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Jun 13, 2010 06:02 AM

Kitchen Gadgets You've Come Around to Liking

I used to make fun of people who used salad spinners. The spinner seemed like such a '70s waste-of-space/invented-need gadget, and besides, how hard is it to drain lettuce? Then---surprise---we moved into a kitchen with a salad spinner, and I've been totally won over. It's amazing how much water a salad spinner can remove from rinsed lettuce, damp sliced veggies, etc. No more wet sandwiches, watery stir fries, or soggy salads.

Same thing with a kitchen scale. I was convinced people who went on and on about how great they were were just being pretentious. Plus, they're not cheap. But having actually used one regularly, I'm completely convinced it makes for better, more precise baking. It's great to be able to make metric recipes without all kinds of crazy googling.

What gadgets have you fallen in love with, despite your initial skepticism?

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  1. I seriously could not live w/out a salad spinner. I keep one in Berlin!

    2 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Another salad spinner convert. I have the smaller version of the OXO. I have used it nearly everyday that I have cooked since I purchased it.

      1. re: cityhopper

        I was somewhere where the people were making fun of salad spinners...while simultaneously using copious amounts of paper towels to do a poor job of drying out their salad greens. I wanted to roll my eyes, but restrained myself.

    2. serrated peeler for soft fruit & veggies. i can't believe how well it works, and how much easier and better it is than the blanching and peeling technique.

      6 Replies
      1. re: qianning

        I agree with that! It's a fantastic little gadget. I never thought that skinning peaches could be so easy.

        1. re: qianning

          I've never seen one those serrated peeler. Is that a typical BB&Beyond kind of gadget?

          1. re: DGresh

            Mine is a Messemeister, which I don't remember where I purchased, but it definitely wasn't BB&B. I just googles it and I see that Amazon has it, and that Oxo has come out with one as well. Maybe you would find the Oxo one at BB&B though. Truly it is a great gadget. I used to dread standing over a pot of hot water boiling peaches to get the skins off. This is so much easier!

            Here's a link to BB&B -- they do carry the Oxo one:

            1. re: roxlet

              I have the Oxo one and it works fine on peaches, plums, and tomatoes. The better kitchen gadget stores in my area usually have in a variety of different brands, but the Oxo one is fine. I think they are sometimes labelled/marketed as "soft fruit peeler".

              1. re: roxlet

                cool- thanks! That's something I never would have thought I "needed" :)
                Just like the lemon squeezer :)

                1. re: roxlet

                  I would recommend the Zyliss version.

                  Wickedly sharp, and the pointy bits can catch you. Not enough to do any real damage though.

                  Although it says it is for soft skins, I find it works very well on tougher skins like yams and arrowroot. I've had mine for about two years and it is still very sharp.

                  Enough of this proselytizing !

            2. My little wire and plastic egg slicer. Used once or twice, until my two year old found it. Now it gets a lot of use. Ice cream maker, even though I don't use it too often. Also, finally picked up a good little paring knife after making due with a steak knife for years. I really believe in getting any tool that makes me more excited about being in the kitchen. I calculate the price of using the item one or more times vs. the cost of eating out. That cooking at home to eating out gap will more than pay for a lot of kitchen toys! A better kitchen scale is on my wish list right now.

              1. I totally agree about the scale, but for a different reason-- I don't bake that much, and what I do bake has always come out fine with my typical sloppy ways. But I never realized how many recipes call for "a pound of potatoes" or "8 ounces of tomatillos". Sure I can sometimes weigh at the store if I'm buying just for that recipe, but I often found myself holding a 15 ounce can in one hand and a few potatoes in the other trying to decide if they were the same!

                2 Replies
                1. re: DGresh

                  My microwave oven has an "auto-defrost" setting that is fantastic *IF* you know exactly how much what you want to defrost weighs. I frequently buy "family packs" and repackage them into smaller portions, so the label weight is useless. I LOVE my ktchen scale!

                  EDIT! EDIT! EDIT! I have to come back to add my nutmeg grinder. I've been using one of these:
                  for at least thirty years now, and cannot imagine going back to the scrape-your-knuckles method! Looks great, stores a bunch of extra nutmegs under the lexan dome, and works perfectly every time!

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    I use a fine microplane look-alike for nutmeg. In fact I have a special little one that folds and the nutmeg stays in the middle.

                    In terms of knuckles. I am a profligate waster of nutmeg. Once I am down to the last quarter of an inch it is history.

                    Now the salad spinner. I just got a Guzzini ( ) and it is not a uni-tasker. The acrylic bowl is doubles up as a serving bowl and as one of those upside-down keep-the-flies-off-the-cake things. And the revolving basket server as a vegetable strainer.

                    In terms of the OP's question, a frying-pan splash-guard from Ikea.

                2. I usually follow Alton Brown's advice and avoid uni-taskers. I do however use a garlic press when I need more than a couple of garlic cloves minced. I also like a microplaner. (I got it for 99 cents at Goodwill). I concur about the serrated peeler. While I don't use the salad spinner on a weekly basis, when I use it I'm glad to have it.

                  There is one gadget I'd like to have if found cheaply enough, just for laughs. I saw it on TV. It's a device used to crack and/or separate eggs. It's hilarious.