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Worst Kicthen Gadget???

What is the worst kitchen gadget that you ever received as a gift or bought for yourself?

I have 2...my mother bought me a quesadilla maker and it was horrible. It flattened everything and unless you added a pound of cheese, it came out flatter than a nickle. Also, a garlic press which i bought for myself. It just so much easier to crush the garlic yourself instead of having to clean that thing.

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  1. Hi, _____________:

    The garlic press has been pilloried and praised here on CH in roughly equal measure. I've never had much use for one, but a lot of CHers whose opinions I trust really like them for a variety of uses (e.g., juicing ginger). You might just change your mind if you dredge up the old threads.

    No reason to dispute the quesadilla maker, though...

    My own most useless gifted gadget was a "Jerky Shooter", the idea of which is to squirt out a ribbon of meat paste into strips that (in pure fantasy) will congeal and dry into edible jerky. Considering how much effort goes into processing perfectly good jerky meat into paste so that one may approximate...fantastically speaking...jerky, well... it's a moronic idea.


    PS: Anyone want a Jerky Shooter?

    8 Replies
    1. re: kaleokahu

      I use a lemon juicer for ginger and I will always stand by thinking that the garlic press is a waste to me. Some others praise and that is just fine. My fiance bought me that jerky gun...but I have never used it because I never found a good dehydrator.

      1. re: whiteasianchef

        Hi, ...asianchef:

        Wow! You have a Jerky Shooter, too? You should try it--it will clearly make`the garlic press seem like a good gadget. My advice: make real jerky and proudly tell the fiance you couldn't have done it without the Shooter.

        You say you juice ginger with a lemon juicer? What kind? I have a giant electric Pioneer juicer that works great if you're juicing pounds at a time, but the manual juicers I have couldn't juice solid ginger. Maybe you have a lever- or screwpress that works? Or do you grate your ginger first?


        1. re: kaleokahu


          This is the closest thing I can find online to what I have. It works great for juicing ginger. I do not grate it first.

          1. re: whiteasianchef

            My ginger juicing method is ridiculously easy. I freeze a big knob of ginger. When I need some, I break off a hunk, let it defrost (or nuke for a few seconds). Once it is defrosted, you can squeeze juice out of it like a wet sponge. Seems the freezing must break down some very delicate cell walls.

              1. re: sbp

                Holy cow, I just threw out a whole bunch of frozen ginger figuring it's little shrunken figure was no good anymore. Add another duper to that tip. Juice!

              1. re: Googs

                I think that is the most disgusting thing I have ever seen done to meat, but I could picture Homer Simpson with those twin tubes stuck in his mouth

        2. Mine was a replacement for the paddle attachment of my Kitchenaid mixer, not made by Hobart, though it was designed for the Kitchenaid. It turned out to be all plastic, and has a weird twist to it, designed presumably to help stir from bottom to top, but at anything but the lowest speed throws things out of the mixer bowl. The only things it's usable for are as easily stirred by hand- worst $25 I ever spent.

          8 Replies
          1. re: oldunc

            I think you probably got one designed for another mixer, other than yours. It could be size or model. I can't keep them in stock and love mine. When it fits properly if does a great job of scraping the bowl and getting into the darn dimple in the bottom of the bowl. The brand is Beater Blade. KA has tried to copy it since it has been a huge success, the design is patented so they can't do an exact copy. KA's version has the silicone scraper on only one side. It does not work well. BB makes them for different mixers, models and sizes.

            1. re: Candy

              It was specifically made for my mixer, and I did the recommended adjustment on the mixer head height. I'm happy that you've found uses for yours, I'd beat mine into plowshares if it was made of metal.

              1. re: oldunc

                See if you can find one made by Beater Blade.

                1. re: Candy

                  I have one made by Beater Blade, that's my problem.

                  1. re: oldunc

                    I am surprised about your sad experience.I was sent one to try back at original release.After just 3 or 4 uses I promptly bought one for my larger mixer and 6 for Christmas gifts that year.Still used and liked by all.

                    1. re: lcool

                      I read better reviews about the Sideswipe blade when compared to the BeaterBlade.

