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Nov 6, 2006 09:24 PM

what is the most useless gadget in your kitchen

I posted an earlier post about what is necessary for a well equipped kitchen.

Let me now get to what is the least useful. I was thinking of egg cups. I guess they're cute but don't think that they're needed.

Your thoughts?

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  1. silicone garlic peeler. totally useless!

    24 Replies
    1. re: claire de lunacy

      Yes! Those things don't do diddly squat.

      They're even more useless than an egg cup. At least, on the rare occassions when you do need something in which to put one hard boiled egg, the egg cup is perfectly shaped for that one exclusive job. The garlic peeler doesn't even do what it's supposed to do.

      1. re: Pei

        I finally sliced mine open. It's a little bit more useful that way. . .

        1. re: Pei

          I've been known to use egg cups to serve sake.

          1. re: Sarah

            I've been known to use sake cups to serve soft eggs.

            1. re: Sarah

              I use my egg cup to hold ink to do calligraphy, upside down when I want a little ink, right side up for a lot of ink. It's perfect!

              1. re: chowser

                The egg cup is starting to sound darn useful!

                1. re: Sarah

                  hmm... a egg cup jigger then. that sounds useful. i would get that over a garlic press any day.

                  1. re: trymonlam

                    When I was little my Mum used to use them for holding water for my watercolours and paintbrushes.

                    I also use them now for candle holders, as well as eggs :)

                  2. re: Sarah

                    Wow, now I have some ideas about what to do with my stupid egg cup

                    1. re: Sarah

                      O.T. but this part of the thread reminds me of a trip to the museum near downtown Prague. In the artifacts section they had various prehistoric or at least historic doodads, like bowls, knives, whatever. Then there were mysterious little things just labeled "children's toy." Many of them. That was the default label for something the museum staff had no idea about, I'm pretty sure.

                      Both a museum-touring companion - a great cook - and I shared afterward that we'd each seen some of those 'children's toy' labels and thought, "No. That's a _______ for doing _____" to do with cooking. (Sorry the specifics escape me, it's been awhile.) Egg cup would've fit right in.

                2. re: Pei

                  I love egg cups...but not for hard or soft boiled eggs. I make Pysanky (Ukranian Easter Eggs) and egg cups are a perfect display vehicle for them.

                  1. re: Pei

                    Haha, I just bought *one* egg cup at a kitchen store last week. I couldn't help it, it was so cute . . . the little thing has squat legs and feet! Too bad I hardly ever eat soft-boiled eggs . . .

                    1. re: operagirl

                      You have one more than me.

                      My espresso cups double up as egg cups. And they have a convenient handle for carrying them, something most egg cups are missing.

                  2. re: claire de lunacy

                    I loooove my garlic peeler, it's one of the best gadgets in my kitchen. So ingenious.

                    1. re: slacker

                      I agree - the garlic peeler silicone tubes perfect when I want a lot of peeled garlic cloves that are NOT smashed.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        How? I have NEVER been able to get peeled garlic that wasn't smushed.

                        1. re: Aromatherapy

                          Buy 5 pounds of garlic you plan to pickle, on a lark. Then realize you have to peel it all.

                          You learn. Fast.

                          My hands staaank.

                          1. re: Aromatherapy

                            Aromatherapy - I'm *just* seeing this response now! (Now that anything posted in a thread you posted in - even years ago - shows back up in My Chow, I'm seeing older threads I participated in!)

                            Anyway - this is what I'm talking about - Garlic EZ Rollers:


                            I just lightly roll the garlic cloves in the roller tube and the paper usually comes off - I don't press hard at all, but the paper sticks to the inside of the roller, and out pops the peeled garlic clove.

                      2. re: claire de lunacy

                        Useless for garlic but I find it helps with opening jars.

                        1. re: kitchensalli

                          I love the flat kind for opening jars, but the kind shaped like a tube can't even be used for that!

                            1. re: claire de lunacy

                              Mine works fine but I'm too lazy to get it out. Find it faster to crush garlic and peel it by hand. Another gadget that finds no use in my kitchen is the pretty yellow hinged lemon squeezer; I prefer the wooden ridged "reamer."

