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Things you thought you didn't need but were wrong about, and things you thought you needed but really didn't

Thought I didn't need but was wrong:

Rice cooker
Electric kettle
Deep fryer
Stand mixer
Ice cream maker

Things I thought I needed but didn't:

Panini Grill
Slap chop (just kidding!!)

Oh one more..

Things I've been on the fence about for a really long time:

Quality bread knife
Quality paring knife
Quality roasting pan
Deep freezer (mine broke)
A cookie sheet that I only use for cookies

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  1. I love NOT having a garbage disposal -- when we replaced the sink we left it out. Now there's just a nice clean clear exit pipe that doesn't jam up or perpetually seem a little smelly.

    4 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      Unfortunately the covenants and restrictions of my neighborhood require disposers. The neighborhood is old enough that when this one goes out I may just have the sink re-plumbed with out one. There is a neighborhood assoc. but who is going to come and inspect my plumbing. Our pipe that connects to the disposer becomes clogged every other year and backs up spilling out into the pipe that my washing machine uses for emptying the washer. Garbage everywhere and 2 ruined floors. We have a compost bin, may as well make better use of it.

      1. re: Candy

        Sounds like my house! Huge f-ing mess.

        1. re: Candy

          It's because the pipe is insufficient, not the disposer. My parents have the same problem.

          1. re: MrsPaw

            It can also be due to misuse: overloading, putting things down it which don't belong there, insufficient water.

      2. I got married in the last year, so these are all registry-oriented.

        Things I thought I wanted but didn't need: fancy iced drink glasses (sooo impractical), waffle iron, turkey roasting pan, wooden salad bowl set, huge pizza pan, and my stand mixer. I like all of them, I just don't NEED them.

        Things I thought I didn't need but definitely do and am glad I got them: rice cooker, double-walled cocktail glasses (amaaaaazing), really good red wine and young white wine glasses, cast iron griddle pan with bacon press, Staub dutch ovens, gorgeous soup and serving bowls.

        And OP, if you are on the fence about those things, let me chime in and say you should never regret investing in good knives because they will last a long time. And I strongly advocate for a cookie sheet devoted only to cookies. I like the giant air-bake ones that can fit 24 cookies on at once.

        1. thought i didn't need (or want!) but was wrong:
          -slow cooker
          -white AND red wine glasses

          things i thought i needed but don't use:
          -paring knife
          -cookie sheets
          -chop wizard
          -deep fryer

          things i would never live without:
          -garbage disposal
          -full bar set up and wine fridge

          3 Replies
          1. re: jamieeats

            You don't use a colander? That surprises me. I expect you're better at draining things with just the pot and the lid than I am!

            1. re: Jeri L

              i just can't stand having to wash another dish!

              1. re: jamieeats

                Between my large scoop with holes (for chunky pasta) and good tongs, I never use my colender anymore for pasta.

          2. Thought I didn't need but was wrong:
            A pantry
            My Foodsaver
            A good ice cream scoop (I kept bending my spoons)
            A silicone basting brush
            Utensil crocks
            A couple of jelly roll pans with racks dedicated to savory cooking
            A couple of jelly roll pans with racks dedicated to baking
            All stainless steel serrated steak knives
            A hand held digital thermometer including infrared sensor
            A wooden spatula
            A handheld immersion blender (even better a cordless one)
            Prep bowls
            A balloon whisk and a flat whisk
            Clarified butter

            Things I thought I needed but didn't:
            An electric chopper
            A big wood chopping board (I use the flexible fiberglass(?) ones)
            A deep fat fryer (I use it a couple of times a year)
            Ice Cream Maker (haven’t used it in 2 years)
            High end (Henckel pro-s) steak knives

            Things I’m glad I have:
            Good Knives
            My All-Clad skillets
            Several timers especially the one that hangs around my neck
            A digital thermometer with alarm
            A garlic press
            A good pepper mill
            A silicone spatula
            Ove Gloves
            “Better than Bouillon” beef and chicken bases
            Bottled minced garlic (yeah I know. I have fresh too)
            A microplane
            A crock pot for stocks and pulled pork (unfortunately, that’s about it)

            7 Replies
            1. re: Hank Hanover

              Hank, tell me about the Better than Bouillon, please. I saw it yesterday and was tempted, but have never used it--do you use it in lieu of stock/broth? Is it super salty? Willing to give it a try, but not sure how to use it.

              1. re: pine time

                It is salty. They do have low sodium versions. My grocery store only has the low sodium in chicken flavor. It is a paste that has been cooked down from meat and bones. You use a teaspoon for every cup of liquid. I usually use it to augment canned stock or broth. It really tastes meaty. It will make a decent gravy with just water and a roux.

                There are alternatives. I have been thinking about buying the Minor's soupbases available at www.soupbase.com. You can get them in 16 ounce tubs and in low sodium versions. They are what restaurants use for sauces and gravies.

                Both products are expensive but the soupbase products are cheaper if you can use that much of it.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  I will vouch for Minor's low sodium bases and soupbase.com. Once you have it in the fridge you'll find you use it a lot.

                2. re: pine time

                  I use this product, both chicken and beef. I cooked black beans for chili in water and a little of the beef flavor.

                  If I don't have chicken broth, I use a little of the soup base to flavor the water. From time to time I've strengthened my homemade chicken broth with a little of the soup base as well.

                  Penzey's carries a similar product in a similar jar. They carry multiple flavors, including turkey. I haven't tried them yet, but I imagine they are much the same.

                  1. re: pine time

                    Additional reasons to like Better than Bouillon rather than stock: a) useful for when you want the flavor without the liquid, as in a saute (eg sauteed mushrooms); b) if you don't need a whole can/box worth of broth, you don't then have the leftover going bad in the refrigerator.

                    Large jar at costco is a good deal.

                    1. re: pine time

                      They are incredibly handy and don't take up a lot of space in the fridge. Also come in many flavors beyond chicken and beef - we're fond of the lobster, the fish, and the mushroom. The only one I find kind of disappointing is the vegetable one - thin and too tomatoey.

                    2. re: Hank Hanover

                      A pressure cooker is faster and quicker for making stock and many other things. I've got a crock pot that has not been out of my laundry room for about 10 years.

                    3. Things I didn't need but was wrong:

                      - Waffle Maker - I thought it was not necessary, but I really wanted one and I'm very happy I have it. I don't use it every day, but I do use it at least once a month (sometimes more often).
                      - Ice Cream Maker - I don't use it often, but when I make ice cream I'm glad I don't have to use my hand mixer
                      - Rice cooker - I use it to cook other grains as well

                      I love most of my gadgets even if I don't use them often.

                      Things I thought I needed but didn't:
                      - Whipped Cream Maker - I have this can with gas capsules to make whipped cream. Got it from W-S and never used it once.

                      1. Thought I didn't need but was wrong:

                        Fish poacher


                        cast iron griddle

                        kitchen tongs

                        heavy european meat cleaver

                        Things I thought I needed but didn't:

                        Kitchenaid mixer

                        Set of measuring ladles

                        4 basket pasta cooker

                        bird beak paring knife

                        Her kitchen witch

                        Deep freezer

                        Still on the fence


                        Gas grill

                        Live in a house instead of my boat.

