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What is your useless kitchen gadget?

mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 09:05 AM

I have a stick blender which my pal strongly recommended, but used only a couple of times.
I have a blender and food processor, so they cover everything I need to to in the kitchen. I spent maybe around $70. I have to say that I wasted my money.

What is yours?

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  1. pitu RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 09:10 AM

    Several little plastic dumpling presses. They are cute, but so unnecessary since you can do the same thing by hand.

    On the other hand, I gave away my stand blender, because I *love* the stick blender.
    I'm forever mulling over the stand mixer purchase....

    17 Replies
    1. re: pitu
      mayuchico RE: pitu Mar 1, 2008 10:21 AM

      I am curious. When and how do you use the stick blender?

      1. re: mayuchico
        OCEllen RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 11:14 AM

        They are great for making bearnaise and hollandaise sauces. Easier than a whisk.

        1. re: OCEllen
          diablo RE: OCEllen Mar 1, 2008 03:12 PM

          I use mine to puree soups. Easier than transferring to a blender and less mess, since I usually don't blend hot liquids well and end up spewing it all over my kitchen.

          My "useless" kitchen gadgets have got to be the cookie cutters that have been floating around in my catch-all drawer for the past five years with nary one use. I'm sure I must have been in my Martha Stewart mode when I bought them. It happens sometimes and it's never "a good thing".

          1. re: diablo
            OCEllen RE: diablo Mar 1, 2008 05:09 PM

            Cookie cutters, indeed! Used once in a Christmas cookie frenzy and never again!
            I've used my 'blender' for soup...once?

          2. re: OCEllen
            LabRat RE: OCEllen Mar 6, 2008 10:52 AM

            For all you Marcel fans out there, stick blenders are a good way to make foams.

          3. re: mayuchico
            CindyJ RE: mayuchico Mar 2, 2008 01:46 PM

            I also use mine to puree soups. It's so much easier and far less messy to bring the blender to the soup than to puree the hot soup in batches in the blender.

            Another use for the stick blender -- to prepare instant, no-cook pudding. Pour the milk into a 1-qt. measuring cup, add the pudding mix, give it a whirrrrrrr of the stick blender, and pour it into serving cups.

            By the way, my stick blender was the cheapie, no-frills model -- maybe $20 at BB&B. I didn't want to invest big bucks in one until I was sure I'd use it. But it does a great job and has held up well for several years now.

            My useless "gadgets" -- a set of garnishing tools for vegetables. They can be used for making potato spirals, carrot curley-things, radish roses, etc. What a space-waster!

            1. re: CindyJ
              currymouth RE: CindyJ Mar 2, 2008 01:59 PM

              I have already burned one out and now on my second, I try not to spend too much. 1'st was a Braun, $19.99 AT Macy's. and 2'nd is a Kitchen Aid $24.99 on sale at the WS outlet in Woodbury Commons in upstate NY. I use it all the time to puree soups, stocks, and blender drinks in smaller quantities. It has proved to be quite handy and not at all "A useless kitchen gadget".

            2. re: mayuchico
              LadyCook61 RE: mayuchico Mar 2, 2008 05:13 PM

              I used mine with the whisk attachment for whisking eggs , pudding. Also used the blender attachment for pureed cat food.

              1. re: LadyCook61
                currymouth RE: LadyCook61 Mar 2, 2008 05:17 PM

                My blender attachment either sucks or I can't seem to figure out how to use it.

              2. re: mayuchico
                nofunlatte RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 05:54 AM

                I use mine to puree chickpeas for hummus, to puree soups, smoothies and the like. Mine is actually an attachment to my handheld mixer (it also has a chopper/processor thingy and dough hooks). It's a Braun. I had a no-frills Braun stick blender for about a dozen years before it bit the dust. I don't always use it, but when I do, it's perfect for the task at hand. Easier to clean than my stand blender,too.

                1. re: nofunlatte
                  goodhealthgourmet RE: nofunlatte Mar 6, 2008 08:59 AM

                  that reminds me....i'd pay MORE than 20 bucks if i could find a gadget for skinning chickpeas. a tamis just takes up to much kitchen storage space, a food mill doesn't do the trick, and when i'm making a huge batch of hummus that requires a ton of garbanzos, i have cramped "claw-fingers" by the time i'm finished peeling them all.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    currymouth RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 6, 2008 10:39 AM

                    I had the same problem.now I invite my 2 nieces over for dinner and they do it as well as wash the dog. You have to use every resorce availible

                2. re: mayuchico
                  Miss Needle RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 11:48 AM

                  I find the stick blender invaluable. As others have said, great for pureeing soups (I have soups quite often) and for making aioli.

