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Gadget Graveyard...

fauchon Jan 3, 2007 03:57 PM

LOL...Here's a read-it-and-weep article from the Guardian....


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  1. Andiereid RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 04:02 PM

    Oh, god, AMEN to the wok thing! Mine's up in the attic, awaiting The Great Purge that is coming this month.

    1. m
      MobyRichard RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 04:06 PM

      Good Lord, he's been in my cupboards!!!!

      1. Candy RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 04:08 PM

        I have 3 woks and use them all. I can't imagine life with out woks!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Candy
          Andiereid RE: Candy Jan 3, 2007 04:08 PM

          I have a crappy electric stove and it just does NOT get hot enough to use a wok.

        2. r
          Rocknrope RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 04:16 PM

          Hilarious article. I saw Alton Brown use an outdoor turkey fryer ring and gas base setup for a wok, which seemed like a great idea to get that uberhot cooking fire. But then again, if you didn't use it often, then you would have TWO useless gadgets in your garage.

          1. Sam Fujisaka RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 05:19 PM

            Very funny! On the other hand I use my "Mexican" lime juicer (with double handles, two thick scoop-like heads at the hinge) and wooden implements daily. Now, about that plastic pineapple peeler and corer...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
              Zeldog RE: Sam Fujisaka Jan 3, 2007 07:30 PM

              Ditto on the lime juicer and wooden tools. And my tagine (the kind you cook in, not the fancy serving-only type) and even the mandoline get enough use to justify their existence. But that bulb baster and silly noodle cutter (it's like 6 pizza wheels on a single axle) have got to go.

              I guess they don't have Ronco in the UK. Otherwise they would have mentioned the infamous "Showtime" rotisserie. I was going to bring mine to the office and donate/abandon it, but someone beat me to it.

            2. n
              Nyleve RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 09:05 PM

              Hey - I like my pasta measuring thingy!

              1. RShea78 RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 09:24 PM

                LOL, what a riot!

                Favorite one of mine was the microwave egg poacher. (about 20 years ago)

                It doesn't poach eggs worth a darn, but it will make, Microwave Splattered Eggs Interior, ever so beautifully.


                1. s
                  Shazam RE: fauchon Jan 3, 2007 09:41 PM

                  Hmm, I use my cheapo mandoline regularly. It's great for making pizza toppings.

                  My ceramic garlic pot is on my counter full of garlic. It's the only thing I've found that keeps garlic properly.

                  I have some cheap Ginsu serrated bread knifes that I use to cut paper/cardboard packages open.

                  I threw away my bulb baster a little while ago in my great purge.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Shazam
                    lodgegirl RE: Shazam Jan 4, 2007 01:50 AM

                    what about those ridiculous adjustable cup- and spoon-measuring thingies? the ones that have the moveable "wall" to change from a cup to less? the ones where the stuff you're measuring always gets stuck underneath the little "wall?"
                    they take up a lot of space in my drawer; this thread has inspired me to gather them up and give them away-- to someone-- anyone!

                    1. re: lodgegirl
                      Shazam RE: lodgegirl Jan 4, 2007 02:15 AM

                      LOL, those things had disaster written all over them!

                      1. re: lodgegirl
                        foiegras RE: lodgegirl Jan 5, 2007 04:40 PM

                        Hey, I like my adjustable measuring spoons--they can go places my metal spoons can't. I find they work well for dry ingredients, it's with liquid that they're not so good. But I don't mind a bit extra vanilla if I have to use one of those because my metal ones are in the dishwasher ...

                    2. p
                      panoz RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 02:02 AM

                      He forgot to add those specialized chopper/mincers - the soft herb mincer, the press garlic chopper, the chocolate block choppers. That's nothing a good sharp knife couldn't handle.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: panoz
                        Shazam RE: panoz Jan 4, 2007 02:18 AM

                        I had a herb mill. It was absolutely useless. I think I left my brain at home when I bought it.

                        1. re: Shazam
                          panoz RE: Shazam Jan 4, 2007 02:56 AM

                          Exactly. That's what I was talking about. Not only is the herb mill a unitasker, the results were worse than what I could have done with a knife.

                          1. re: panoz
                            lodgegirl RE: panoz Jan 4, 2007 03:00 AM

                            funnily enough, I do value one specialized herb gadget given to me (which I initially scorned): a miniature salad spinner. It dries herbs perfectly and in seconds. love it.