                        1. In other words, things which turn out to be more useful vs things which turn out to be fairly useless.

                          Things I thought I don't need, but like:

                          Carbon steel wok
                          Cast iron skillet (despite all the good thing I said about cast iron dutch oven, it was the skillet which started me)
                          Cast iron Dutch Oven
                          Carbon steel frying pan
                          CCK Chinese cleaver/slicer
                          Carbon steel knives in general
                          Microplane style grater

                          Things I thought I needed but not:
                          stainless steel soap
                          stainless steel steamers
                          Calphalon hard anodized wok
                          a knife set by Tools of Trade
                          Wilton professional dessert decorator pro
                          Air insulated cookie sheet

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            What a fun question!

                            Things I thought I didn't need but was wrong about:

                            rice cooker--a friend talked me into it and I am glad

                            grill/griddle for stovetop. I had a grill pan, got rid of it, then we were given a grill/griddle that straddles two burners. I use it more than I would have thought.

                            Electric kettle. Had one, gave it up, moved to a new kitchen and decided having one would be good.

                            Things I thought I needed but was wrong:

                            pasta machine--though I still have it, and will someday get it out again.

                            probe thermometer--actually I still need this, but they never work properly for me so I have given up.

                            Things I am still on the fence about:

                            Garlic press: put it in the giveaway pile, then got it out, have recently ordered a new one on the theory that if I have a good one it will be useful.

                            Countertop oven--got one as a gift and haven't used it yet, but not quite sure I won't.

                            Things I know other people don't need, but to me they seem like necessities:

                            egg slicer

                            garbage disposal

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Interesting - air insulated cookie sheets make it to my "didn't realize I needed it until I got it" list. But that may be because I rarely bake actual cookies, while I frequently make my spicy cheese-olive balls - green olives wrapped in a very rich, spicy cheese dough. The dough is so full of cheese & butter that it used to be a real challenge to get the tops browned before the bottoms burned, but with these insulated sheets it's a snap.

                              1. re: BobB

                                by 'insulated' you mean the double layer variety, right? they are nice. necessary - I dunno, but nice.

                                1. re: BobB


                                  It is possible that I have more or less optimized and perfected my cookie recipes with the regular cookie sheets that air insulated cookie sheets made them worse. Maybe if I re-optimize my baking temperature and time, then I can find a condition which works with the insulated cookie sheets. As of now, they don't work for me.

                              2. Things I Thought I Didn't Need, that I Needed:

                                Rice Cooker
                                Fine Mesh Strainer
                                Pyrex mixing bowls (makes prepping great)
                                Prep bowls
                                Vegetable peeler (actually better than a paring knife)
                                Mini Food Processor

                                Things I Don't Actually Need, that I Thought I Needed:

                                Cheese slicer
                                Magic Bullet
                                Mini rolling pin (why??)

                                Things I'm on the Fence About Buying:

                                Quality roasting pan
                                White wine glasses and champagne flutes
                                Tortilla press
                                Garlic press (I feel like it's wrong, but I've seen Julia Child use one)

                                3 Replies
                                  1. re: caseyjo

                                    I've seen Cat Cora say she never chops garlic anymore, always presses. If it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me.

                                    lol I even broke a garlic press once by getting greedy and trying to press ginger... yeah... Now I microplane my ginger.

                                    1. re: SocksManly

                                      There was a fairly heated discussion not so long ago on chowhound about mincing vs pressing.
                                      I know it's hard to believe but it happened.

                                  2. It's hard to answer, because I've been cooking seriously for 25+ years now, and a lot of what I thought i wanted, but found out I didn't, is long gone and forgotten. But I can still come up with a few.

                                    Thought I didn't need, but I did:

                                    A big electric griddle, so I can cook many pancakes all at once. That's all I use it for, but it makes such a difference, it's worth it.

                                    A good cutting board (wood, edge grain) that is smaller. Not an issue if you can leave your big board out all the time, but I have cats, so my big board is stowed in a cabinet. If all I'm chopping is a couple jalapenos and a clove of garlic, it's overkill. I like having a small board of the same quality for small jobs.

                                    Breville convection toaster oven... oh, man... one of the best things I ever bought. I use this more than my wall oven. It cooks just as well, or better. Anything I can possibly fit in it, gets cooked in it. Roast chicken, rack of lamb. I will not be without one of these. The big oven, on the other hand, it could go!

                                    A meat cleaver. I realized I'd backed myself into a wall with my nice, thin Japanese knives. I needed to chop through a bone, and realized I didn't really have a knife for the job. I love thin knives for cutting veggies and slicing boneless meat, but sometimes you need something more substantial.

                                    Things I thought I needed, but I didn't:

                                    A mandoline. If you are good with a knife, you won't use it. I never do. And for some reason I have TWO! What was I thinking?

                                    Nonstick cookware - this is one of the things I thought I needed twenty-odd years ago. Mine is long gone. Completely unnecessary, once you learn how to cook. And yes, I mean unnecessary for omelets, scrambled eggs, fish, etc.

                                    A food processor - I have one, and I'm going to keep it, but I could really live without it. Everything I do in it, I have another way to do.

                                    Things I thought I needed, and was right:

                                    Good knives, but that doesn't always mean expensive knives. It means the right knife for the job.
                                    And a way to sharpen knives myself. I use an Edge-Pro. There are other ways, but I think every cook needs to figure this out.

                                    A good cutting board (or two or three).

                                    A splatter screen to put over a skillet when frying.

                                    Ventilation that vents to the outside, instead of just filtering and blowing back into the room. Boggles my mind that most houses these days do not have this.

                                    Comments on some of your on the fence items:

                                    On the knives, depends on what you mean by quality. A bread knife is not one I would spend a lot on. A Forschner bread knife is plenty good. The paring knife, go ahead and get a nice one.

                                    The roasting pan? Not worth it. You really don't need a fancy pan for roasting. Save your money for pans you use on the stove. You do want a real pan for roasting, but an All-Clad roaster (which I have) is not really worth it, IMHO. Note that most of the time, you will want to roast in a fairly small pan.

                                    A freezer - yes, I think it's worthwhile, but it depends upon your cooking style.

                                    The cookie sheet for cookies only? No. Put parchment down on a half sheet pan. Unless you are crazy about cookies. Those insulated cookie sheets. No way. Ick.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      I almost always use my roasting pan on the stove. While the roast rests on a cutting board I deglaze the pan and make a gravy or sauce with the fond.

                                      1. re: tim irvine

                                        +1 I do this too! Easy way to make the gravy, though a little cumbersome for small amounts.