                  1. re: mayuchico
                    AndyP RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 12:00 PM

                    Hey Mayuchico-san,

                    Another great use for a stick blender is to make a vinaigrette that stays emulified. No more separation of oil and the rest of the ingredients. And if you are adding shallots, onions, garlic, herbs, etc. just fold them in after blending the oil and vinegar. Also fantastic for mayonnaise, and as Miss Needle attested to, aoli.


                    1. re: mayuchico
                      Jimbosox04 RE: mayuchico Mar 13, 2008 10:25 AM

                      I would love to have that stick blender for frothing my milk in my latte's

                      1. re: mayuchico
                        pitu RE: mayuchico Mar 20, 2008 11:59 AM

                        question already well answered but
                        I think I like the stick blender so much for anything hot because I'm one of those impatient people who periodically create volcanos using a blender

                        also, dislike doing any more washing up than I have to, so blending *in situ* is perfect for me

                        1. re: mayuchico
                          lpfaf RE: mayuchico Mar 21, 2008 12:55 AM

                          I use the stick blender a few times a year to make soup (usually squash soup, though sometimes some sort of veggie-cream soup or bean soup). These are things I'd never make if I had to transfer some or all of it to a blender. I also use the stick blender when I make my I'm-not-a-vegetarian-it's-just-so-good tofu chocolate mousse. For 9.99 at (I hate to admit it, but I was living in the middle of nowhere) WalMart, it was totally worth it, especially since it takes up all of four square inches of cupboard space, when stood upright. And Andy, your vinaigrette use sounds awesome.

                          The purchase I'm having trouble justifying is the set of cast-iron skillets, because for the few times I need to transfer a skillet to the oven, I don't use them often enough to keep them adequately seasoned.

                      2. t
                        Tay RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 09:31 AM

                        Not gadgets so much, but all those hugely expensive 'gourmet' brand 2 ton pots/pans I have purchased. They are so heavy even before actuall food is added!. Once that occurs, it's just one meal closer to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!. Shows the power of good marketing techniques on , (In my case, the usually independent minded) comsumer. They make you feel as though you cannot be a "true Chef" w/o them...
                        What foolishness and what a colossal waste of money! I now use my Mom's pots and pans. They were perfect then and they're perfect now.

                        1. z
                          ziggylu RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 01:22 PM

                          I'll probably be in the minority on this but the potato ricer. I dont' know why I ever bought it...I've been happily mashing with a masher for years but there it was all pretty and shiny...and not cheap. I've used it twice...it takes up so much space in the drawer and I prefer reaching for the easy to use, easy to clean masher...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ziggylu
                            flourgirl RE: ziggylu Mar 6, 2008 05:13 AM

                            Actually, I had the same experience. I'm glad I didn't throw away my masher when I bought the ricer (which I almost did - the masher was actually hovering over the garbage can and I pulled back at the last second.:))

                            1. re: ziggylu
                              Miss Needle RE: ziggylu Mar 6, 2008 11:49 AM

                              I actually like my ricer. I find myself using the masher more often because it's easier. But the texture you get from the ricer is so much better than the ricer that I find myself using less butter and dairy.

                            2. j
                              jeanmarieok RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 01:24 PM

                              I have a curly fry potato maker - it works pretty well, but I never use it. I also have a stack of bake potato spikes someone gave me as a gift.

                              1. s
                                sueatmo RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 02:47 PM

                                As a stocking stuffer for this past Christmas I rec'd. one of those can openers that cuts the can below the edge on the side. This is supposed to be safer. I couldn't figure out how to use it. Besides my present can opener is just fine.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sueatmo
                                  CindyJ RE: sueatmo Mar 2, 2008 01:52 PM

                                  I've got one of those openers, too. It's always fun hand the opener to guests who are hanging out in the kitchen when I'm cooking, and ask them to open a can. No one has been able to figure it out. BUT -- I know how to use it (it DID come with directions), and I love it! One nice thing is that the food in the can never touches the opener, so it never gets gunked up like other can openers do.

                                  1. re: CindyJ
                                    maplesugar RE: CindyJ Mar 5, 2008 12:20 PM

                                    I have one of those too from Pampered Chef and I love it! hehe I don't love having to teach Mom how to open cans each time she comes to visit (cross country) but I love that the edges on both the can and the lid are smooth... makes the job of recycling the tins a lot easier.

