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Aug 4, 2006 09:27 PM

Useless clutter?

What did you buy, have high hopes for & then almost never use? After reading a rave review I purchased an electric knife sharpener. What a waste! It's noisy, takes forever, doesn't even do the job. I've reverted to a old-fashioned stone + professional sharpening when needed. So the pricey sharpener sits there...unloved & unused...

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  1. That d*&n Romertopf clay pot that sits on the uppermost shelf gathering dust. There have been threads on what to make in those types of unglazed pots, but nothing has sounded good that I couldn't make more easily and happily in the Le Creuset dutch oven.

    Keep meaning to leave it out on the street for a neighbor to take.

    6 Replies
      1. re: Millicent

        Oh I'd love that pot too!! I make romtopf basically every year.

        1. re: PicklingJessica

          Ummm...isn't a Romertopf a clay pot meant for roasting chicken? And isn't romtopf a bunch of fruit layered with booze? Am I missing something (like a joke maybe)?

          1. re: GG Mora

            Sorry I misread it! Yes, you're right and I am off on a hunt for learning to read better :).
            My grandmother was german and she made her romtopf in a clay pot. Got great result with it.
            Again, sorry for the confusion :).

        2. re: Millicent

          I can't say I use mine often. Maybe not more than once a month or so but I would never call it clutter. It's a wonderful thing for things as diverse as chicken and bread. It's also something I'll always want in my kitchen.

          1. re: Millicent

            Amen on the Romertopf. My dust collectors: Electric pasta machine, ice cream maker, crock pot, Nesco electric roaster, garlic press (tastes better minced with a knife or just smashed), ricer, deep fryer, and the bread machine - which I DID use religiously for years and then became bored.

          2. Our kitchen is pretty small with a very limited amount of cabinet space. I use to be a "try the new thing" person but with this kitchen I really think out what I buy, especially when it comes to things like pots, skillets and other cookware.

            I did buy a fairly expensive French mandoline which resides for the most part in the dark recesses of a cabinet. I find that by the time I get it out, set it up, get it adjusted I can slice or whatever with a knife much quicker. I guess if I was slicing 5 lbs of potatoes or something I might reach for it, but for just two of us, pretty much a waste.

            1. Oh let's see... At the moment the winner is a drying apparatus for mushrooms and herbs that was a gift but that I have only used once. I just dry things in the oven instead.
              Otherwise I am pretty careful what knickknacks I buy and the "useless" stuff is most of the time gifts from people who do not cook or things I thought I'd like but then revert back to the old-fashioned way. When I got a kitchen aid I found myself wondering how I had managed all the years before.

              1. Garlic press, garlic peeler, basically any of the junk for dealing with garlic, it's so easy to pinch the damned thing, break the hard skin then peel and cut or work into a paste. I'm *glad* however for the soap-shaped stainless steel that cleans my hands.

                I once bought quite an expensive machine that mixed, kneaded and then extruded pasta. It was so heavy and bulky that I only hauled it out twice and the extruder gummed up like crazy. Eventually I learned to make my pasta by hand. Shaping it is still a bitch with the pasta roller but I'm looking into the KitchenAid attachment that will make it a 2-hand (as opposed to a 3-hand) proposition.

                6 Replies
                1. re: rainey

                  See, I'm the opposite. I use TONS of garlic, and I can press a half cup a lot more quickly than I can peel and chop two or three bulbs. On the other hand, the stainless steel "soap? is useless to me when I can just rub my hands on a spoon, the faucet, or something else stainless steel.

                  1. re: Pei

                    Yeah, I agree with you. I love my garlic press. My mom always used the press so, the tradition continues. Chopping doesn't bring out the juices like the press does. Pressed garlic is great in everything.

                    1. re: amoncada

                      I have two garlic presses and need them both. The press is perfect when you want garlic to melt into the dish - for me in salsa and guacamole especially. But chopping is much preferred for when I want the texture in braised dishes or crunchy hits of raw garlic, as in gremolata.

                      The plastic tube to roll garlic in to peel it is useless clutter to me.

                      1. re: amoncada

                        In that case, I just smear the garlic into a paste with whatever salt is called for in the recipe.

                      2. re: Pei

                        I gave up the garlic press for a microplane, which also works for nuts, cheese, and citrus zest. Since the press is a one-off -- doesn't multitask -- it was downsized.

                      3. re: rainey

                        I like the KitchenAid roller attachment--I make pasta from scratch once a week or so--and the standard dough hook attachment does a beautiful job of kneading; I turn it on the lowest speed, set my kitchen timer for 15 minutes, and go away. BUT the pasta cutters that come with the roller have never worked for me, because once I roll out the pasta to #4 or #5 (any thinner scares me) it passes through the cutters without getting cut. So I wind up cutting wide noodles by hand, unless I'm making a stuffed pasta or manicotti where I just cut the sheets into 6 x 6 inch squares.

                      4. This is actually an interesting question because I have a small kitchen and a ton of equipment but, thinking hard about what's useless, the truth is there's a lot I don't use often but am really glad to have when the time comes. For instance, I used to have 3 ice cream makers. I'm down to 2 but like them both for different applications.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rainey

                          I'm in the same boat - but am always happy I have my Chinois, or the right shaped baking pan or my spatzle maker when the craving hits.