                                    2. Thought I needed, but didn't: 8-inch copper frying pan

                                      Thought I didn't need, but do: 8-inch T-fal frying pan

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. I like this question!! Heres mine:

                                        Things I thought I wouldnt need but do:
                                        spice/coffee grinder (cant believe this hasnt been mentioned yet!!)
                                        stand mixer (with pasta attachments)
                                        prep bowls
                                        good non-stick pans
                                        dutch oven
                                        quality tupperwares (i do a lot of eating on the go)
                                        steamer basket
                                        good spatula

                                        things I thought id need, but dont really:
                                        ice cream machine
                                        box grater
                                        stand blender
                                        pasta drying racks
                                        pizza stone (i have switched to just using a heavy jelly roll pan turned upside down)

                                        things i dont use often, but when i do, i'm so glad i have them:
                                        food processor (homemade nut butters alone keep this off the dont need list)
                                        stick blender
                                        toaster oven

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                          I have to have my ice cream maker. It is a Cuisinart with its own compressor. Homemade coffee IC cannot be beat. Recently made Mocha Ice Cream with Guatemalan Antigua beans and Taza Chocolate extract with Mexican spices. OMG! Thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Store bought coffee IC cannot compare in any way . The producers use the cheapest beans they can get. It cannot begin to compare. Hmmm maybe I'll put some beans on to steep to make more tomorrow.

                                          1. re: Candy

                                            That sounds heavenly. I'd love the recipe if it's something you could share!

                                        2. wanted but didn't need:
                                          pasta mill (really a rolling pin and a knife gets you the same, it just takes more time)
                                          full set of cheap knives vs. a few great ones
                                          toaster oven (sometimes handy but too much counter real estate required)

                                          things I'm glad I did:
                                          rice cooker
                                          a roasting pan with a rack
                                          immersion blender
                                          a few really good knives
                                          and buying a decanter and good olive oil by the 3L can at a time instead of those poky 16 oz things

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: hill food

                                            Would someone weigh in on the rice cooker? I don't have one and I don't think I need one but so many have it on their list that I may need to reevaluate.

                                            1. re: melpy

                                              i personally dont understand the love affair with them. my mom has one and i use it when im at her house, but i always end up with much better rice just cookin it the old fashioned way in a pot!

                                              1. re: melpy

                                                Yeah, I'm trying to figure that one out, too.

                                                I always assumed they were frivolous toys but am trying to re-evaluate based on several people loving theirs.

                                                1. re: melpy

                                                  I make a lot of rice, and thought about getting one, but it seems to me they are likely optimized for East Asian restaurant style rice. I don't have much space, so decided against it.

                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                    Sure, I'll weigh in on it. For me at least, it isn't that the rice cooker makes better rice than I do. It doesn't. The appeal is strictly that it can be left unattended, and it cooks the rice, and then keeps it warm. When I do stir fries, I cook on an outdoor burner. I don't want to leave a pot of rice unattended on the stove while I'm outside. Also, it means I can set the thing up in the morning before work, and come home to hot rice already made. If I get home late and hungry, I don't have to wait. It's also great for steel-cut oatmeal, and stone-ground grits. Set it up the night before, and they are ready and waiting in the morning. Stone-ground grits take a long time to cook, so being able to cook them overnight is a big plus if I'm going to be in a hurry in the morning. All of these things are better on the stove, but the fact is, I just wouldn't be able to have them as often due to time constraints.

                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                      That's pretty much my position. I do know how to make rice--better than the rice cooker. But with the rice cooker I can put it on early and it takes care of itself, so I don't suddenly realize I've forgotten to start the rice. And I like it for brown rice and blends that take longer than ordinary white rice (which in my family's tradition cooks for 14 minutes.) The rice cooker eliminates the "we're waiting on the rice" side of things. Of course better organization on my part would have eliminated that just as effectively, and I realize that. So it's a luxury, but not a terribly expensive one, and I do have room for it.

                                                    2. re: melpy

                                                      rice? me? I'm hopeless, it's either crunchy or it's mush. while I don't flail about the kitchen with my hair on fire over other things I can set it and go worry about whatever instead and it is consistent with no pan burn. it is a soothing 'one last thing to stress over' item (and it only takes up 9x9" or something like 20x20 cm) but rice I never get rice just right. (dunce)

                                                      1. re: melpy

                                                        I have a rice cooker, and I've sworn by it since I've had it. I mainly wanted to do brown rice with a minimum of fuss. It turns out that the rice cooker does white rice superbly, and brown adequately. I now do brown rice in the pressure cooker, and that is the best brown rice I've ever made. And as a bonus, you get this lovely broth as well.

                                                        There are many ways to cook white rice. I've done it on the stove in a covered skillet, and in the microwave in a lidded casserole. Some microwave ovens have a rice cycle--the Japanese micros anyway.

                                                        Cooking brown rice is time consuming. I've seen instructions for baking brown rice, but my preference is for not heating up the kitchen for a vessel of brown rice. You can cook it for 40 minutes on the stove. You can use a rice cooker, which takes about an hour, but is idiot proof. Or, as I have discovered, you can use a pressure cooker.

                                                        I don't think you need a rice cooker unless you have a problem cooking rice with other methods. But they can be very handy to have if you cook rice often.

                                                        1. re: sueatmo

                                                          Now that we have this whole rice cooker sub-thread going, Do you recommend the expensive ones with things like "fuzzy logic" and timers or the cheap ones?

                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                            mine was a cheap POS and I was perfectly happy with it. but then I didn't ask much of it.

                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                              It depends on what you want out of your cooker. If the cooker does what you want it to, then it is the cooker for you. I bought a fuzzy logic because I wanted to be able to cook brown rice.

                                                              I recommend perusing this book before buying:

                                                              The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook, by Beth Hensperger. Her cookbooks are very thorough and you can get a sense of what different sorts of cookers can do. Perhaps your library owns a copy, or you might be able to put your hand on a copy at Barnes and Noble or other large bookstore.

                                                      2. We have just moved from a big US kitchen to a small Hong Kong kitchen for a year, so I have been thinking seriously about this question:

                                                        Things that I thought I would not need, but I did:
                                                        1. salad spinner
                                                        2. immersion blender
                                                        3. toaster

                                                        Things that I thought I would need but I don't:
                                                        1. blender
                                                        2. mixer
                                                        3. oven (I have a very smal table top one here)
                                                        4. dishwasher (I actually love doing dishes...go figure!)

                                                        Things that I felt a bit silly packing in my limited (two bag) luggage, but I am sure glad that I did:
                                                        1. microplane
                                                        2. wooden reamer for citrus
                                                        3. good knives

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: tippycanoegal

                                                          Can you come to my (dishwasher-less) house and do my dishes? :-P

                                                          1. re: emmekin

                                                            You got it! Just bring your dishes right on over here to Hong Kong.

                                                        2. I'm suprized the stand mixer rater so low, now that I have one I don't know how I didn't get one years ago, I used to dread making hamburgers or meatloaf as the cold meat would render my hands useless for a 15min after mixing by hand , now just drop in the KA, mixed better than by hand , same goes for sausage meat.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Dave5440

                                                            Because of the cold? What do you mean?

                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                              Hand mixing cold hamburger is, at the very least, uncomfortable. It makes your fingers cold.