                                    The most useless thing I have taking up valuable kitchen cupboard real estate is a monkey bread pan. Made monkey bread once right after I bought the pan, t-h-r-e-e years ago.

                                2. soypower RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 02:59 PM

                                  we have two rotisserie machines that we have never ever used...okay, i think we may have used the first one once, but all we've had are intentions to use our showtime rotisserie...darn that ron popeil and his infomercials...

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: soypower
                                    flourgirl RE: soypower Mar 6, 2008 05:16 AM

                                    My mom bought us on of those popiel rotisseries. We also used it once. Now it sits on a shelf in the garage...

                                    1. re: soypower
                                      fern RE: soypower Mar 6, 2008 05:32 AM

                                      Oh gosh, I have to say those rotisserie machines always intrigue me! I want one but have to wait to find a used one at Goodwill or something. Can't justify the expense as we don't need it and it's not top on my list, but I really do wnat to get one someday. It may end up on a basement shelf, too, but I'd like to find out!

                                    2. c
                                      currymouth RE: mayuchico Mar 1, 2008 03:19 PM

                                      Garlic press. Totally unnecessary. Flat surface, a knife, and coarse salt to make a paste.I don't even know what came over me. Oh yes I do......... It was soooooo Shiny.

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: currymouth
                                        bakeman RE: currymouth Mar 1, 2008 06:08 PM

                                        I can't say that a garlic press is a bad thing especially since what you described involves a cutting board, salt and a knife for something that a good press (mine is a Zyliss Suzi) can do in the blink of an eye without peeling. A quick rinse is all it takes to clean.


                                        1. re: bakeman
                                          currymouth RE: bakeman Mar 1, 2008 06:32 PM

                                          I will keep using the knife, the flat surface { cutting board } as well as the salt all through the prep , but the garlic press , in my mind a one trick pony. But it is still a thing of beauty.

                                        2. re: currymouth
                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: currymouth Mar 1, 2008 07:39 PM

                                          i'm with currymouth. i can't stand the garlic press. half the garlic gets stuck in there anyway, and forget any time you may have saved by "pressing" the garlic - you waste even more trying to clean the darn thing after you use it.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                            currymouth RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2008 07:45 PM


                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                              bakeman RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 5, 2008 01:24 PM

                                              You haven't used the right garlic press then. The Zyliss Suzi is awesome, no garlic left behind, just the peel, I am not sure how it accomplishes this but it does. Cleanup involves just a quick rinse, if there is any garlic in the holes a quick brush with a dish brush solves that.

                                              I was also anti-garlic press after my previous two, I figured that they were all useless until someone recommended this one.

                                            2. re: currymouth
                                              easily amused RE: currymouth Mar 1, 2008 08:04 PM

                                              No one needs added salt !
                                              If you have the right press, it's done in a flash.
                                              I used to swear by my knife and board until a purchased a garlic press from Ikea, simply marvelous!!

                                              1. re: easily amused
                                                currymouth RE: easily amused Mar 2, 2008 11:03 AM

                                                I always adjust the salt to take into account what little I use to make garlic paste. and I too am the Proud owner of a Ikea garlic press. But it still seems like a one trick pony to me. But how about the Ikea Silicone spatulas. got to have them.

                                                1. re: currymouth
                                                  easily amused RE: currymouth Mar 2, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                  Garlic press..."One trick Pony"

                                                  Certainly it won't sweep the floors or grind the coffee beans but as a specialty item it's a winner (especially with all the garlic I tend to use!)

                                                  Interesting to hear about the Ikea spatulas, I will have to check them out.

                                                  1. re: easily amused
                                                    currymouth RE: easily amused Mar 2, 2008 01:45 PM

                                                    Let's agree to disagree. Shall we? Ikea has a line of brushed stainless tongs,spatulas,spreaders where the working ends are silicone.Even had to send a set to my sister in law in Norway. Their Ikea's do not carry the line. check it out. about $5.00 each.

                                            3. dani_k RE: mayuchico Mar 5, 2008 02:57 PM

                                              a friend gave me this garlic chopper thing... http://www.cookmatesouthwest.co.uk/ac...

                                              sure, it chops up lots of garlic... but i could have it chopped better in less time than it takes to extract all the garlic OUT of the blades on this thing. for some reason, my husband likes to use it, though.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: dani_k
                                                AndyP RE: dani_k Mar 6, 2008 12:12 PM

                                                Hey dani k,

                                                How funny. My mother got me the Pampered Chef's version, (about 2/3 the size of the one pictured on your link), and I just love that stupid thing. When I was first using it, I too experienced the frustration of garlic sticking between the teeth, until I realized that I was overloading it. Now, two cloves on each side, and it is just brilliant.