                            1. re: lodgegirl
                              Shazam RE: lodgegirl Jan 5, 2007 02:56 AM

                              I love my small salad spinner as well.

                        2. re: panoz
                          Kelli2006 RE: panoz Jan 5, 2007 07:26 PM

                          I have always thought that a garlic press is a useless gadget. 30 seconds of knife work will yield the same results, and you don't have as much to clean up afterwords.

                          IMVHO, If it wasn't for mostly useless gadgets, Pampered Chef would not be in business.

                          1. re: Kelli2006
                            embee RE: Kelli2006 Jan 8, 2007 01:21 AM

                            I used to agree with this, but a Zyliss garlic press changed my mind. It's great.

                            1. re: embee
                              Beckyleach RE: embee May 13, 2010 09:17 AM

                              I thought they were useless till I lost my mind and bought the Rolls Royce of garlic presses--the Kuhn Rikon stainless steel--when it went "down" to $26 on Amazon, one day. You can put giant cloves, unpeeled in it! All the interior parts flip out for quick cleaning! It's beautiful! There's virtually no clove waste! We're pressing like mad around here, these days. :-)


                        3. revsharkie RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 02:48 AM

                          I have a little tiny box grater, I'm talking like three inches tall tiny. It was labeled "garlic grater." Of course I've never used it to grate garlic or anything else. I just thought it was cute.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: revsharkie
                            choctastic RE: revsharkie Jan 5, 2007 12:19 AM

                            i hve one of these actually. i bought it because i thought it was cute too. i use it to grate nutmeg and grate a small amount of lemon zest.

                            1. re: choctastic
                              moreana RE: choctastic May 18, 2010 07:00 PM

                              Good thing I never caved into them... they might make great Christmas tree ornaments though. I've seen Microplane make 2" size of their rasp that are perfect for grating the garlic, nutmeg and lemon zest.

                              1. re: moreana
                                kemen RE: moreana May 31, 2010 09:25 PM

                                Actually, funny story: I gave one of these extra-mini-box-graters to my parents for a Christmas joke one year and tied a ribbon loop to the top. Sure enough, it ended up on the tree. And when I was hunting around for it a couple of weeks after the holidays ended, it turned out that my Dad had packed it away with the rest of the Christmas ornaments. I can't say that anyone's actually used it to grate something yet...

                          2. l
                            lodgegirl RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 03:08 AM

                            what about those concave chopping blocks sometimes sold with mezzalunas (mezzalunae?)? anyone able to really make use of them? mine sits gathering dust (and, sadly, mildew during soggy long island summers)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lodgegirl
                              Beckyleach RE: lodgegirl May 13, 2010 09:18 AM

                              I used it for the first time in a year, recently...I can't remember what I was chopping, but it had roll away potential.

                            2. h
                              Hungry Celeste RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 08:36 PM

                              I bought a ridiculous plastic pineapple corer/cutter off the sale rack at Williams-Sonoma for $1.99. It is terrible...mangles/mashes up the pineapple and leaves 25% behind. Not even worth $1.99!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                MobyRichard RE: Hungry Celeste Jan 9, 2007 01:17 PM

                                Yes, but you actually found and bought something at W-S for a buck ninety-nine. That's historic.

                                1. re: MobyRichard
                                  Hungry Celeste RE: MobyRichard Jan 9, 2007 02:42 PM

                                  That's what motivated me to buy the damn thing!

                                  1. re: MobyRichard
                                    beachmouse RE: MobyRichard May 14, 2010 12:24 PM

                                    A few years back, our local W-S had a giant jar of Rosle peelers for $1.99 each that probably hadn't sold for $25 each because they were mislabeled as for left hand use. So we got one, and it's actually a really, really good peeler that gets used frequently.

                                2. mamaciita RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 08:59 PM

                                  The best laugh I've had in days.

                                  My mother is the you-need-garlic-gadgets lady. My husband's Christmas stocking is alwasy stuffed with some obscure cooking implement.