                      1. re: John E.

                        I really like my Sideswipe blade.

                      2. re: lcool

                        I'm starting to think it's a matter of how it's used. For me, a flat blade on a heavy duty mixer is mostly for heavy jobs: the two that come up most for me are creaming butter and beating English muffin batter, which is fairly dense. These type of operations depend on the blade cutting through the food; the gasket leaves two possibilities- either it flexes out of the way, in which case it accomplishes nothing and would probably tear soon, or it stays firm and you end up pushing the food around instead of cutting through it. With the twist to the blade, this is fine for stirring, but that's not really what I look for mostly from a paddle, I can do that with a spoon.

            2. It was one of those non-stick spaghetti pots, in which the lid was also a strainer. My daughter was really little when she collaborated with her Dad to surprise me with one of these. It was a sweet gesture, but the kid couldn't possibly tell it was a piece of junk. Apparently, neither could Dad.

              The lid knob was always coming loose, and it never really locked when you had to strain it. I can manage to scald myself just fine in my kitchen without the assistance of these inferior pots. I kept is a few months and then "put it away" (trash).

              4 Replies
              1. re: RGC1982

                I had one of these and LOVED it. Mine was way sturdier than what you describe, and I got a good 5 years out of it before the non-stick started to flake and I tossed it. It was so thin that it would never have been any good for anything but boiling pasta or potatoes, but it did that task well and saved washing a strainer. Can you tell I miss it?

                1. re: RGC1982

                  I second CanadaGirl's experience. I thought it was a great tool as a starter chef in my first apartment. Making draing potatoes and pasta was a snap. I think it may have been the quality of the crimping of aluminum to create a decent seal during the draining. I think I may have bent mine slightly more to create more of a seal.

                  My non-stick coating came off also, but that was from overuse probably.

                  1. re: RGC1982

                    A higher-quality version of the same concept is the Tramontina Lock and Drain pasta pot. Very handy, IMO.

                    1. re: tanuki soup

                      Tramontina cookware is wonderful, buy it online at Walmart. I have alClad and prefer this...a quarter of the price and great guality.

                  2. The Chef Harvey apple corer. It is way to wide and wastes apple.

                    1. electric can opener
                      electric wok

                      agree about the garlic press--not worth the effort to use

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        Electric woks are a joke. I see a thousand of them when I go yard saling. They do not get hot enough to stir fry a onion let alone any protein.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          I believe that people with arthritis and arthitis-like conditions really depend on electric can openers. I don't need or want one, but I can certainly see why others would.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              flourgirl, you are absolutely correct. I never had an electric can opener (in fact, I haughtily disparaged them). I always maintained a very high quality hand can opener. However, this year, I finally purchased the can opener attachment for my KitchenAid mixer. Why? I do not have arthritis. Well, it just became harder and harder for me to twist the handle on the hand can opener. My much old bones and muscles just don't work the way they used to. So if you need to give a gift to an elderly person who does not have an electric can opener, I highly recommend it. Eating that crow was hard to take, by the way.

                        2. I also found a dounut maker at a yard sale that makes 2 at a time. That was a waste!

                          1. Definitely the George Foreman grill. When I lived with roommates, I think we had more George Foreman grills than people in the apartment (seems like the thing everyone's mother/ crazy aunt/ family friend bought as a present for new grads).

                            Not only is the thing awful to clean, it drains off all the fat resulting in the driest, most tasteless meals ever. Although I would never pass up my roommates cooking for me, I did not look forward to those awful turkey burgers and boneless skinless chicken breasts (and let's face it, in a house of four girls, it was always turkey burgers and boneless skinless chicken breasts).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: caseyjo

                              So funny...I just put mine in the "donate to Goodwill" box. Always thought it was overrated.

                              1. re: caseyjo

                                We used to have one in the days before we went vegetarian and anti-nonstick-surface. Ours was easy to clean because the plates were completely removable -- maybe yours was a different model?