                                              2. s
                                                swsidejim RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 05:18 AM

                                                #1 Crock pot, I break it out maybe once or twice a year to use it to keep items warm for my annual bbq, or my Super Bowl Party. I am not a fan of cock pot cookery so a buffet warming dish is all it is good for in my house.

                                                #2 Juicer, I again use it a couple of times a year to make some marinades.

                                                The crok pot is stashed in the basement, and the juicer wastes space in a cupboard.

                                                1. f
                                                  fern RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 05:25 AM

                                                  Just this week I received a solicitation from a cookbook "club", you know, the ones that you pay for the privildege of receiving what they're selling every month or so. They included a free gift. It's one of those plastic pasta measures, holes in various sizes based on servings needed. Maybe I'm wrong but I cannot imagine pulling that out and measuring out the pasta when my eyeball, definitely *not* a one trick pony, works well enough for me.

                                                  But I do love my stick blender for soups and sauces or even eggs when I want lots of them well-beaten in a hurry.

                                                  1. nofunlatte RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 05:58 AM

                                                    I had a pair of silicone ice cube trays that made ice cubes in perfect squares. Very chic, very sexy ice cubes. And very difficult to get out of the trays. I think the flexibility of them made it hard for me to use, so they were left in the cabinets. I guess I need something more rigid.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: nofunlatte
                                                      pitu RE: nofunlatte Mar 20, 2008 11:55 AM

                                                      Rubbery novelty ice trays SUCK. Those are the worst things I ever bought at IKEA, and a useless kitchen gadget that I actually hated enough to get rid of.....

                                                    2. l
                                                      LabRat RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 11:04 AM

                                                      II believe I mentioned this in another thread, but mine is an onion blossom cutter. Allows me to have all the magic of a Chili's Awesome Blossom or Outback Steakhouse Bloomin Onion in my VERY OWN KITCHEN! (I get chest pains just thinking about it) I received three of these one Christmas. Either someone had a sale or my friends and family all got together and decided that my arteries weren't clogged enough.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: LabRat
                                                        Cheflambo RE: LabRat Mar 6, 2008 11:28 AM

                                                        Re: blooming onion maker: I have an apple slicer that would do the same job. I think the apples are a little better for you.

                                                        I also have one of those immersion blenders (Braun, I think) and it came with a bowl and blade attachement that works VERY well as a small food processor when I dont want to haul out the 20 lb. Cuisinart. I dont think I've ever used it to puree soup, but I know when my cat was sick and I had to make small batches of special food for him, this was VERY useful. I can also chop up a handfull of garlic, or a few tablespoons of fresh ginger in a flash.

                                                        Fern and I are on the same mailing list. Ive got several of those pasta measure things. Does anyone who ISNT on weight watchers use this? I've given away several and they just keep coming.

                                                        I also love my garlic press. Yes, its a bit of a hassle to clean, but it keeps the garlic smell off my hands and chopping board. I have the zyliss, (had an Oxo and broke it within the first 3 months of use) and just throw it in the top rack of the dishwasher. Everything in my kitchen can (and does) go into the d/w.

                                                        Most useless thing in my kitchen? The guy who lives here who keeps rearranging the contents of the fridge and pantry. But I'll save that rant for another thread.

                                                      2. cremebrulee RE: mayuchico Mar 6, 2008 11:28 AM

                                                        The little egg poaching gadgets that always promise to make the egg poaching process easy but, they never work and end up making the process more complicated. I have like, three different kinds and I don't use any of them because they suck! :(
                                                        Oh well.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: cremebrulee
                                                          Miss Needle RE: cremebrulee Mar 6, 2008 11:47 AM

                                                          Oh, I got those as well. Total waste of money and space. In addition to having trouble getting the eggs out, the poached eggs don't taste quite right.

                                                        2. MplsM ary RE: mayuchico Mar 7, 2008 01:47 AM

                                                          A Matfer 100% stainless mandoline. My mom bought it for me years ago and we couldn't wait to play with it. Damn thing was (and remains) so dull it doesn't even slice onions. It was wretchedly expensive and I professed an undying love for the darn thing so as not to hurt my mom's feelings. Which I know was silly. Since she passed away I couldn't bring myself to part with my folly.

                                                          I have another slicer, a plastic Mouli from the seventies that works like a charm so I've no reason to hang onto the mandoline.

