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You down with OTP? Yeah you know me!

Question linked to another thread. What OTP (One Trick Pony) gadgets do you make room for in your kitchen? By OTP I mean gadgets used for one purpose that are replaceable by something else. Here's a couple of mine:

An "X" on a stick used for breaking up ground meat, replacing a spatula or spoon. It's not something I would have bought for myself, but it was given to me as a gift, and to my surprise it really works well. Far from languishing in a drawer, it gets used three or four times a month.

A scraper meant to move chopped veggies from the cutting board to a cooking pan. This was something I always did with the knife blade, but the scraper does a really good job of grabbing all the veggies at once. Again, not something I would have bought for myself, but now I wouldn't be without it.

For me the utility of a doodad is not just asking whether or not I have room for it, but whether it's worth cleaning it once I use it. These two passed the test. What are yours?

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  1. I officially LOVE the title of this thread.

    Pie shields. I used to just form some foil and put it on pie crust until someone bought me proper pie shields. The real deal works better and is easier than performing last-minute aluminum foil origami.

    Apple corer. When the CSA starts giving me apples by the dozen come autumn, I am very thankful for the corer that sits in my gadget drawer all year long.

    1. A long time ago, I asked for the definition of a one-trick pony.

      <By OTP I mean gadgets used for one purpose >

      That is the kind of definition I see too, but then we have to define "one purpose". Afterall, I can say a kitchen knife is a one trick pony which can do only one thing: Cut. Or the cutting board which is to be cut on. Yet, extremely few people would associate a cutting board or a knife being a one trick pony.

      My guess is that the task itself has to be very specific, restrictive and rare. For example, I saw a watermelon cutter just last week. The task is specific because the tool is design to cut a melon. It is also restrictive because it cut the melons in a very specific pattern. Finally, this occurs rarely.

      In term of unitaskers, I have two which I like. I have a Korean Dolsot, and I have an egg waffle iron. I don't use them very often and they are specific, but they are great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        As with so much in life, it's an I know it when I see it thing rather than defined. A gadget designed for opening, pitting and slicing avocados = OTP. Paring knife = not OTP. Pastry brush = on the border, since you can use it for slathering on both egg washes on rolls and BBQ sauces on meat.

        I don't demand that things be clearly defined, which probably explains my politics.

      2. There's no room for relationships, just room to HIT IT. Appropriately enough (in a few ways, you see what I did there?!), the meat mallet. Before being gifted this thing, I was using a large rubber hammer, which has all kindsa uses in and out of the kitchen. If the meat mallet ever breaks, I wouldn't be too upset

        2 Replies
        1. re: BiscuitBoy

          I love my rubber mallet. I have 2; one for the garage and one for the kitchen (handles marked appropriately).

          As I posted elsewhere, my latest 2TP (strawberries and tomatoes) is this:


          1. re: Pwmfan

            Oh, I have an OXO strawberry huller of about the same design. Never considered using it for tomatoes! Will have to give that a try next time I am canning tomatoes.

        2. I have a parmesan cheese knife that was gifted to me maybe 10 years ago???..I love it and use it 3X a month, since I go through a lot of hard cheeses. It makes me happy and looks like it would be equally at home on the workbench in my garage, with its wooden handle and short, putty-knife like blade. And yes, awesome NBN reference.

          1. I have many OTP's. I love them but space is not an issue at all for me.
            I tend to use these gadgets more when I am cooking in quantity (and I do that almost every weekend, as I freeze and jar things all the time).
            I use: garlic press, ricer, multiple designs of shredders and peelers, several micro planes/rasps and juicer gadgets and various kinds/designs of strainers. I might have 5 or 6 different designs of an item for different purposes.

            My wine gadget stash is in it's own category! Lol.

            6 Replies
            1. re: sedimental

              Right off the top of my head would be a citrus wedge squeezer(no, I never use it but its old and it was a quarter at a yard sale), my asparagus tongs(also old) egg cups, rotissery oven, salt cellar andstrawberry huller. I know there are many more.

              1. re: suzigirl

                How did my post end up here? Oh well. Als my cheese knife.

                1. re: suzigirl

                  To reply to the thread, you need to select "reply" at the end of the original post. I think you hit "reply" to sedimental's post, not the original one. And then you hit "reply" to your own comment.