                                I agree that it horrendously dries things out as it "knocks out the fat" and that if you try to compensate for that by adding marinades, sauces, etc, it takes a lot of elbow grease to get the resulting burnt-on sticky glop off the grill plates. So we'd make plain chicken breasts, remove them from the GF, and serve them with plenty of sauce or salsa so that it wasn't THAT much like eating hot styrofoam, LOL.

                              2. An electric crepe maker.

                                Yes, I am embarassed, LOL.

                                Don't recall the brand, but you poured the batter into a shallow bowl, then dipped the corded nonstick thing that looked like a curved pan bottom into the batter, lifted it up, and supposedly in a very short time it would "cook through" and you will have a perfect, easy to remove crepe every time. Yeah right. Unless you dipped too far in (crepe too thick to cook properly), not far enough (too thin to form a solid crepe), or not perfectly horizontally (resulting in a lopsided crepe). And the resulting crepe (or crepe-ish thing, mostly) usually tasted underdone.

                                Definitely a WWIT (What Was I Thinking) purchase. Tried it maybe 3 times, got disgusted, banished it to a back cabinet corner, and ultimately gave it away with charity donations of stuff the last time we moved.

                                I think it cost about $40 or so originally (in the early or mid 1990s), too. What a waste of money.

                                A close second was the Just For Dinner electric breadmaker. Not that it didn't work but everything it produces tastes the same. And way too yeasty by far. We still have it but it's been on the top shelf for at least 3 years. We won't take that with us when we move next time either, LOL.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: skyline

                                  That is hilarious; I spent YEARS searching for an electric crepe maker, as my high school French teacher taught us that that was how to make "proper" crepes! It became a mindless quest. Once I did find one (less than $20) I already had mastered making crepes the grownup way. I used it once for nostalgia's sake.

                                  Anyone want an electric crepe maker? :)

                                2. A breadmaker. Other than basic white, I never got a decent loaf even with the smallest of variations. Anyway, I rarely eat bread.

                                  1. Ughh, I am still kicking myself over this as it was my dumb purchase. I bought a salsa maker. It is an odd hand-crank gadget that chops veggies finely. The set-up is kind of like a very small salad spinner, but it chops and dices instead. I have used it exactly once.

                                    All I can say in my own defense is that they were demo'ing it at my supermarket when I was shopping, and the salsa and chips that they offered were extremely tasty. Didn't help that I was shopping while very hungry. The stupid thing was $50 so I can't yet bring myself to get rid of it. Grrr.

                                    Love, love, love my garlic press and it is a snap to clean. I have had others in the past that were a lot more difficult to clean but the one I have had for the past ten years or so is super easy.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                      wow, I also fell for a demo of a salsa maker at the county fair, but I only got taken for $10! And I've used it once, too...

                                      1. re: pine time

                                        I picked up a couple at Goodwill for $1 when my father was into salsa and required salsa every day. They worked out well for me at his assisted living place.

                                        1. re: pine time

                                          I bought one at the state fair. I thought it turned the tomatoes and onions into mush. I am quite particular about the brunoise of the tomatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic. I peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes, which is the most tedious part of the process. I should have known better.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            But don't you think it was worth every penny to be able to >SLAPCHOP!!!< your salsa, if only for one bowl?

                                      2. What brand of garlic press was so difficult to clean? We have a Zyliss Susi garlic press that wirks great and is easy to clean. I don't even always use the cleaning tool that came with it.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: John E.

                                          It's a Wolfgang Puck Garlic press that I received as a gift. I never said it was difficult to clean, it's just easier to crush the garlic w/ your knife vs having to clean out those little holes. I did not get any cleaning tool w/ mine.

                                          1. re: whiteasianchef

                                            I mostly just use a knife as well, but if I am going to need a lot of minced garlic I'll use the press. I do think there are a lot more useless cooking gadgets and utensils out there. The absolute worst idea that just seems it will not go away is the hinged omelet pan. A newer ridiculous cooking utensil is the microwave s'mores maker. When I was a kid my father bought an upsidedown crepe maker as well as one of those Presto hamburger cookers.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              I have seen that omelet pan, never used ut but it seems like it would be a waste. What is the microwave smores maker that you speak of? There would be no way of getting your marshmellow chard like it gets when your doing it over the fire and thats the best part.