                                                          I've just now dug it out of a drawer to add to my charity basket.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: MplsM ary
                                                            currymouth RE: MplsM ary Mar 9, 2008 12:23 AM

                                                            I believe it was refered to in another thread as, and I quote." That instrament of torture" I also had to have one, I seemed to have a thing about shiny objects, and now it resides as far up on the pantry shelf as my wife can reach, so as not to contribute to the massive amount of funds spent on Band aids by her husband in his never ending quest for that perfectly cut French fry. I have pretty good knife skills but this device gets me everytime, but it's to pretty to give away.

                                                          2. c
                                                            ccoffeegod RE: mayuchico Mar 11, 2008 07:45 PM

                                                            A hands free pot stirrer. Its a motor with legs that sits on top of a pot and rotates a beater blade condinously. I bought it for my mom several years ago, she used it once and "regifted" it. I have had it for a couple of years now used it once to stir a cream soup that still burned. I think it is my sisters turn this year....

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: ccoffeegod
                                                              Caroline1 RE: ccoffeegod Mar 11, 2008 10:23 PM

                                                              I have one too and love it! Never burned anything with it though. The thing I like most is it allows me to make a risotto while cooking somehting else so I can have everything ready at the same time. Yeah, I'm one of those compulsives who was taught to stir a risotto the whole time you're cooking it and who's too chicken not to. FREEDOM...!! '-)

                                                            2. Caroline1 RE: mayuchico Mar 11, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                              The most hands-down-absolutely-useless kitchen gadget I own is a strange little plastic device that will mold a hot hard boiled egg into a cube, and when cooled in the cube, the hard boiled egg will remain a cube. Absolutey useless! However, it gives me a strange sense of power and kitchen-completeness just knowing I can create a square hard boiled egg any time I feel like it.

                                                              Hey, Easter is coming...!

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                currymouth RE: Caroline1 Mar 12, 2008 04:33 AM

                                                                That is cool . Where do I get one?

                                                                1. re: currymouth
                                                                  goodhealthgourmet RE: currymouth Mar 12, 2008 09:14 AM

                                                                  i know it's crazy, but i almost want one too! i could never justify paying to have it shipped, but if i ever find one in a store i'm all over it...


                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                    Caroline1 RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 12, 2008 10:32 AM

                                                                    For you and currymouth, I'm almost certain I got mine at WalMart, but you have to spend a long time lookiung over everything in the gadget aisle. I do know I did not get it through the mail. Mine has to be over a decade old.

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                                                      flourgirl RE: Caroline1 Mar 12, 2008 11:12 AM

                                                                      Here's a link to the eggcuber "as seen on Rachel Ray's TV show"...


                                                                      1. re: Caroline1
                                                                        goodhealthgourmet RE: Caroline1 Mar 12, 2008 04:16 PM

                                                                        well, i'm president of the anti- wal-mart brigade, so it looks like it's either mail order or life without an egg cuber for me.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                          pitu RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 20, 2008 12:01 PM

                                                                          goodhealthgourmet, i support your decision
                                                                          : )

                                                                  2. re: Caroline1
                                                                    soypower RE: Caroline1 Mar 13, 2008 02:39 PM

                                                                    i've sooo wanted to get my hands on some boiled egg molds after i saw this page:


                                                                    she uses williams sonoma ice cream molds for boiled eggs and onigiri too...so cool.

                                                                  3. phofiend RE: mayuchico Mar 12, 2008 06:11 AM

                                                                    I knew it was a mistake at the time, but I bought the "garlic claw" anyway.


                                                                    It peels the garlic just fine, but generates so much force that the cloves shoot across the room. You could put an eye out. It is no longer available from Amazon, and with good reason. Maybe the lawsuits put them out of business.

                                                                    I keep it in the drawer and look at it now and then to keep me from buying yet another useless gadget.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: phofiend
                                                                      flourgirl RE: phofiend Mar 12, 2008 06:16 AM

                                                                      Funny. I, for one, would love to see someone create a "Useless Kitchen Gadget Museum".

                                                                      1. re: flourgirl
                                                                        goodhealthgourmet RE: flourgirl Mar 12, 2008 09:18 AM

                                                                        there would have to be a designated wall for useless recipes too...


                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                          flourgirl RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 12, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                          Hee hee. That too.

                                                                        2. re: flourgirl
                                                                          currymouth RE: flourgirl Mar 12, 2008 11:08 AM

                                                                          Next to Moma and Natural History, The useless Kitchen Gadget Museum would on my list of favorites. You can have the Ron Popeil wing, the Pampered Chef attraction, The hall of Garlic Gadgets. The Ginsu Cafe.You might have quite a attraction there.

