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Mar 1, 2008 09:05 AM

What is your useless kitchen gadget?

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. 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

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

      1. re: mayuchico

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

        1. re: OCEllen

          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

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

          2. re: OCEllen

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

          3. re: mayuchico

            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

              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

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

              1. re: LadyCook61

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

              2. re: mayuchico

                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

                  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

                    I had the same 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

                  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

                    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

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

                      1. re: mayuchico

                        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

                          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. 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. 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 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

                            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

                              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. 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. 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

                                  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

                                    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.