                                                              1. re: melpy

                                                                "as the cold meat would render my hands useless"

                                                            2. Thought I didn't need, but was wrong:
                                                              slow cooker
                                                              multiple iron skillets
                                                              cast iron grill pan
                                                              my 2 Due Buoi spatulas
                                                              over the sink mesh strainer

                                                              Things I thought I needed but didn't
                                                              multiple cutting blades for my food processor
                                                              3 wooden salad bowls
                                                              set of wooden spoons
                                                              food chopper
                                                              ceramic knife
                                                              silicone steamer insert
                                                              electric skillet--a long, long time ago

                                                              Things I've been on the fence about for a very long time
                                                              immersion blender
                                                              new blender
                                                              new set of white china

                                                              12 Replies
                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                + one on the white china! For years I thought I would get some to replace our everyday dishes (which my parents bought on their honeymoon in 1956. I liked the idea of white dishes that could be changed up with different linens and serving pieces. But somehow it never happened, and I'm not sure I'm even on the fence any more. I may have gotten over the white china idea.

                                                                1. re: Cliocooks

                                                                  I got the cream stuff that was at Wal-Mart a couple of hears ago during the holidays. It matches lots of the antique/old cream dishes I already have. they aren't china, but they sure are nice to mix and match with the other stuff, like our wedding "china" (Denby stonewear). It was really inexpensive, too.

                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                    I woulda scoured thrift stores and garage sales, but I really like mix and match over a pristine table set. much more interesting.

                                                                    1. re: hill food

                                                                      I've thought of that. I have a mixed bag of white china serving pieces bought second hand and at antiquey stores. That's why I would like a set of plain white, for when I use the serving dishes.

                                                                      But any china ware I buy has to be able to go into the dishwasher. So, I won't be buying older china, as much as I'm drawn to it.

                                                                      1. re: sueatmo

                                                                        yeah, but if it's thrift store who cares? go all Zorba the Greek after dinner and fling them at the wall!

                                                                        I picked up 2 different sets of 6 bowls each last month for $4.11 at the Goodwill outlet in STL (old Famous-B warehouse by I-40 and I only mention that as sue is near there). granted I had to poke around the bins, but at that price point...goodbye paper plates.

                                                                      2. re: hill food

                                                                        Mom got it for me as a present. It was cheap, and it has a raised dot design that complements the Denby stonewear. I also have a bunch of stonewear, divided cafeteria plates. I'm not really allowed to come home with more thrift store/flea market/rummage sale dishes. Ran out of room to store them.

                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                          My wife made me promise not to bring home anything form a garage sale if i couldn't tell her what I was going to do with it."But it was such a good deal" wasn't good enough. That has saved me many times.

                                                                          I got a really nice set (8 place settings plus some serving dishes) of semi-collectable Bavarian china off Craigslist for $85.

                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                            But, I know what I would do with them, they all have very good uses. :-)
                                                                            Just no more cupboard space! I also like old jelly jar glasses, the small ones.
                                                                            The other thing is cookbooks. No more room at the inn.... ha!

                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                              yeah it's a sickness that deserves its own thread, if it doesn't already exist...

                                                                              I just try to not go in to them

                                                                  2. re: sueatmo

                                                                    Of your 'on the fence' items, I love my immersion blender. I never use the regular one any more... it's on its way to being a gift/recycle. What is a Due Buoi spatula and why is it so great?

                                                                      1. re: debbypo

                                                                        I live my immersion blender too! Can't tell you the last time I used the regular blender ( inherited from my parents so I don't feel too badly).

                                                                    1. My husband insisted and even though I thought it was silly, I went along with getting an instant hot water dispenser for our sink. I mean, I own a kettle and a microwave...I can heat water. The thing broke after three years or so, and the week it took to get it replaced included a whole lot of me whining "why do I have to wait four minutes for hot water!?" Best thing ever.

                                                                      Love our waffle iron and it gets a lot of use.

                                                                      I wanted a mandolin...and I wanted a good one, not a cheap version. Finally took the 150 buck plunge and...ick. hated using it. even with the guard, I was afraid of chopping off a finger...though it didn't really slice all that well (even after getting it replaced twice thinking the blade was dull.) My knife skills are decent, but way better than using that finger guillotine.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: lrhr

                                                                        Zojirushi's hot water boiler is also at the top of my list of things I didn't think I need but I did. My husband insisted too - now I couldn't live without it. My other ones are a salad spinner (only a necessity if you have a garden or buy at the farmer's markets), chopsticks, and that cheapo spatula my old roommate left behind.

                                                                        Things I didn't need: Convection oven.

                                                                        Things I probably should get, but live well without: Garlic press, food processsor. Stand mixer would probably go on the list too, except I have one - I use it but probably don't REALLY need it.

                                                                      2. I guess I'm jsut amazed at what's on the lists and how so many products are on both sides of the lists. Obviously there is alot of variation in what different people cook and that determines what items are must haves and which ones you could do without.

                                                                        My wife loves to bake, she could never survive without her stand mixer, but that's really the only thing it's used for. I grew up using a mandoline abd it just seems like a natural part of a kitchen to me, but then I'm not that good with a knife if I have to slice a lot of vegies, besides, I'm one of those people who love uniformity, and what better way to get all your zuccini disks the same thickness. We didn't have an enameled cast iron cocotte for decades, and I can't for the life of me figure out how we did without one, it's one of my most used kitchen items.

                                                                        There's a bunch of stuff we have that rarely gets used, the Icecream maker has got to top the list, we have two, one for inside and one for outside use. The blender doesn't get used much either, nor does the food processor.

                                                                        1. I have already replied but I had some additional thoughts.

                                                                          I had a cheapie food processor that got used a couple of times a year. I finally ordered a good one and I have started baking so we we will see if I use it ore often.

                                                                          I like my food scale but I am kinda anal about dividing things equally so a scale is how I put the same amount of batter in each cake pan or make meat balls uniform or even make sausage medallions uniform.

                                                                          I hadn't thought of an egg slicer and they are nice to have.

                                                                          I haven't gone with a rice cooker but I have always thought they were silly. I can cook rice in a pan. Perhaps I will have to reconsider.

                                                                          I think everyone has an insulated cookie pan that they never use.

                                                                          I keep meaning to make a hacked version of a crock pot with a digital thermo controller so I could just set the thing at 195° F and leave it there. The modern ones go up to 325° F.

                                                                          I wouldn't mind getting a heavy cleaver sometime.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                            kitchen scale!! the only way i can explain that i forgot that is that i use it so often, its just second nature!

                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                              Me too on the kitchen scale. I didn't mention it, but I cannot live without it. Use it every day. It would go into the category of things I thought I needed, and was right.

                                                                            2. Used more than expected:

                                                                              Immersion blender
                                                                              Microplane grater
                                                                              Hankotsu (Japanese boning knife - great for chicken esp)
                                                                              Slow cooker (my primary vessel for cooking sous vide)

                                                                              Used less than expected:

                                                                              Bread knife (only a few times a year)
                                                                              Grill pan (gets used every once in a while as designed, but OTOH flipped over it's my best option for making neopolitan pizza at home in the oven)
                                                                              Drip coffee maker (I've moved on to nerdier methods)
                                                                              Hand mixer (never use it since I got the immersion blender)
                                                                              Blow torch (good for brulee'd desserts, but I imagined I'd use it more for browning meats)

                                                                              On the fence about buying:

                                                                              Left handed yanagiba (sushi knife) or usuba (vegetable knife)
                                                                              Chinois (cheap fine mesh strainer and cheese cloth work pretty well)
                                                                              Nicer tongs (mine are the $2 wire tongs your mom used to have)
                                                                              Stand mixer
                                                                              Full-size food processor (I have a very small one, and I use my knives reasonably well)
                                                                              Dehydrator (you can do a lot in an oven on the lowest setting.. but not everything)

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                tongs - if you can find the kind that have thermo hand grips and a spring-loaded clasp with a quick hip-bump release at the hinge?...