                                              1. re: whiteasianchef

                                                I have never used one of these but here it is:


                                                I may have been wrong about the hinged omelet pan, not that I think it's useful, but I may have found something even more silly:


                                                (I actually bought one still in the package for .50¢ at a thrift store just for kicks).

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  I think that you might win the prize!! LOL!

                                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                                    First saw it demonstrated at Horne's department store in the late sixties. I got my mother the vegomatic demonstrated by this guy named Ron instead.

                                        2. I got 3 kitchen gadgets over the years as gifts that were terrible.

                                          1. Rice cooker. It was hard to tell if the thing was on/heating or not. Tried to make some brown rice that would take 45 min on the stovetop, took over 2 hours with this. Really, rice isn't that difficult to make, so I just don't see the point.

                                          2. George Foreman grill, again, another 'what's the point' gadget.

                                          3. Got a hand-me-down breadmaker, which made mediocre bread. Again, I can get better results the old-fashioned way. In the end, bread just takes too long to make, and it is cheap enough to buy, so it's not the sort of thing I make regularly anyway.

                                          In contrast, I used one of those electric griddles once that worked suprisingly well. Of course, that place didn't have a nice set of pans which probably would have worked just as well, but...

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: pweller

                                            I love my rice cooker, that is something that I could not live without.

                                            1. re: whiteasianchef

                                              My rice cooker makes excellent brown rice.

                                              1. re: whiteasianchef

                                                We love our Zojirushi rice cooker which is programmable and is used daily to make breakfast oatmeal as well as rice. But there are so many pricepoints/models of rice cookers nowadays. I rank the Zoji right up there among the best $125 or so that I've ever spent, and even if it cost $150 or $175, I'd still say it was worth it. Even $200, because it gets THAT much use. Like whiteasianchef said, a rice cooker is something we now couldn't live without (but it HAS to be programmable and have different settings for white, sushi, brown, and cereal, LOL).

                                                1. re: skyline

                                                  I've never used a rice cooker- does it do anything you can't do with a pan and a timer? Programmable might be good if you cook while you're not there, but personally I won't buy another programmable appliance if I can help it.

                                                  1. re: oldunc

                                                    Well, I admit we don't use the programmable feature for rice that often, mainly because I don't think it ends up to be QUITE as good if it has been sitting in water for hours before cooking. We're usually home within an hour or more of regular meals anyhow. It is very nice to have one less burner taken up on the cooktop though, if I'm cooking for company.

                                                    BUT it is a pure godsend for having the steel cut oatmeal ready at whatever time you choose the next morning -- and we have that EVERY morning,LOL! I put the oats and water in the cooker before we go to sleep each night, push the "Timer" button, change the "to be ready at" time if it's going to be different from our typical time (it usually isn't), set the selection to "Porridge", push the "Cook" button, and forget about it till it's time to dish it out. It also keeps the cereal hot if we happen to oversleep.

                                                    Unlike some programmable appliances, the Zoji doesn't need to be continually plugged in; in fact the instructions say to keep it unplugged when not in actual use in Cooking or Timer mode. The internal memory (clock and dual available program "ready" times) runs off its internal lithium battery. So our Timer 1 is set to the time we almost always want the cereal to be ready, leavingt the Timer 2 setting free for any other times we may want to use for anything else. Unlike a VCR, etc, you don't need to reset the clock time or programmable finish times every time the house power goes out, because those are battery-maintained. I honestly don't know how long the internal battery usually lasts but we've had our Zoji for several years already. I've seen a user claim the battery usually lasts 5-6 years before it needs replacement. There are 3 authorized Zoji service centers within 30 miles of me (one less than 5 miles, LOL) so I don't worry much about that aspect of it.

                                                    1. re: skyline

                                                      I'll bet you have an i pad too. I guess I'm just a rock and chisel guy for life.
                                                      For some things, it's customary to soak rice before cooking, but you usually rinse it- seems likely it would come out slightly gummier that way from surface starch.