                              1. re: silkenpaw

                                I wish I had my Mom's garlic peeler, worked like a charm. Drop in the garlic, roll lightly, and as long as it took to read this-done, whole, and clean as whistle.

                                Since ii don't have it I just trim the end off, and roll them in my hand. Being single has some advantages, like not having to worry about reeking of garlic.

                            2. When you have soft boiled eggs egg cups come in pretty handy to hold them up so they don't fall over on a plate or bowl and spill the yolk out. Did you know those "double" egg cups with small end and are large end have a function. When your eggs are perfectly cooked and you want to keep eat the first and keep the other warm, you fit the larger end over the other egg and put the egg you are eating in the top. If you are going this route it is good to have eggs scissors to top the egg perfectly. Then you just need hot buttered toast fingers for dipping.

                              I have gotten ruthless over the years about getting rid of useless gadgets. I have been given 2 truffle shavers in recent years. I have never had the opportunity to use them. I thought maybe to shave chocolate with but have found a vegetable peeler will work as well so they will probably be going away too.

                              9 Replies
                              1. re: Candy

                                I have an egg allergy. My friends know that I am unable to eat them.

                                Hence, the egg cups are useless (to me).

                                1. re: Zengarden

                                  I put my husband's vitamins in the very cheery egg cup every morning

                                  1. re: Bugswife

                                    I like that idea. Also your husband is lucky and spoiled! How nice.

                                2. re: Candy

                                  if your truffle shavers are adjustable, they're great for creating paper thin Fennel, apples, parmaggiano reggiano, and pretty good for shaving toaste block of either the Taiwanese or the Italian Bottarga. No peelers can do that.

                                  1. re: HLing

                                    I enjoy the Rosle gourmet slicer for that purpose, so well-made and balanced in the hand. Dishwasher safe, sealed handles. Love Rosle everything. Just wish they wouldn't be making things in China lately. I do think some items are still made in Germany though. Their gourmet slicer is adjustable, has refill blades available, and has a very sharp blade. Perfect for truffles and things that you mentioned.

                                  2. re: Candy

                                    I use my egg cup every weekend to make my daughter "chucky egg & soldiers" an english classic, the above dish.. soft boiled egg, with slices 1/2 wide of heavily buttered bread .. untoasted in this house.
                                    I have always wondered about those double egg utensils! Thanks for the info!

                                    1. re: CookieGal

                                      I love egg and soldiers!!!! Still have them when I am feeling under the weather

                                      1. re: CookieGal

                                        I have an egg holder with 2 indentations but one of them clearly says 'NACL'. I got it at Ikea. Have not seen it there since.

                                      2. re: Candy

                                        Candy, i'm not getting the double egg cup use. How do you keep the contraption stable when the egg cup is sitting on one egg (which rolls around??) and holds another? And what are egg scissors?


                                      3. Cherry pitter. Used it once when I was mascerating cherries and peaches in some dark rum. Got all sorts of cherry juice squirted all over me. Besides, I prefer my cherries straight up, and not wasting any of it.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: slacker

                                          Never used mine for cherries, but very useful for pitting olives.

                                          1. re: wak

                                            I was gonna say, Williams-Sonoma does a great cherry pitter, but I also use it for olives.


                                            1. re: wak

                                              Yeah, I don't like to waste any of my olives either, and the pitter leaves a lot of fruit on the pit. Also like my olives straight up, and when cooking with them, just chew carefully.

                                            2. re: slacker

                                              The better models remove less flesh. Very useful for pie!

                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                  We had a couple of cherry trees back home, and used the pitters quite often. The worked great.

                                                2. re: slacker

                                                  You can use a paper clip to pit cherries! Works great, just partially unbend it.

                                                3. Funny you should mention egg cups- you don't know how many times I've almost posted "What else can you do with egg cups besides put an egg in it?!?" I don't have any, but I've always loved them and am not a huge egg fan. I still might get some someday... they're too cute! I can't help it!