                                                                                mmmmm, you'll feel like a wild west gunslinger wielding those babies. grilling and frying will never be the same. the ones you describe are fine. but the ease and fun factor are escalated (albeit in a purely self-satisfying way) they are to regular tongs what a switchblade is to a Scout knife.

                                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                  =Another category=

                                                                                  Popular items I don't have but WILL NOT buy because I'm pretty sure I won't use em:

                                                                                  - Enameled CI pots of any sort
                                                                                  - Copper cookware (okay, I'd use it if i had it, but it's too expensive and not that much better than what I already have)
                                                                                  - Toaster oven
                                                                                  - Double boiler (a bowl works fine)
                                                                                  - Dedicated steamer (lots of ways to steam things without buying a specialized pot)
                                                                                  - Pretty much anything I've ever seen on an infomercial
                                                                                  - A wok (I don't have burner that I could use it properly on; maybe someday)
                                                                                  - Kitchen shears (can't do anything I don't already do with my knives, regular scissors work for cutting nori)
                                                                                  - Electric knife
                                                                                  - Serrated tomato knife (I barely use the only serrated knife I have)
                                                                                  - Egg slicer

                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                    I got a set of kitchen shears (several different sizes, uses) and love the big one for cutting up chicken and cutting the lobster tail shell. My sister gave them to me, I probably would have never bought them, but they sure are nice to have.

                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                      It's not that kitchen shears are a bad tool. Just that I already have tools that can do what shears do. I have a knife that cuts through chicken backs and lobster tails just fine.

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        I know, I hear ya, and I thought the same thing. But, once I had the shears, well, it was so much easier.
                                                                                        But, I'm not telling you to go buy some.

                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          I have 2 sets of shears that I picked up at Home Goods. I use them all the time.

                                                                                      2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        I use the bread knife for my tomato.

                                                                                    2. Just got a cherry pitter.... wow! Never thought I'd need it, but it's great! I had gotten a bunch of cherries, husband doesn't like them, so I dried them. The cherry pitter was essential. I may only use it once a year, but would hate to be without it.

                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: wyogal

                                                                                        I like an unbent paper clip (the larger size) better.

                                                                                        1. re: sr44

                                                                                          I'd probably injure myself with that.

                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                            Okay, I'll bite--how the heck do you use an unbent paper clip to pit a cherry? In fact, I was looking for a pitter just yesterday, to no avail.

                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                              Unbend the paper clip in the middle and use the narrower end to hook out the pit.

                                                                                                1. re: sr44

                                                                                                  I'm still having a hard time picturing it. You should make a "Chow Tips" video - how to pit cherries using a paper clip. I'd watch that!

                                                                                                  1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                    I'm envisioning myself flinging cherry pits around the kitchen whilst trying to fill a pie! (I'm not very coordinated, needless to say.)

                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                      coordinated or not it IS always a tempting idea. (easier if one has staff)

                                                                                                  2. re: sr44

                                                                                                    I use my cherry pitter for olives also. I'm not sure the paper clip would work as well there as the texture of most olives is firmer than that of cherries.

                                                                                            2. re: wyogal

                                                                                              Cherry pitter also works great for pitting olives. I use it for that more than cherries.

                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                Why haven't I thought of that? Need to see if I can find mine!

                                                                                              2. re: wyogal

                                                                                                Love my cherry pitter for pitting olives, too--usually I'm happy to leave the pits in, but sometimes I want to use my olives I for a recipe.

                                                                                                I'd be afraid of the metal in a paperclip not being safe for food, not to mention all the germy possibilities . . .

                                                                                              3. Things I didn't think I needed, but did:

                                                                                                Rice cooker (love not having to watch it and just let it sit until I am ready)

                                                                                                Immersion blender - so handy for cream soups and other dishes from time to time. One without electrical tape all down cord to cover burnt patches from hot stove burner would be good.

                                                                                                Smaller collander - use it to wash rice or to strain things, easy to clean and doesn't fill up the sink.

                                                                                                Good quality large wooden pepper mill - possibly stolen from the Loose Moose in kingston after a night of too much drinking many many years back.

                                                                                                Kitchen tongs - can do everything and anything with these. Learned that from working in restaurants years back. Just the cheap ones, nothing fancy required.

                                                                                                Dishwashing brush

                                                                                                Things I don't need:

                                                                                                Wafflemaker - what a waste of space. Been years.

                                                                                                Magic Bullet - a Xmas gift years back. Never used.

                                                                                                Digital wireless oven thermometer - useless, batteries all corroded when I took it out one year for a turkey.

                                                                                                Coffee Grinder - too much work, too little benefit.

                                                                                                Mortar and Pestle - kind of on fence, sure I will use it for something other then smushing mint for mohitos.

                                                                                                Popover pans - had to have them, drove all over the city and paid $30 for a six cup rack. Used twice. Very good popovers though.

                                                                                                Oven Mitts. Take up too much space, dishtowels work just as well for me. Odd fire aside.

                                                                                                Cast Iron Skillet that I have moved around from house to house. Can't bring myself to throw it out but doesn't look clean enough to cook in anymore.

                                                                                                Kitchen Canisters - does anyone still have these? Flour, Sugar, Tea and one for junk bits and parts.

                                                                                                More coookie sheets, one which I swear will only be for cookies and won't look like something from Chernobyl.

                                                                                                Giant sized French White casserole dish. Only fits in the basement.

                                                                                                Paninni Grill - fun for a month or two, then to the top back shelf to die.

                                                                                                More then one good quality cutting board

                                                                                                Poultry skewers

                                                                                                Glue Gun

                                                                                                Mini handheld vacuum

                                                                                                Veggie steamer basket insert

                                                                                                Double boiler pan that always comes with the set
                                                                                                Pampered Chef "food gun" with various attachments. To much space for fancy devilled eggs twice a year.

                                                                                                Things I want:

                                                                                                Individual oven safe serving dishes (like French Onion Soup bowls) or individual casserole dishes for dinner parties. Always seems too much of an impulse buy for something that I won't use that often, but want them.

                                                                                                One of the fancy cast iron colourful oven casserole dishes, the French name. Maybe from Winners someday.

                                                                                                Things I can't believe they sell and people buy:

                                                                                                Hotdog and bun steaming machine.

                                                                                                Slushie Drink Machine / Margarita Maker

                                                                                                electric pizza maker

                                                                                                Cotton Candy Maker

                                                                                                I coiuld go on and on, just take a stroll through a department store kitchen section, or sorse, a Home Sense or big box retailer like Linens and Things.