                                  1. Sam Fujisaka RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 09:51 PM

                                    HC, that's the pineapple thing I mentioned above. White and black plastic? We should get everyone who has one and feels the same way (utterly useless, what was I thinking?) to send us theirs. We could assemble a large sculpture.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka
                                      Hungry Celeste RE: Sam Fujisaka Jan 8, 2007 01:51 PM

                                      Yes, that's exactly it. I saw it on the sale table and thought "oh, it's just $1.99". A complete and utter waste of $1.99...two canned drinks from a vending machine would have been a better use of $2 than this piece of junk. Straight to the community thrift store!

                                    2. t
                                      Ted in Central NJ RE: fauchon Jan 4, 2007 10:02 PM

                                      I never owned one, but back in the '70s, Westinghouse marketed the "Baconer"--a countertop electric gadget about the size of a large toaster that could only cook bacon because of its quirky design. When Consumer Reports tested it, they noted that the amount of bacon grease that accumulated in the bottom of this thing could cause a fire after cooking a relatively small amount of bacon. Just what everyone needed--a space-grabbing one-use appliance that was also a fire hazard!

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: Ted in Central NJ
                                        RShea78 RE: Ted in Central NJ Jan 4, 2007 11:21 PM

                                        I needed a visual refresher on that one and did a google on it. To my suprise someone actually may have paid some good money for that contraption.


                                        1. re: Ted in Central NJ
                                          revsharkie RE: Ted in Central NJ Jan 5, 2007 02:33 PM

                                          Does anyone remember the little countertop contraption for cooking hot dogs that came out in the late 70s? It had these little metal points on either end and you impaled your hot dogs on them, and apparently it cooked them by passing electricity through them. The dogs would come out with a very strange flavor.

                                          (This was all pre-microwave, of course; my grandparents had the first microwave in our family and they quickly discovered that a hot dog could be cooked in like 15 seconds in one of those, and for awhile every time we went to their house they had to make hot dogs for us, till the novelty wore off for all concerned.)

                                          1. re: revsharkie
                                            Vexorg RE: revsharkie Jan 6, 2007 06:11 AM

                                            I don't remember that (before my time) but more recently, I've seen something called a Hot Diggity Dogger, which is basically a toaster for cooking hot dogs (it has slots for a couple of dogs and a couple of buns.) It seems like the type of thing that would be one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" type purchases that ends up taking way too much counter space.


                                            1. re: Vexorg
                                              al b. darned RE: Vexorg May 16, 2010 07:53 PM

                                              DW's family had one of these when she was a kid. She described it as. "an electric chair for hot dogs."

                                              1. re: al b. darned
                                                al b. darned RE: al b. darned May 17, 2010 01:29 PM

                                                OOPS!! Not one of these, but the Presto Hot Dogger with spikes on either end you stabbed the hot dogs with and then electrocuted them.

                                                1. re: al b. darned
                                                  flourgirl RE: al b. darned May 17, 2010 03:57 PM

                                                  OMG! A torture chamber for hotdogs! How bizarre! ;)

                                            2. re: revsharkie
                                              Ted in Central NJ RE: revsharkie Jan 7, 2007 03:54 PM

                                              Yes, I do remember that contraption, and I also remember its "commercial predecessor"! Back in the late '50s (or perhaps in the first couple of years of the '60s) there large automated vending machines that dispensed hot dogs that were cooked in the exact same way.

                                              I can remember being with my mother in Penn Station (NY) where they had one of these machines. Being a virtual eating machine at that time of my life, I was hungry, and I wanted to eat one of these high-tech hot dogs. My mother was very skeptical, but after some urging (whining) from me, she finally gave me the money (.25??) to put in the machine.

                                              The instructions told the customer to wait for a couple of minutes while the hot dog was cooked by electrical conduction, and it also mentioned the necessity of removing the metal electrodes that would be found in each end of the hot dog!

                                              Well, eventually the thing was dispensed, and it was only vaguely warmed, with one small patch that was still partially frozen. Probably the cooking cycle length was not sufficient to heat the hot dog from its frozen state. Also, the metal electrodes that needed to be removed were not that large or that noticeable (they resembled a small old-fashioned lancet, actually) and the scenario of someone scarfing down one of those hot dogs without having removed the electrode is a very real possibility.

                                              Whether they failed because of a lack of repeat customers or whether law suits from choking customers did them in, I am not sure. But I can tell you that those machines were not around for very long.

