looks of its own.

                                1. re: Howard-2

                                  Count me among the wackos, too. I love the looks of the 50's-era juicer that's chrome with kangaroo-type legs, the salon standing-hair-dryer dome and the overhead lever. Totally CAS.

                          2. I nominate just about any of the As Seen On TV products. The "Inside the Egg Scrambler", the "Pancake Flipping Pan", etc...

                            1. Most garlic-processing tools are pretty useless (given how easy it is to smash and mince with a chef's knife), but The Garlic Genius takes the cake. You have to peel them first anyway, then take apart this contraption with 6 or so pieces, for what... small garlic cubes that look just like what you get in a jar! Then take the whole thing apart for another clove, then clean the garlic bits out of all the little holes. I gave up on it years ago.

                                1. Battery-powered salad spinner. Honest. I'm sure I saw this for sale in some catalogue or another (Williams Sonoma?). Also a metal objet shaped like a stone that you rub your hands on to get rid of the garlic smell. (What idiot doesn't know that any form of stainless steel will have the same effect?) Who buys these things?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Pamlet

                                    The same people who buy a "silver cleaning kit" containing an aluminim plate and a packet full of "activator" (read: arm & hammer baking soda) for $15, when a piece of tinfoil will do.

                                    1. re: Erika

                                      Even better than the tinfoil... soap up and clean your kitchen faucet with your hands. Takes the smell away and your faucet sparkles.

                                      1. re: bryan

                                        Sorry. Misread that. Mine was for the garlic smell on your hands.

                                  2. I have this can opener that cuts off the top of the can below the seal. Not only does it leave a razor sharp edge on the can but sometimes cuts below the liquid line leaving a big mess. I stopped using it after a few tries but it's still clogging up my utensil drawer.

                                    1. I was just watching the movie Bridget Jones's Diary.

                                      There's a scene in the movie with a fictional kitchen gadget called the Wise Cracker Egg Peeler.

                                      You gotta see it to really appreciate it.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: James

                                        I own the world's most useless kitchen gadget. It's a plastic banana slicer I bought in Malta for 50 cents. I tried using it once but it didn't work, unless you wanted a smashed banana.

                                      2. I nominate my first ex-wife!