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: HandPay

                                                                                                  Yes! Kitchen canisters! Maybe I like a minimalist look, plus I have plenty of cabinet space, so never saw the need for canisters.

                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                    Oh man, I gotta have cannisters - I always wish I had more. We get bugs here and and a bunch of places I've lived we had mice.

                                                                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                      yeah and just 'cause the outside SAYS flour/sugar/coffee/tea doesn't mean that's what has to be in there.

                                                                                                      and to matt downstream - I also got a kick out of some items on the same list. and I think I can say I have never used a glue gun or a vacuum in any cooking procedure. YMMV.

                                                                                                  2. re: HandPay

                                                                                                    how did glue gun and mini handheld vacuum make one of these lists? lol

                                                                                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                      I might need a mini vac for the kitchen if I didn't have a dog!

                                                                                                    2. re: HandPay

                                                                                                      In the Things I can't believe they sell and people buy category, you forgot a s'mores maker, the quintessential useless object.

                                                                                                      Not sure I have canisters but I do have some clear plastic snap lock containers in my pantry that I store flour, sugar, rice, breakfast cereal, and noodles in. If I was to put them side by side on the counter, they would look a lot like a set of canisters.

                                                                                                      1. re: HandPay

                                                                                                        Don't give up on that cast iron skillet. A small amount of TLC and you will have a great pan for life. I swear by my cast iron skillets. I miss them here (Hong Kong) where all I have are lightweight pans and a fairly good wok. I have learned that the common (in Asia) counter-top double burners that are powered by propane tank outdoors are fantastic in terms of high heat and for the first time in my life, I can actually use a wok the way it is meant to be used in my home kitchen.

                                                                                                      2. Thought I didn't need:
                                                                                                        Cast iron skillet(s)
                                                                                                        Enameled cast iron dutch oven(s)
                                                                                                        Mortar and pestle
                                                                                                        Kitchen tongs
                                                                                                        Salad spinner
                                                                                                        Weird little rubber square that you use to grip and open tight jar lids

                                                                                                        Turns out I didn't need:
                                                                                                        Wooden salad bowl(s) and utensils
                                                                                                        Garlic press
                                                                                                        BBQ grill fork

                                                                                                        Things I should use more but don't because I hate cleaning and/or dragging them out:
                                                                                                        Blender/food processor
                                                                                                        Broiler in oven (by the way, I don't know how my mom managed to cook most of our meat on the broiler at home without having kitchen tongs)

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                                                                          ill take any cast iron you dont feel you need

                                                                                                        2. Useless: pasta machine maker, fondue maker set, Calphalon anodized cookware, donut maker

                                                                                                          Most Useful: cast iron and carbon steel pans, Vitamix, Henckel knives, ice cream maker, slow cooker

                                                                                                          Underutilized: pressure cooker, enamel Dutch oven, food processor, mandoline, bread machine, wok

                                                                                                          GE Double oven range with high power burners makes cooking faster.

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Rigmaster

                                                                                                            I want to encourage you to use your pressure cooker. Its a great tool.

                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                              A pressure cooker would have been on my list of things I've used more than expected, except that I sort of expected I would use it a lot when I bought it. It's a great tool, though it takes a little bit of study and trial & error to figure out how to use it best.

                                                                                                            2. re: Rigmaster

                                                                                                              Fondue set! Damn, that's so unnecessary to us I forgot we even had it to put on my list.

                                                                                                            3. Never thought I needed a fish spatula. my husband brought me one and it's rarely out of my hands when I cook. I swear by it. Same goes for my box grater.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                                                                                                                oh a box grater is basic and universal, never apologize for one of those even if you don't use all four sides

                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                  If you don't use all sides - it's because you're keeping one side sharp. ;)

                                                                                                              2. it seems like everyone should trade - some like the air bake cookie sheets, others put it in the "could live without" category --- funny. thought i didn't need but now i like good nonstick pan really good tongs thought i would like but never use slow cooker (got rid of it) Cuisineart griddle/panini press thermal bodum (coffee press) - it's hard to clean out w/o using a lot of water and then pouring the mess down the drain (clogs) those graters that look like woodworking tool -- from Sur La Table - have two but never used.

                                                                                                                can't live without an ages old collection of various picardie glassware - i think originally from wm-sonoma in the 80's. toaster (just a plain pop-up toaster melita filter cone coffee maker (i boil the water, pour thru the cone) an ancient robot coupe food processor stick blender hand mixer good knives good thermometers zyliss cheese grater (i have one specifically for nutmeg) box grater good saucepans - but i have way more than i'd ever be able to use good roast pan vintage pyrex fridge dishes (covered, for storage) large maple cutting board (the type with a "moat" around edge to gather juices from roast etc. balloon whisk - a good big one. a set of three pyrex measure jugs a set of metal dry measures a set of measure spoons silicone spatulas (the type that you mix with, not a "lifter" - with metal handles - go in dishwasher) a good dishwasher a kitchen sink with built-in drain board on the side colanders lettuce spinner warming oven microwave a decent fridge

                                                                                                                i have a really good hand rotary egg beater that i bought from a mennonite or some such source where electricity is not used in the homes - it cost a lot but gee this thing is worth it --- it is used for whipping cream etc instead of the wasteful gas-bomb type of whip cream dispenser - from europe, name like Zia or something - i have but never use it.

                                                                                                                1. Thought I Needed but Did Not:
                                                                                                                  Waffle iron
                                                                                                                  immersion blender
                                                                                                                  elec griddle
                                                                                                                  food processor
                                                                                                                  coffee grinder
                                                                                                                  Espresso machine
                                                                                                                  electric skillet
                                                                                                                  Mortar and Pestle

                                                                                                                  Things I Thought I Didn't Need but Did:
                                                                                                                  Pressure cooker
                                                                                                                  prep bowls
                                                                                                                  2nd (bigger) slow cooker
                                                                                                                  spring-loaded tongs
                                                                                                                  a second pair of spring-loaded tongs

                                                                                                                  Things I Knew I Didn't Need and Were on the "Forbidden List" When DW and I Got Married:
                                                                                                                  Electric can opener
                                                                                                                  Bar sets
                                                                                                                  Fondue sets
                                                                                                                  Single-task appliances/cookware
                                                                                                                  Anything related to Elvis

                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                    forbidding anything related to elvis??? say it aint so!

                                                                                                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                      yeah what if they were Elvis tongs, or an Elvis pressure cooker? (Hello Kitty has a whole line of appliances that someone might need/want, why not Elvis?)

                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                        a toaster that put elvis' face on some toast (a la hello kitty's toaster) would be interesting...

                                                                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                          I've seen branding irons with the image of the virgin Mary and Jesus for tortillas - so why not?

                                                                                                                        2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                          An Elvis brand Santoku knife....would be irresistible.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                                                                            Dibs on the patent for the peanut butter and banana grilling machine with sequins and duck tail shaped handle. Extra for the black velvet and TCOB in rhinestones.

                                                                                                                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                              i feel like for the truly authentic experience, itd have to be a deep fryer.