                                                  I kind of like the garlic peeler if I'm peeling a bunch of cloves that have to be left whole, but I really don't use it all that often.

                                                  I think probably my most useless gadget is the food chopper, but that's just because I don't like to clean it!!

                                                  12 Replies
                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                    Oh I got rid of the chopper pronto. It never did work properly and even though I could throw it in the dishwasher it was just a PITA

                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                      oh i hate that stupid zyliss food chopper. i bought one after it was featured in the nyt about 6 or 7 years ago and it sure didn't last in my kitchen very long.

                                                      I also rue the day I got a set of silicone baking items -- loaf "pans," bundt "pan," etc. Totally useless.

                                                      1. re: litchick

                                                        oh those big silicone baking things just SUCK

                                                        but i like the little compartmentalized ones not for baking, but for making individual frozen desserts.

                                                        1. re: litchick

                                                          What was I thinking! I should have learned when my mom bought one 40 years ago! They were useless then and useless now! Did I learn? No, I bought one 5 years ago and was still useless.

                                                          1. re: kanosis

                                                            I got a square and loaf pan as a hand-me-down "You bake all the time, these are for you!" and they're WAY bigger than standard sized ones, so you can't find recipes that work for that volume. Biggest waste of cabinet space. Yet I can't bring myself to throw them out.

                                                      2. re: Katie Nell

                                                        I just saw in a magazine an idea using a bunch of vintage eggcups - they put sorbet in them all and then displayed them on a tiered cake stand - like a cupcake tower - it was precious and I'm going to try it.

                                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                                          I have a chopper (bang on the top variety) which is somewhat useless to me, but it's great when my 4 year old son wants to help in the kitchen. He can chop without me having to worry about his fingers or his proximity to knives. Our egg slicer is also good for kids chopping mushrooms.

                                                          1. re: kiwijen

                                                            That's true, no kids yet, so I hadn't thought of that! :-) Great idea!

                                                          2. re: Katie Nell

                                                            I love soft cooked eggs in my little egg cups eaten with my itty bitty spoons!

                                                            1. re: chef chicklet

                                                              Demitasse spoons are perfect for that.

                                                            2. re: Katie Nell

                                                              I use my food chopper all the time because I really loathe chopping onions. It's a pain to clean but I'd never cook if I didn't have it, so it's worth it. Mine is a Rosle.

                                                              1. re: silkenpaw

                                                                I have been a Rosle binge buyer for the last few years, and the chopper is one item I haven't tried (although I bought the one with the pull string a few weeks ago on clearance at WS). I assume you mean the one you push down on right? I read a review that it was terribly hard to push through, so I never really considered it. I want to know if it dices and chops useable squares or not. The spinning one does smaller cuts. It would be great to find a chopper that chops small but not too small and I am also always looking for a reason for one more Rosle gadget. I hope you are still around as I see your post is nearly a year old. Thanks.

                                                            3. I have a strict no-useless-gadgets policy. This has made me think about all the stuff in my kitchen. It is really all useful. Kinda cool. I did just get rid of some totally useless basting brushes from IKEA (round with some sort of "hair" bristle). Totally stiff and gross. Now I have a silicone one.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Procrastibaker

                                                                Although your Ikea ex-baster sounds disgusting, there are things for which a natural bristle baster works better than silicone. My ideal kitchen list includes a natural brush as well as silicone. In reality I have 3 silicone of various handle lengths and 2 natural bristle with various handle lengths. (Don't like getting burned in the oven or grill plus I am a gadget junkie). even has feather ones for thin liquids like egg washes plus a discussion on advantages to different types of basting brush materials. Natural bristles hold more but require different hand care for washing and sanitizing. Silicone can go in the dishwasher as can nylon but can melt in direct heat contact. Bakers use more natural bristles. I do not like wooden handled anything because of the extra care required. I still have them though.

                                                                1. re: riverwalk

                                                                  what do you mean by "direct heat contact" ? i'm just trying to figure out how bristles are superior to silicone vis-a-vis heat resistance.