                                                                          1. re: currymouth
                                                                            pitu RE: currymouth Mar 20, 2008 12:02 PM

                                                                            and at every other display, you'd have someone saying

                                                                            1. re: currymouth
                                                                              flourgirl RE: currymouth Mar 20, 2008 01:14 PM

                                                                              "The Ron Popeil Wing" "The Hall of Garlic Gadgets" Hilarious. There could be a whole section devoted to gadgets advertised on late night television. That tube shaped thingy that's supposed to "perfectly cook spaghetti every time" springs to mind. Oh wait I remember - it was called Pasta Express....

                                                                              1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                currymouth RE: flourgirl Mar 21, 2008 07:41 AM

                                                                                That's a new one , just caught it the other day, and I must confess ,i was , just for a moment considering buying one. I am such a sucker for those pitches. Have you seen the one called "Shamwow" made in Germany. Eliminates paper towels, Picks up 10.000 times it's weight in liquid, cures the common cold, and colic? Another fine example for your museum.

                                                                        3. c
                                                                          chuckl RE: mayuchico Mar 12, 2008 12:46 PM

                                                                          i didn't spend that much, but i have a thermometer for my oven that tells me how hot it is, even though the red light on the front does the same thing. what was i thinking?

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: chuckl
                                                                            goodhealthgourmet RE: chuckl Mar 12, 2008 04:19 PM

                                                                            actually, i'll defend that one. every oven has hot spots, and some built-in thermometers aren't entirely accurate. uneven heating and/or inaccurate temp can wreak havoc on some recipes.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                              flourgirl RE: goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2008 04:18 AM

                                                                              Yes, I own an oven therm. for precisely that reason. I check my oven's temp. periodically to make sure it's calibrated correctly.

                                                                          2. tim irvine RE: mayuchico Mar 13, 2008 09:45 PM

                                                                            Candidates for most useless would include a tortilla press (use a rolling pin) and the ravioli attachment to my hand crank pasta maker...it just seems easier to roll two sheets and use a little stamp type cutter or even a pastry wheel. Also that cool looking little doublebladed mezzaluna. The knife is faster and takes 1/10 as long to clean. I have a little potsticker plastic mould that I snagged at World Market because it was cute and only a buck but I have no idea if it useless because it is still in its plastic. (Just because you don't use it doesn't means it's useless, does it?!?)

                                                                            1. a
                                                                              amazinc RE: mayuchico Mar 16, 2008 05:54 AM

                                                                              For a mere $50, I bought a "toaster, poacher, heater-upper" to make Eggs McMuffins at home. Not only that, I bought one for each niece and nephew. Horrid. The eggs could have been used in any National Hockey League game...the muffin took about 12 minutes to toast and the framas to fit over the poacher to heat the slice of Canadian bacon fell off and broke on my tile floor. After the first use, mine went into a garage sale for our volunteer fire dept. Lord only know what the nieces and nephews did with theirs. They CAN"T be using it!!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: amazinc
                                                                                Caroline1 RE: amazinc Mar 16, 2008 08:31 AM

                                                                                Bless your heart! Sometimes Alton Brown just doesn't have a clue to what he's talking about when he rages against single use appliances.

                                                                              2. e
                                                                                Erika L RE: mayuchico Mar 16, 2008 09:07 PM

                                                                                Anyone remember those Donvier ice cream makers? The inner liner took up space in your freezer, and the outer plastic holder, along with the lid and the paddle thing and the crank, clogged up the cabinet. I think I used mine twice before the novelty wore off.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Erika L
                                                                                  flourgirl RE: Erika L Mar 17, 2008 08:44 AM

                                                                                  I had one of those and I loved it - it actually worked pretty good. I just upgraded to a 2 quart Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker (which also has an inner cannister which I keep in the freezer.) I think the Cuisinart will make better ice cream (haven't had a chance to test drive it yet) because of the even, constant churning, but the Donvier got me started very inexpensively and served it's purpose. I just sold it on Amazon for a decent amount of money which helped pay for the new ice cream maker.