                                                                                                                    2. Things you would have to pry from my cold dead hands:
                                                                                                                      Blendtec blender - powerful, easy to clean, versitile - use it every day
                                                                                                                      Wusthof knife set
                                                                                                                      LeCreuset pots: braiser + 3.5 qt and 7.25 qt
                                                                                                                      Pepper Grinder
                                                                                                                      All Clad 1 qt & 2 qt sauciers
                                                                                                                      12" cast iron skillet (passed down from my Mom)

                                                                                                                      Things I thought I would use more:
                                                                                                                      Cuisinart food processor (my blender does nearly everything the FP used to do)
                                                                                                                      Fancy All Clad Roaster - it's good, just don't use it that often
                                                                                                                      Rotary cheese grater

                                                                                                                      On the Fence:
                                                                                                                      Zojirushi rice maker - I know it is good, but I make good rice now

                                                                                                                      1. Thought I didn't need but was wrong:

                                                                                                                        Pressure cooker (more about this in a sec)
                                                                                                                        Rice cooker
                                                                                                                        Good quality knives
                                                                                                                        Ice cream maker

                                                                                                                        Couldn't live without:

                                                                                                                        Garlic press
                                                                                                                        Chinese cleaver
                                                                                                                        Food processor

                                                                                                                        Things I've bought, used once, and given away:

                                                                                                                        Pasta maker
                                                                                                                        Bread machine

                                                                                                                        Things I could live without:

                                                                                                                        Electric skillet (a gift)
                                                                                                                        Electric hot pot (another gift)

                                                                                                                        More about the pressure cooker: Friends gave this to us a couple of months ago because they'd bought one for themselves and realized how great it was. I would have never, ever, ever bought one for myself, and I thought I've never use it - but the first time I did, I was hooked! So much flavor in so little time!!!

                                                                                                                        1. Things I really appreciate that weren't on my first list of must haves:
                                                                                                                          Pressure cooker
                                                                                                                          Saute pans
                                                                                                                          Cast iron pans
                                                                                                                          Grill pan
                                                                                                                          Roasting pans
                                                                                                                          Good knives (have a great Shun collection and can't believe I used junk for so long)
                                                                                                                          Good dish towels
                                                                                                                          Wall pot rack!!

                                                                                                                          Things I thought I needed but haven't proven that useful:
                                                                                                                          Nonstick pans
                                                                                                                          Sauce pans (much prefer the sauciers I have)
                                                                                                                          Food processor (very embarrassed that it's still in its box unused after more than a year)
                                                                                                                          Air cookie sheets (granted, I'm trying to use them for roasting which is the wrong use)

                                                                                                                          Things I could probably live without but appreciate having:
                                                                                                                          Ice cream maker
                                                                                                                          Immersion blender
                                                                                                                          Crepe pan

                                                                                                                          Stuff I returned or wish I hadn't bought:
                                                                                                                          Fry pan (returned, constantly flipped food out of it!)
                                                                                                                          Deep sauce pans
                                                                                                                          Orange squeezer, handheld

                                                                                                                          Stuff I still need:
                                                                                                                          End grain cutting board
                                                                                                                          Roasting rack

                                                                                                                          On the fence about:
                                                                                                                          Copper bowl
                                                                                                                          2-2.5 qt ECI french oven
                                                                                                                          Breville Smart Oven


                                                                                                                          1. never needed a rice cooker, my garage freezer burned out a number of years ago and I do really need to replace it. Decided that the LC yellow tagine was gorgeous but a lot of Morrocans use pressure cookers of which I already have 2. I usually use 1/2 sheet pans lined with parchment for cookies and many other things, I do have 2 insulated cookie sheets but rarely use them. Being in the cookware business makes me give a lot of thought to what I might buy for my own kitchen

                                                                                                                            1. Things I thought I needed but didn't:

                                                                                                                              Meat mincer/grinder attachment for my Kenwood Chef - useless
                                                                                                                              Smoothie maker - I enjoy eating fruit (their individual flavours and textures) so not sure why I bought something that ruins that.
                                                                                                                              Santoku knife - Already had a chef's knife that does exactly the same thing.

                                                                                                                              Things I thought I didn't need but I did:

                                                                                                                              nothing at all. I buy things as I go along and when need arises and I have also curbed to nil my impulse buying or buying whilst under the influence of hype created in forums.

                                                                                                                              Things I'm sitting on the fence about:

                                                                                                                              I never sit on a fence. That is dangerous to life because you may fall like Humpty Dumpty or you may get impaled in an uncomfortable place by a fence pole. Aside from those it would have to be a damn sturdy fence to hold me without collapsing. :)

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: iliria

                                                                                                                                LOL about that damn sturdy fence. I always like fiction writer Alexander McCall Smith's description of African "traditionally built" women. Great term for those of us who love food and don't fit into size 2s!

                                                                                                                              2. Thought I didn't need but was wrong:

                                                                                                                                Electric knife (really!!)
                                                                                                                                Potato ricer (used more for spinach than potatoes)
                                                                                                                                Butter bell
                                                                                                                                Ceramic ginger grater
                                                                                                                                Pizza cutting wheel

                                                                                                                                Things I thought I needed/wanted but should have left the store without them:

                                                                                                                                Grain mill attachment for stand mixer
                                                                                                                                Butter baller
                                                                                                                                Melon baller
                                                                                                                                Rice cooker (hated the rice crust at the bottom and foamy spill-over at the top, yuck)
                                                                                                                                Scanpan skillet (size is nice though)
                                                                                                                                Electric skillet
                                                                                                                                Black & Decker mini-food processor

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                  Interesting thread...

                                                                                                                                  Things I thought I didn't need but was wrong:
                                                                                                                                  Santoku knife with cover - use it every day
                                                                                                                                  Kitchen shears - I use it for everything, makes my prep work so quick
                                                                                                                                  Rice cooker - I can't make rice to save my life
                                                                                                                                  All in one steamer, fryer, slow cooker - Got this as a wedding present a decade ago and never used the deep fryer in the closet. This thing is perfect.
                                                                                                                                  Tongs - I grew up using a turner but culinary school changed that habit.
                                                                                                                                  Toaster oven - Also an every day item

                                                                                                                                  Things I thought I needed but don't use:
                                                                                                                                  Food processor
                                                                                                                                  Deep fryer
                                                                                                                                  Cast Iron skillets - too heavy and my husband doesn't clean them properly
                                                                                                                                  Pizza stone

                                                                                                                                  On the fence:
                                                                                                                                  Immersion blender
                                                                                                                                  Mini chopper
                                                                                                                                  Cookie only Cookie sheet

                                                                                                                                2. +1 on the rice cooker and deep fryer. Took me thirty years to decide to get both, and I don't know why I waited. I guess I was using pots for both, and was managing just fine ...enough.

                                                                                                                                  1. "Need" is a difficult word for me when it comes to anything in the kitchen. All I really NEED is a campfire and a stick to cook with so I won't burn my fingers. That said, I do have a fully equipped (and then some, because I CANNOT get rid of anything "kitchen"), so let me phrase things a little differently.