                  1. re: nofunlatte

                    I have been here for a year. I replied to the original poster. This same thing happened to another poster on WFD board the other day. Obviously it happens sometimes.

                2. re: suzigirl

                  (Slaps forehead) Egg cups! How could I forget egg cups? Good one, suzi. I have 'em too.

                3. re: sedimental

                  I don't have much of a wine gadget stash, but otherwise, I'm with you. I like my unitaskers, even if I"ve never used them.

                  That's my story and I'm stickin' with it.

                4. Nice thread title.

                  I recently moved and pared down my kitchen. It's pretty minimalist now. Left a bunch of pots and pans in storage, so OTPs generally didn't make the cut.

                  But I have to admit that I still brought one OTP with me. I imagine most people - even those like me who claim to avoid OTPs - don't give this one much thought, but it fits the definition:

                  A pizza wheel. Don't use it for anything but pizza. And a knife would do the job. But when it comes down to it...

                  You could cut with this. Or you could cut with that.
                  You could cut with this. Or you could cut with that.
                  You could cut with this. Or you could cut with that.
                  But you should cut with this. Cuz pizza's kinda flat.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    Did you move all your knives? Do Da Dip-pit-y

                    1. re: BiscuitBoy

                      Gave away a couple before I left - my carbonext sujihiki, my old Global, the right-handed and mis-ground yanagiba. But the others all made the cut. Along with most of the stones. I'll have to make a new strop though.
                      Can't beat that with a bat.

                      1. re: cowboyardee

                        <Gave away a couple before I left - my carbonext sujihiki, my old Global, >


                        By the way, did you finally bought a knife for your friend? The one who is a chef who likes CCK at home and you want to get a good stainless steel knife. Did you get him anything? If so, what?

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          The global had been lent out for a long while - I told the guy to just keep it.

                          The yanagiba and suji both went to the friend you're asking about. He started working in a japanese restaurant shortly before I left and could plausibly wind up doing sushi (didn't work out, but that's another story). So I figured he needed some specialty knives. The yanagiba was unusable for me since I'm a lefty. Figured he could get a little practice sharpening with it at least. The carbonext sujihiki had a much more pronounced convex and asymmetrical right handed grind than I expected, and I never used it much because of this. I also got him a knife bag and a board game, btw.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            <I also got him a knife bag and a board game>


                    2. re: cowboyardee

                      I's clearly your weapon of choice. I can see Christopher Walken tap-dancing through your house with a pizza wheel. If you don't get the reference,

                    3. I probably have more OTPs than I realize. I regularly use an egg slicer, a meat mallet, and a bagel slicer. The pizza wheel gets used weekly, minimum, and just came in hand the other day for cutting blue cheese straws before baking.

                      1. I also have that X thingy which breaks up burger, but I use it to mash bananas for bread and avocados for guac. And it really works, I got mine as a gift too, I would have never bought it for myself. I do have a plastic cheese knife and they work so much better than the wire slicers. IMHO. and they only cut the cheese, well, my DH does too but that is another thread.

                        29 Replies
                        1. re: Augieang

                          What is this x-thing you guys are talking about?

                          1. re: BiscuitBoy

                            Here it is. You just use it to break up ground meat in the skillet.

                            1. re: JonParker

                              New to me...but I bet you can snip the handle, chuck that rascal in a drill and mix smoothies, grout, paint...

                              1. re: JonParker

                                Thanks, I was wondering about the x-thing too. I use a spatula to break up the meat.

                                1. re: JonParker

                                  Would this work to break up 6 lbs of hamburger dropped into soupy rice? I make my dogs food, and usually break up each 1lb package then stir and stir to eliminate burger balls and clumps of rice that stick...

                                  1. re: firecooked

                                    I'm sure it would. It breaks the meat up into a nice consistency without any huge chunks.

                                  2. re: JonParker

                                    I love the idea of this tool. Thanks JP, I just ordered one from amazon!!

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          Thanks! What a handy gizmo for meat sauces.

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            OK... just put one into my Amazon basket. The "customers who bought this also bought ..." is a hilarious selection of OTP's!

                                            1. re: firecooked

                                              Now I've got to go look at it, just to see the other "ponies"!