                                                                                2. m
                                                                                  Mess Hall Bob RE: mayuchico Mar 18, 2008 08:55 AM

                                                                                  I live in a studio apartment and although I have full sized fridge, and oven, I don't have a full sized sink or counter. The useful area of the counter is roughly 2.5 square feet. So when I use my kitchen tools and gadgets I have to clean them then put them back into the box in which they came in, or in the holders I made for them. I would say the melon baller I got for making truffles is the least used. The most used is my kitchen grade scissor. I have to laugh about the ice cream maker, I have a cuisinart version that I store the core in my ice box that I've used a handful of times in the 3 years I've had it. It doesn't solidify the cream or custard well enough. I used to use my bread maker often, but it makes a lot of noise when it is mixing so I can't use it at night or in the early morning otherwise it wakes me up. Does anyone have creative ways to maximize my counter space?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Mess Hall Bob
                                                                                    flourgirl RE: Mess Hall Bob Mar 19, 2008 08:58 AM

                                                                                    You do know that you have to put the ice cream in the freezer to firm it up after the churning is complete? That is just part of the deal. Something else that helps is to freeze the base for a few minutes (after it has already been chilled properly in the freezer) before pouring it into the unit.

                                                                                    That said, either you're into making homemade ice cream or you're not. And if not, that's a lot of space to give up in the freezer. :)

                                                                                    1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                      Caroline1 RE: flourgirl Mar 19, 2008 09:28 AM

                                                                                      I just want to know what happened to my great old wooden bucket pack with ice and coarse salt electric ice cream maker! I can't remember who borrowed it, and I'm stunned by the price of them today. But if I decide I need to start packing my hips again with more ice cream, that's the kind I will buy.

                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                        flourgirl RE: Caroline1 Mar 19, 2008 10:47 AM

                                                                                        That's what my dad had and he made the world's best peach ice cream. I don't know what happened to his either. :( They really have become very expensive.

                                                                                  2. Caroline1 RE: mayuchico Mar 20, 2008 08:00 AM

                                                                                    Hmmmm... Don't know if this is going to eventually qualify as useless (or unused) or if it really will prove to be a good idea. Last week I ordered a couple of knives on sale, and then forgot that I'd ordered a magic and mysterious kitchen scale by Salter that weighs things in ounces/milleliters or pounds/kilos, thereby freeing me forever from the need for measuring cups and spoons while cooking. You just (theoretically) put your mixing bowl on the scale, push the reset-to-zero button, add/weigh the first ingredient in exactly the right portion, reset to zero, add the next ingreident, etc.

                                                                                    So this electronic marvel arrived yesterday. According to the hype, it's the first such scale in the world and destined to free me from uncountable mise en place clutter. And as I was setting it all up, I had this sudden epiphany: "You idiot! You always eyeball things instead of measuring so how is this magic machine going to give your eyes a rest???"

                                                                                    Fortunately it is a dazzling kitchen sculpture in brushed and polished stainless steel that will make my kitchen look like a marvel of artful efficiency. Oh, and it boosted the bill into the free shipping category.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                      flourgirl RE: Caroline1 Mar 20, 2008 08:46 AM

                                                                                      I have a kitchen scale by Salter that does that - I've had it for years (bought it at BB&B). I use it a lot for baking - and the zero feature really is quite helpful. But I still use my measuring cups and spoons all the time (in fact, have 2 sets of both). Mostly because I have very few baking books that give measurements in weights instead of volume.

                                                                                      1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                        Caroline1 RE: flourgirl Mar 20, 2008 08:55 AM

                                                                                        Just what I was thinking after I hit "send" on my post! Oh, well. It is pretty. And I do use a scale to weigh frozen food to schedule the automatic defrost on my microwave. At least now I can give my old scale away and have some counter volume freed up, if not space. .

                                                                                        1. re: flourgirl
                                                                                          dscheidt RE: flourgirl Mar 20, 2008 07:48 PM

                                                                                          I suggest that you weigh the ingredients the first time you make the recipe. Then write them down in the book. (or on a card if you've got an irrational fear of writing in working books.) Then, when you make in the future, you can follow your weights. It's much faster to weigh things than it is to measure or count them. As a bonus, there's less things to clean up.

                                                                                          1. re: dscheidt
                                                                                            Caroline1 RE: dscheidt Mar 20, 2008 10:14 PM

                                                                                            I suspect it will ALWAYS be easier and more accurate to measure 1/4 tsp of baking powder than it will ever be to shake it from the can. '-)

                                                                                          2. re: flourgirl
                                                                                            lgss RE: flourgirl Mar 21, 2008 03:53 PM

                                                                                            This will probably get moved to not about food...but I'll post it here anyway. We have a small Salter scale which my husband uses to weigh coins in his coin collection, among other things. The composition of pennies changed mid-year (1982) from higher copper content to higher zinc. He finds it easier than trying to read the dates. He also uses our (kitchen) measuring cups to measure plaster and cement for various home repair projects :-P .