                                                                                                                                    THINGS I HAD A REALLY HARD TIME GETTING MYSELF TO PLUNK DOWN THE MONEY FOR, BUT I'M SOOOOO GLAD I DID!
                                                                                                                                    Jura Capresso super automatic espresso machine. Who knew I could get this damned addicted to crema???
                                                                                                                                    My kitchen torch. I thought it was frou frou. Hey, it turns out I'm frou frou too...!

                                                                                                                                    THINGS I BOUGHT THAT I WAS PRETTY SURE I WOULD USE A LOT, AND I DO!!!
                                                                                                                                    Cuisinart Smart Stick cordless immersion blender. Look, Ma, NO CORD!!! Love it.
                                                                                                                                    Max Burton induction hot plate. WOW! It's money that stays in my pocket instead of going to the electric company!
                                                                                                                                    StirChef... My magic gadget that attaches to a sauce pan and stirs the contents. Which means even arthritic hands cam make risotto...!!! YAY, StirChef!

                                                                                                                                    THE DUMBEST THINGS I EVER BOUGHT:
                                                                                                                                    Pasta machine. I paid two hundred 1975 dollars for it. That's $854.33 in 2012 money! That's how much it cost me to find out I do not like fresh pasta!
                                                                                                                                    Then there's the silly plastic thingie that turns hard boiled eggs into CUBES! But I don't resent it nearly as much as I resent the silly damned pasta machine.

                                                                                                                                    THE DUMBEST THING I'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN:
                                                                                                                                    CorningWare Microwave Steak Broiler. Pyroceram glass with metal bits embedded in it that you heated in the microwave for 20 MINUTES, then took it out and dropped steaks onto its surface and God help you if you had a smoke alarm! STUPID!

                                                                                                                                    THINGS I THOUGHT I WOULD USE A LOT MORE THAN I DO, BUT I'M STILL GLAD I HAVE THEM:
                                                                                                                                    Sous Vide Supreme. I thought I would sous vide everything. Turns out that not everything is all that great when sous vied (new verb!). But there is no better way on planet earth to cook a steak or soft boil an egg!!!!
                                                                                                                                    Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I do love it and it's not new, by any means. But I don't use it that much any more because I used it primarily for making breads and other baked goods, and that's all stuff that packs on the pounds. Especially when you live alone. But I'm glad it's there just in case I decide I'm sick of store bought English muffins...!
                                                                                                                                    I'm sure I have a very large collection of things that would fit in this category. Truth is when you need a specific tool to do a specific job, nothing else will work. So I'm really glad I have all of those things I only use once or twice a year. When they come out to help, it's like an old friend helping out. Wouldn't trade 'em for anything.
                                                                                                                                    Belgian Waffle Iron. I made up my own recipe, and my Belgian waffles turn out like crispy clouds. Eggos are dreck! '-)

                                                                                                                                    THINGS I DON'T HAVE ANYMORE BUT WISH I DID!
                                                                                                                                    Ceiling pot rack in my kitchen. I was never without one for over thirty years, but there is no room for one in this house because I have a HUGE hood over the island cook top. I love my island cook top because it means I can see the people I'm talking to while I cook, but... If I still had one, I'd have at least two full cupboards and a drawer to use for other kitcheny thingamajiggies! Who doesn't need that???
                                                                                                                                    Potato Ricer. In a moment of extee largesse, I gave it to my daughter. She doesn't use it.

                                                                                                                                    THINGS I'M GLAD I DIDN'T BUY
                                                                                                                                    A rice cooker. I don't need more carbs in my life!
                                                                                                                                    A crock pot. No. Wait. I have one. Well, it also works as a deep fryer and a fast cooker as well as slow. But it hasn't gotten out of the pantry in years!

                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                      A crock pot. No. Wait. I have one. Well, it also works as a deep fryer and a fast cooker as well as slow.

                                                                                                                                      Tell me more about this.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                        Here you go: http://tinyurl.com/6nutkab

                                                                                                                                        I received mine as a wedding present when I married the first time in 1955. Through the years I have lost the lid (but I have a glass one the fits just fine!), as well as the removable handle to the French fry basket, but other than that it is in excellent working order. The problem for me now is that it is heavier than my poor old hands can readily handle, but...! If I ever find a housekeeper as interested in cooking as I am, I'm ready! It's about as easy to clean as many of today's deep fat fryers, except as I remember, it has a better recovery time. The cooking surface/pot is permanently joined to the body of the unit, and that makes it a bit of a chore to clean, but not impossible. It makes great French fries, donuts, pot roast, Irish stew, chicken and dumplings, soups. but it is -- alas! -- truly useless for making waffles or panini. It functions perfectly as a crock pot, it just doesn't have a removable crock! I suspect it would work as a pretty darn good rice cooker too, but as I said in my post you're responding to, I do NOT need more carbs in my life...!!! '-)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                          Thanks. I may go for this. I can use another multi-tasker. I get the urge to deep fry maybe twice a year at the most, so a dedicated fryer is out of the question. Now, where to store it...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                                            Where to store it? Oh, Dear Heart, wait until you're my age!!! '-)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                        A crockpot is one of my basic essentials. In recent months I've used mine for braised turkey parts, oxtail stew, boiled corned beef, baked ham, goulash, and chile colorado. And that's just what pops into my mind right now. Oh, yes, great for making broth, too.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                          Yeah, but my crock pot also makes French Fries and donuts! '-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                            Never heard dog a crockpot that can do double duty as a fryer! The ones I've used just go up to a gentle stewing temp.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                              One of my post directly above has a picture of mine! '-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                A slow cooker is normally held below 212° F. because it contains water. At that temperature, the energy is going into the heat of evaporation of the water. If you fill a slow cooker with oil instead of water, it should get hotter.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                  It takes a crockpot at least an hour just to get up to speed. And that's 212 degrees. For frying, you want, oh about 360 degrees, yes? I'm still bring to get my mind around the slow cooking / hot frying options.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                                                                                                                    Here 'tis again, Sharon: http://tinyurl.com/6nutkab
                                                                                                                                                    I have one exactly like this, and I HAVE used it as a crock pot, even if it doesn't have a crock, and I've also used it as a deep fat fryer. It's designed to multi-task. Not many companies are willing to sell you one thing that does many jobs these days. They want to sell you many things that only do one thing. It's a counter top real estate war!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                      Sunbeam claimed that the CF5 could be set to cook anywhere from a simmer to 425F. I think we can't buy such versatility today because of the liability: I can imagine someone set a CF5 to cook at 425F for 8 hours, burned down the house, then sued Sunbeam... "Litigation Nation" (f.k.a. USA).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: drongo

                                                                                                                                                        If U.S. manufacturers believe that (I don't think they do), then how far can we be from stoves with burners that only achieve one temperature each? I think it's more about getting you to buy more things than fears regarding consumer safety. If that was the case, we couldn't buy knives!

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                            I would ask for my potato river back. The amount of stuff I have had to return because my mother wanted to give it to my sister because my sister threw a tantrum is ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                          3. A number of years ago I bought a fuzzy logic rice cooker. It works well, but I really don't need it. I almost never eat rice any more, especially as a separate side dish. Early on, I did get some use out of it, but I haven't gotten my money's worth, I'm afraid.