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No gadgets needed: Cooking tasks you enjoy

As I was prepping to cook dinner tonight I had an ephihany - I hate kitchen gadgets. I am a "nothing but the basics" kind of cook. Pots, pans, spoon, chef's knife, cutting board and tongs. Don't get me wrong, there are a few things I love, like my fat separator pitcher and my immersible blender. But for the most part I don't want to have to clean a bunch of things afterwards.

I realized that there is something relaxing about all the chopping. I was having a Zen moment I suppose. I always knew that cooking was my way of relaxing, but I never really gave it any thought beyond knowing that.

So, no choppers, garlic peelers or presses, zesters, etc. for me. How about you... what tasks do you enjoy? What gadgets annoy you?

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  1. couldn't agree more, I am pretty non gadget in the kitchen as well. The idea of buying things like an egg seperator, a corn on the cob cutter offer(?), egg slicer, garlic press, avocado pitter/slicer, etc....(can you tell I just visited the WS website (btw a favorite store)...is not my thing.

    But, the one gadget I just bought myself, which is my new favorite, is a tool for canning, basically a pencil lengthened tool with a magnet on the end to get canning lids out of hot water - this has made this step of canning so wonderful:)

    1. Pretty funny, me too not too many gadgets, although I'm lately doing mega amounts of fresh squeezed lemons/limes (dressings mostly) so I bought one of those hand squeeze juicer - completely broke in half the second time I used it. I've reverted to using Gram/Gramps antique porcelain tabletop press. Nothing like the old stuff.

      9 Replies
      1. re: lexpatti

        I do oogle at times when I see Ina use her electric juicer...especially after I made lemoncello last fall and had a ton of lemons to juice...

        1. re: geminigirl

          I have a nice electric juicer and haven't used it. Was thinking about getting rid of it. Should I keep it?

          1. re: karykat

            We have one of those antique glass juicers that you put the lemon half on top of the grooved cone and proceed to squish back and forth. It's my Grandmother's. Works a treat, as Jamie would say.

            1. re: Gio

              Thats just like mine (or Gram/Gramps) although mine in a beautiful floral porcelain. I do love it, but always afraid I'm going to break it. It's most likely an old antique.

              1. re: lexpatti

                lexpatti:
                Your juicer sound gorgeous...mine is just a simple clear glass but Very heavy. I love using it.

                1. re: Gio

                  I also have gparents old handheld mixer and several old bowls - big yellow one that reminds of making cookies with gram. Fun isn't it - food & love

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    Definitely fun - I, too, have many bowls, platters, sets of kitchen/refridgerator containers...the ones with the thick ridges. Wonderful memories return when I use these old things.

            2. re: karykat

              Hi KK, not sure what I would do, but with my hoarding I might keep it:) although might only use it once a year for Lemoncello or a batch of lemonde, etc...

            3. re: geminigirl

              I love my electric juicer, I use it all the time. I bought it off ebay for 10 bucks, and it is so worth it. It's the only gadget I own. And I got the idea from watching Ina juice everything! lol. She has a fancy shmancy one tho. ; )

          2. Electric can openers, IMO are a total waste of time, space and money!!!! It must have been a strong opinion past down, my family has never had one -I have 3 sisters and none of them have one either.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              It's funny you mention an electric can opener b/c it's one of the few gadgets I like - ha! In fact, my neighbor just came over a couple of hours ago and borrowed mine b/c hers broke. Like her, I have tossed out all my manual ones b/c they always left me frustrated. I'm sure one day it will come back to haunt me.

              p.s. I just read what I typed and it sounds...well... odd. Just to clarify, I was frustrated opening cans manually - oh, hell, nevermind. Ha!

              1. re: lynnlato

                Actually, I've gotten rid of my electric can opener and use a nice, new Oxo manual. When we lose our power, as has happened all too often, I can still open a can of tuna.

                1. re: Deenso

                  The first cooking tool we bought as newlyweds (many many MANY years ago) was a Swingline manual can opener. Still have it, still works. I have always thought electric can openers were pointless.

            2. There was just an article in our local paper (from a story published elsewhere) about five gadgets you should have. Most seemed superflous to me. One was a three-compartment salad spinner. Why three compartments? It's all going to end up in the salad anyway. Another was an apple corer. Good if you're doing lots and lots of apples, but a knife works just fine. Another thing was a special scissors for chopping herbs. I just use a regular one.

              One thing I do like a special gadget for and that is the sharp fork-like thing for chopping chocolate. It seems to work better than a regular knife for me.

              I do agree with your premise. I like dinking around in the kitchen and find it relaxing.

              I don't have a dishwasher and wash everything by hand, and don't mind doing that (most days anyway!)

              3 Replies
              1. re: karykat

                "I like dinking around in the kitchen"... love that!

                I have a dishwasher, but we still wash most of dishes by hand. I guess it's the same thing - getting lost in a mindless task. I do hate washing glasses though!

                1. re: karykat

                  i love my apple corer in the fall when i have to do tons of apples for baking...and i'd be lost without my mandoline for slicing all those apples.

                  i use my shears a lot for cutting dried fruit - they often work better than a knife, particularly with sticky fruits.

                  i like to juice lemons & limes with a fork, but sometimes a reamer does come in handy when there are many to do...and it's helpful for catching the seeds.

                  i love my mini burr grinder for whizzing spices.

                  oh, and the dough scoops in various sizes that i use for dispensing muffin batter ensure that the size remains relatively consistent.

                  i hate garlic presses, and peelers take some of the satisfaction out of giving the clove that solid whack to loosen the skin.

                  and for general chopping, slicing, dicing, etc., i prefer to do it myself - it's therapeutic for me. [those herb scissors are silly, i love to chop fresh herbs with a good, sharp knife.]

                2. I don't have many gadgets. I am a total phobe when it comes to things on surfaces so the less things on my counter the better. There is one gadget that I use a lot though. When i received it as a housewarming gift I actually scoffed because I initially thought it was just goofy. The Vidalia Chop Wizard. I love this thing. My knife skills are not all that great and I cut myself ALL the time. If I can avoid chopping a lot of something I will, if only for the sake of my blood supply. The other day I made fresh pico de galo in maybe five minutes start to finish. I have made salsa in less than 1/3 of the time it typically takes. I needed to finely chop 8 tomatoes for two tomato pies a couple of weeks ago and I had it done in 3-4 minutes if that. In the 3 months or so I've had it I've used it for tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, onions, apples, pears, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, eggs, grilled chicken breasts, ham, cheese, and olives. It's surprisingly sturdy too. Love it.

                  Whoops I totally forgot to add the cooking task I love. McCain has me all distracted =) I love cleaning and prepping all my produce. I do it when I get home from shopping. I play music and it's like 45 minutes of zen and an end result of big bowls of nice clean fruit and veggies in your fridge.