                                                                                        2. l
                                                                                          lpfaf RE: mayuchico Mar 21, 2008 01:09 AM

                                                                                          I know this wasn't the question, but I have two gadgets I love. I feel bad for the person who listed their crockpot as the most useless. I have marvelous recipes that go far beyond my (admittedly beloved) midwestern pot roast with potatoes and carrots. Or the corned beef and cabbage I make every year for St. Patrick's Day (which means that as we speak I have amazing corned beef leftovers sitting next to rye bread and swiss cheese, just waiting for sandwiches). Surprisingly, chicken breasts (my favorite crockpot recipe involves balsamic, potatoes, and artichoke hearts) do quite well in the crockpot if you use only the low setting. I love any tool that prevents me from overcooking low-fat meat.

                                                                                          The thing I own that seems like a ridiculous gimmick but is actually amazing is an egg-shaped thing that goes in the pot with boiled eggs. As the eggs heat, the egg-shaped thing changes color, and it has marks indicating soft-boiled, medium, and hard-boiled. Since my grandma found me one at a garage sale (Restoration Hardware is reproducing them...sadly, they're like eight bucks...my grandma bought her first one in the fifties or sixties), I've never overcooked a boiled egg.

                                                                                          1. l
                                                                                            lgss RE: mayuchico Mar 21, 2008 03:45 PM

                                                                                            Not useless, just not yet used...much. I bought a dehydrator and just haven't gotten organized enough to soak stuff a couple days ahead of time and figuring out ahead of time when I'll be home to deal with the various stages of the process. My sister (runs an organic CSA) makes some great stuff with hers. Also we've been doing home renovations (including kitchen), so some concern about dust.

                                                                                            1. r
                                                                                              rweater RE: mayuchico Mar 24, 2008 02:55 PM

                                                                                              I have (had) a Wolfgang Puck blender/food processor that we received as a hand-me-down that is 100 percent useless. We used it one night and could not get it to turn on. The manual instructed us to press the on button, which does not exist. You turn the blender on by locking the lid into place, something we discovered by accident which is not covered in the manual.
                                                                                              The blender did a horrible job. To make matters worse, the blades are encased in some sort of safety thing, which to our estimation does not come apart. This makes it nearly impossible to clean them. The blades sat in warm soapy water for days while we tried to loosen bits of olive from them.
                                                                                              When I asked the relative that gave us the blender whether this was a problem for her, she replied, "I don't remember, but that must be why I gave it away."
                                                                                              ***I should add that we already owned a blender and received this one unsolicited. We weren't blenderless, but I guess we thought that a Wolfgang Puck product would be a great item. Guess we were wrong.

                                                                                              I consider the Pampered Chef pizza stone to be useless. I used it once. The pizza was horrible and it was hard to clean. Maybe I did it wrong.

                                                                                              1. d
                                                                                                dagwood RE: mayuchico Apr 4, 2008 12:49 PM

                                                                                                I'm a well-known wine drinker, and I am forever getting weird wine-opening contraptions as gifts that well-meaning people seem to feel will make my life easier. First of all they take up way too much space, second of all I can never figure the damn things out, and third of all my wine key works just fine, thank you very much. I've regifted probably three of those over the years, at least!

                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                  SharaMcG RE: mayuchico Apr 7, 2008 09:43 AM

                                                                                                  Hmmm. Cookie cutters and garlic press. I have a slow cooker I almost never use, but theoretically I could though I work at home so the convenience issue is a non one for me.I also have a Wolfgand Puck immersion blender that I bought refurbished and works great. It has the little bowl and chopper attachment, which I use for making breadcrumbs, grating cheese. I've learned over the years to walk away when I see a shiny new gadget that supposedly will make my cooking life soooo much easier.

                                                                                                  1. yamalam RE: mayuchico Apr 7, 2008 01:45 PM

                                                                                                    I received a Madeleine Pan from Crate and Barrel as a bridal shower gift, and a Quesadilla Maker for Christmas. Unfortunately I thought the madeleine pan was genius and used it once, so now I can't return/regift it. But if anyone wants a quesadilla maker...

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: yamalam
                                                                                                      flourgirl RE: yamalam Apr 7, 2008 03:13 PM

                                                                                                      I can't believe there is actually something called a "quesadilla maker." (I know they really do exist, it's just amystery to me why.) That one just cracks me up. What a total and complete waste of money that seems to me to be. (Maybe I'm wrong. Anyone?) I think that is a definite candidate for the "Museum of Useless Kitchen Gadgets."

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