                                                      1. re: oldunc

                                                        LOL, believe it or not I am considered a "dinosaur" because I do NOT have either an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, "smart"phone.... or even an iPod! Neither does my SO, so I guess we are all rock-and-chisel people together. :-)

                                                        I had quite the discussion recently with someone who was praising their Kindle/Nook/whatever electronic book reader to the skies, and was shocked when I said I wouldn't ever want to own one. I even hate paperbacks -- about 90% of my library is hardcover (I will always buy the hardcover version even though it's cheaper in paperback) and would be 100% except that some were simply never published in HC so it was that or nothing.

                                                        I love my laptop, digital camera, camcorder, DVD player, my 4 year old cellphone, the GPS in the car (best invention since the wheel and the electronic calculator!) and our Zoji but other as for other digital goodies... nah, no interest.

                                                        As for rinsing the rice, the Zoji manual says to thoroughly rinse the rice several times (until the rinse water runs clear or almost so) before putting it in the cooker. Even sushi rice. It must work for some reason, because IMHO the Zoji rice always comes out fluffier than anything I was ever able to get by using a pan.

                                                        Ah, if it only made perfect risotto *sigh* it would be the perfect appliance ever invented, LOL. Risotto is something that I somehow managed to make absolutely perfectly the very FIRST time I tried, and have NEVER been able to make perfectly since. It always comes out either too gummy or too crunchy. So now I use the arborio rice for rice pudding and rice-pudding ice cream. Arborio works great for that. :-)

                                                        1. re: oldunc

                                                          I have had a Zojirushi rice cooker, similar to skyline's for the better part of a decade. I wanted it specifically for doing brown rice. I was cooking rice in the microwave at the time, which is a foolproof way to cook rice, and I didn't like tying it up when I could be steaming veggies in it. I don't use it as much as did, as I have drastically reduced eating carbs, but I really like having it. I have used it for Quinoa recently, and that grain cooked up nicely in the cooker.

                                                          If you don't want to buy a rice cooker, you can cook your rice in the microwave. For white rice it is 5 min. on high + 15 minutes on med power. You use a lidded casserole with 1 C rice to 2 C liquid.

                                                          1. re: sueatmo

                                                            I find that a pan works fine. Practically any way you cook white rice takes 20 minutes. Energy consumption is boil the liquid, then practically none. Two water to one rice is an awful lot of water for a closed pot, I vary it by mood and circumstance, but 1 1/3 to 1 is about the norm for long grain white, unless you like it sticky.

                                                            1. re: oldunc

                                                              I've always used 2:1 ration, even when I was making it on the stove years and years ago. I think I got the proportions off a rice box. Uncle Bens long grain white rice box, to be exact. I have seen higher proportion of liquid in directions using the "open pan method." This is cooking rice without a lid. I've never done it that way.

                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                It's what you often get off of boxes. I think they like to make absolutely sure you can't burn it, even with a badly fitting lid and too high a flame; people write "I followed your instructions to the letter..." letters. If you're satisfied with your rice that way, it's up to you, but it makes a much heavier, stickier dish than it needs to be.

                                                            2. re: sueatmo

                                                              My daughter's college roommate has Zojirushi rice cooker, and she has converted me. It really makes delicious rice. I don't like storing it, though - takes up a lot of space.

                                                        2. re: oldunc

                                                          I'm often not home to serve dinner for my family so I make the components in the morning and my husband assembles and serves it to the family that evening. Since brown rice needs to soak anyway I can leave it in the rice cooker and he can switch it on when he gets home. I use a lot of these appliances, not because I lack the cooking skills but because I need some help on those days, or the days that I get home at 7 and have to have dinner on the table before the kids go to bed.

                                                  2. We once received an avocado slicer/pitter that did nothing. Some things are just a waste of counter space and materials! This is the one: http://www.target.com/p/Avocado-Slice...

                                                    1. Cheese slicers. All of them. Hand me my knife.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                        Googs, I almost agree with you. You can have my Bjorklund cheese slicer when you pry it from my cold, dead hands. I believe the one I grew up with may have been a wedding gift from my aunt and Finnish uncle, and my parents kept using it years after the handle came off because no other cheese slicer was worth a damn. My brother eventually stole it when stocking his first kitchen, thinking he was taking one they wouldn't miss (no handle and all). Mom's response: "why do you think we kept using it???"