                                              1. re: Ted in Central NJ
                                                revsharkie RE: Ted in Central NJ Jan 7, 2007 11:04 PM

                                                This one didn't have removable electrodes; they were quite firmly attached to the machine and didn't come off in the hot dogs. And it definitely heated them up, to the point of splitting them. But the dogs cooked on them had a strange flavor, which I suspect might be the reason they didn't last long.

                                              2. re: revsharkie
                                                Beckyleach RE: revsharkie May 13, 2010 09:21 AM

                                                Are you sure it was the LATE '70's? I remember having to babysit when I was 15 (thus 1971) at a house where the kids were running amok with that damned thing, leaving pieces of hot dog smashed all over the kitchen counters and floor. They stank, too, from being cooked so weirdly and then dried out and desiccated. Yuck. That, the screaming little boys and the baby who wouldn't stop crying--finally had to call my mother in desperation--all left a lifetime of trauma.

                                                1. re: Beckyleach
                                                  flourgirl RE: Beckyleach May 13, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                  Becky, it's posts like this that make me glad my mom discouraged me from babysitting much when I was a teen. ;)

                                            3. c
                                              cheryl_h RE: fauchon Jan 5, 2007 09:18 PM

                                              My entire kitchen could be the gadget graveyard. Does anyone have the metal spiked doodad that is supposed to speed up baking potatoes? I think I have several of those. And a lethal blade that's meant for shaving kernels off a corn cob. A chef's knife is much safer and more efficient but I'm hanging onto the widget. I have a dumpling press someone gave me after I made her fold dumplings with me for a Chinese New Year party. I would never use it, it doesn't crimp the way I like the dumplings to look but it's in a cupboard.

                                              OTOH I use my woks almost every day and can't imagine being without them. And the bulb baster is used regularly, not for basting but for suctioning greasy juices out of roasting pans. I'm keeping the bamboo scourer I never use to clean the wok because my mother bought it for me.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: cheryl_h
                                                toodie jane RE: cheryl_h Jan 6, 2007 08:49 PM

                                                bulb basters are great for syphoning out the last of the water in the Christams tree stand before hauling out the tree!

                                              2. m
                                                MobyRichard RE: fauchon Jan 9, 2007 01:22 PM

                                                True confession: Last week I sent a possibly useless gadget to a childhood friend. While I was visiting her and her husband in November she mentioned to me that she's afraid of using knives (this after I grumbled that her knives weren't very sharp). So I saw this thing on television that works like a scissors but has one oblong blade and where there would normally be a bottom blade there's a platform that acts as a cutting board. It's supposed be good for chopping things like celery, carrots, garlic and even onion. She hasn't gotten back to me yet as to how it works.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MobyRichard
                                                  Rocknrope RE: MobyRichard Jan 9, 2007 05:55 PM

                                                  My goodness, did you get her the Vidalia Chop Wizard???


                                                  I'd love to hear if this gadget isn't a piece of cr@p.

                                                2. cuccubear RE: fauchon May 13, 2010 06:18 AM

                                                  Egg troubles?…No problem, get yourself a handy-dandy EZ-CRACKER!
                                                  Cracks, peels and/or separates in seconds!
                                                  And if you act right NOW – we’ll give you an in-shell egg scrambler – FREE!!!


                                                  This ridiculous “gadget” is definitely destined for the graveyard…Anyone have any experience with this thing? The commercial is hilarious!

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: cuccubear
                                                    clamscasino RE: cuccubear May 13, 2010 06:59 AM

                                                    We saw the commercial on TV about a month ago. Hilarious. Cracked us up. It almost deserves its own thread....

                                                    1. re: clamscasino
                                                      breadchick RE: clamscasino May 14, 2010 04:39 PM

                                                      Makes me think of that funny moment in the Bridget Jones's movie where her mother is demo-ing an egg contraption. Looked a bit racy - haha.

                                                    2. re: cuccubear
                                                      Daederik RE: cuccubear May 13, 2010 07:27 AM

                                                      Heh heh, on a weekly Video Webcast that some friends and I do we went over informercial products, and this was one of them. I was in tears because I was laughing so hard at the commercial. My particular favourite was when this woman (always a woman) tried cracking an egg into a heated skillet, and pretty much just missed the skillet entirely and smashed the egg on her stovetop. Fantastic!

                                                      I actually bought a "Slap-chop" like device a while ago before I learned how to properly use my knives. Used the bloody thing once, and it's been sitting in storage ever since (Will probably never see daylight again).