                                                        You should have seen the look of sheer rapture on my face when I impulse-bought mine. Not as good as my mom's, but better than the knife.

                                                        1. re: Wahooty

                                                          Wow, I didn't know she made cheese slicers.

                                                          1. re: Googs

                                                            Swan-shaped. Sucks when the feathers stick to the cheese.

                                                      2. Ok. No one's bought this for me, but I saw a banana slicer at Bed Bath & Beyond the other day, and it is a cake taker...

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                          I have been keeping my eyes open for a vanana slicer at thrift stores, no luck so far.


                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            You know, the thrift stores in my area seem to be upcharging so much for the recent surge in their popularity (presumably from the state of the economy) that I have better luck buying new things on sale or clearance from Cost Plus/Marshall's/Tuesday Morning than buying repurposed.

                                                            This is the one I saw:


                                                            1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                              I have been a part of that recent surge in thrift store shopping although I remember going to Goodwill as far back as ten years ago but mostly just for books. I don't know how much is because of the economy though. Certainly some of the clothes shopping can be because of the economy. I ahop at them for the thrill of the hunt because you never know what you'll find. I have gotten hundreds of dollars worth of knives including Wusthof and Henckels. My most recent knife score is this knife for $2.50

                                                              I also became a collector of peppermills. About 90% of the thrift shop oeppermills are junk but I have hundreds of dollars of them as well. Here is my latest peppermill score for .99¢.


                                                              I have also purchased quite a few Swiss Army knives, hunting knives and I recently bought a great handmade filet knife for $4. (I donated back the crappy kitchen knives that came with it).

                                                              I have two conclusions about my purchases. The people that paid for these knives and peppermills are likely not those that donated them. The staff at the thrift stores frequently do not know how to price the merchandise. I recently saw a few items for sale in a display case with the jewelry. They had 8 Kennedy 1/2 dollars minted in years from 1972 to 1978 priced at $2.93 each. I told the clerk that anyone could go to a bank and get as many of them as they wished to for .50¢ apiece. She just laughed.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                John E., I just had to come back and tell you that, while perusing the clearance shelf of the nearest big box grocer, I saw just the banana slicer I told you about on clearance for $0.25 and thought of you. :)

                                                          2. re: inaplasticcup

                                                            I bought a banana slicer for a gift last Christmas. The recipient? My nephew. He's loved bananas ever since he's been eating solid food, I think. When he was about 4 or 5 he sustained a "stitches required" injury to his hand as a result of trying to slice a banana while mom was out of the room. He is 22 now.... I doubt that he needs a banana slicer, and he probably hasn't ever used it, but I was a perfectly amusing gift!

                                                            1. re: Cheez62

                                                              Cool gag gift, Cheez. Too bad they probably didn't have those around when he was 4 and needed it! ;)

                                                          3. The thingie that you roll garlic in to loosen the skin...I must have had an insane moment...I mean, how hard is it to smack a garlic clove!!!

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: Mother of four

                                                              You know what? I got one of these things for .80¢ at a thrift store. When I want to loosen the skin of garlic cloves while leaving the cloves whole this thing works great.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                Well,I would have been delighted to give it to you for free! It most likely ended up in the trash!

                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  I just rub a couple cloves together in the palms of my hands and the skins come right off.

                                                                  1. re: Jen76

                                                                    I usually use just my fingertips. As ai said, if I have a whole bunch of garlic to peel, say an entired head or more, and I wish to keep the cloves whole, I have an .80¢ gadget that works well. It's not like I use it every time I use garlic. The same goes for our garlic press.

                                                              2. A Strawberry Huller. I didn't purchase it on my own. It came in a silent auction gift basket. I think I tried to use it once.

                                                                1. Bought this thing many, many years ago...how the hec??


                                                                  1. an apple peeler. The kind where you place the apple in the cotraption, and then turn a handle to peel it. Garbage.Waste of time.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: gordeaux

                                                                      My grandmother had one of these. Maybe that's why I was in charge of peeling the apples as a kid!