                                                      1. re: cuccubear
                                                        flourgirl RE: cuccubear May 13, 2010 08:22 AM

                                                        ahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! I am SO glad you posted this!!! Isn't this hilarious?!?

                                                        And the "in-shell scrambler" bonus!!! ahahahahahahahahaha!!!

                                                        "My particular favourite was when this woman (always a woman) tried cracking an egg into a heated skillet, and pretty much just missed the skillet entirely and smashed the egg on her stovetop."

                                                        LMAO!!! Yes, I OFTEN had trouble actually getting the egg IN the skillet and found myself wishing desperately for just such a gadget to fix this problem. Now I've bought these for all my friends too!!!


                                                      2. b
                                                        Beckyleach RE: fauchon May 13, 2010 09:28 AM

                                                        Oh, have to disagree with the mandoline. Yeah, I threw away plenty of cheap imitations (anybody ever fall for a "combi chef") but when I finally bit the bullet and bought a REAL one (admittedly, still a lower-class, imitation French one--MIU--that I got off of Ebay for a completely painless $28 bucks!) made out of stainless steel, with a blade change dial and a really, really trustworthy hand guard. Now, I'm using it a lot! The onions I sliced beautifully thin (exactly 1/8 of an inch, mind you!) for onion soup the other night were a joy to behold.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Beckyleach
                                                          moreana RE: Beckyleach May 18, 2010 07:07 PM

                                                          Mandolins can be useful. I use them when I do need those specific consistent cuts... such as for strips of cucumbers to make circles to hold salads (when my friends and I are up to cooking for our 5-course dinner nights). I still bear the scars on the knuckle of my thumb when it did slice me. I've learned that the 'teeth' that make the juillenes are much avoided... they create too much friction while trying to push carrots through. So when I finally got through the part that was giving it trouble, the rest of the carrot slipped through quickly followed by the knuckle of my thumb which was down too low. :(

                                                        2. t
                                                          tonka11_99 RE: fauchon May 14, 2010 08:22 AM

                                                          I think I know the quintessential useless kitchen gadget... the smores maker.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: tonka11_99
                                                            coney with everything RE: tonka11_99 May 17, 2010 05:17 AM

                                                            or the quesadilla maker!

                                                            1. re: coney with everything
                                                              tonka11_99 RE: coney with everything May 17, 2010 08:19 AM

                                                              Yeah, that's a close race.

                                                          2. m
                                                            moreana RE: fauchon May 18, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                            Most of these listed are pretty useless.

                                                            I disagree with the Juicer... most juicers are garbage. My Breville one is great because it isn't so painful to clean. I do use it about once a week (when I've realized i hadn't had enough vegetables from the week prior ;)).

                                                            The hand cranking pasta maker is garbage. When I got my Kitchenaid attachment, I fell in love. I always though i needed a third-arm when using the pasta machine. My standmixer stepped in and became the third arm.

                                                            Woks in general... I feel are better served by a large frying pan. Which comes to addressing that paella pan are useless. The $20 cheap ones are probably indeed useless and you could make paella in a suitably large frying pan. However I'm planning on buying a 13" All-Clad "Paella" Pan because I don't want a handle on my frying pan. It screws up the centering of the pan in the oven when I transfer it to finish cooking or roasting. (I'm too weak to flip a 13" pan normally anyway - 8" is alright).

                                                            1. Antilope RE: fauchon May 19, 2010 10:52 AM

                                                              Tupperware. My wife had pieces of Tupperware that her mother bought in the 1960's that lurked in the back of our cupboards for 25-years and were never used. Then there were the orphan Tupperware lids or container bottoms missing a mate. Those also sat around for years. I finally convinced her to part with most of it. The stuff is always greasy and retains smells even fresh out of the dishwasher. Thank God for the Goodwill collection bins. We now use the disposable Gladware stuff.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Antilope
                                                                JerryMe RE: Antilope Jun 10, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                                Antilope - I still have some Tupperware! With matching lid and they've performed better in the frig and dishwasher than the Gladware stuff. Wow! Have never had a problem w/ odor or grease, but I have managed to stain the Gladware. Admittedly, Gladware is a whole lot cheaper than Tupperware and you're not required to go to a party to get them.

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