                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                          Feedback: the x-thing is a bit underwhelming for 6 lbs of hamburger in a big pot of rice. Maybe I'll like it for banana's. Or I'll break down and buy a potato masher... Which is good for refries and banana's!

                                          1. re: firecooked

                                            I love my potato masher for bananas and beans. We really don't want anything sharp for those tasks and a masher is perfect.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              I bought a smalll potato masher for bananas, avocados, etc. It is the perfect size.

                                      1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                        I juast bought 3 of them from Amazon. One for me and two for Christmas gifts.

                                        1. re: travel61888

                                          that's what I want them for the kids christmas bags I fill with stuff

                                          1. re: katz66

                                            Yep. Things like that are great stocking stuffers. Always have my eye out for inexpensive but interesting and useful things.

                                      2. re: Augieang

                                        Just reporting back because I used my shiny new "x-thing" aka Chopstir Nylon Chopper last night and I think it's genius!!

                                        To my delight the Chopstir made short work of my sausage and I have to admit, it was pretty exciting knowing that I task that's normally a pain will no longer be an issue!

                                        Thanks for reporting on this Augieang!!!

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs


                                          What other tools have you used for this task? I'm intrigued by the Chopstir, as we do a lot of ground meat cooking. I've been using my potato masher with less-than-stellar results. Better than other things I've tried, but still not exactly easy.

                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                            For a single use tasker, the Chopstir really does work well. I've used a spatula and the edge of a kitchen spoon to break up meat, but this thing makes short work of it.

                                            I'm really surprised that there is such interest in it. Apparently this is something that a lot of people need.

                                            1. re: DuffyH

                                              I've tried lots of different implements prior to this but my weapon of choice was a bamboo spatula that had a sharper edge than most of my other kitchen tools. Nevertheless it definitely didn't make the job easy. I had heard other folks talk about their potato mashers and actually purchased an American masher (Cdn mashers tend to be a different design) to give it a try. That said, the bamboo spatula worked better.

                                              The Chopstir is in a different league all together. As Jon says, it really does work well.

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs


                                                It just occurred to me that no one's asked yet, how small the bits of meat will get using the Chopstir. I like to keep cooked ground beef/turkey or whatever on hand to make up easy tacos/burritos on the fly or to turn some marinara from the freezer into a meat sauce. I prefer a smallish, even texture for those. Will Chopstir get there easily? My potato masher struggles, but eventually does the job.

                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                  If you have a pastry cutter, that will do a fine job on ground meats. So will a mashing fork like a Foley fork or the RSVP Endurance fork which I splurchased recently on Amazon. The handle has more of a curve than the illustration shows. To my pleasant surprise, the fork does a better job beating eggs and simple batters than my balloon whisk does. I loathe unitaskers; even more so when called one trick ponies.

                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                    Well, crap! I browned some beef last night to add to my marinara for a quick meaty pasta sauce and didn't even think to try my dough cutter. >:(

                                                  2. re: DuffyH

                                                    Duffy I was quite successful in getting the sausage meat chopped into very small pieces. That said, I sometimes find that the original grind of the meat makes a difference. There is one local butcher who grinds his sausage meat very course and I don't really care for it. I'm actually doing some more tonight so if I remember, I'll take a photo.

                                                    In terms of ground beef, I haven't chopped any w this tool yet but based on the results I achieved with the sausage, I'd say ground beef would be a breeze.

                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                It's also good at smashing bananas for banana bread.

                                                1. re: Augieang

                                                  Thanks Augieang, that's great to know as well!!

                                            2. The wheeled pastry cutter that give me such lovely designs on my lattice strips, which I need a couple of times per year (no more than that). Wouldn't do it any other way!

                                              1. I suppose I do have several kitchen OTPs but this strawberry tweezer is the first thing I thought of. I've had it for years and it's only used for hulling strawberries. In fact I have two so the children could help in the kitchen together when they were young.


                                                Also, now that I think about it, I have one of my father's old bar utensils namely a citrus wedge squeezer that I use often.

                                                1. Thank you for this thread! While multi-tasking may be preferred by Alton Brown, for me time is of the essence and I would rather use a tool that gets a job done quickly and well than take more time with a more general-purpose device. I love my offset-design all-metal meat pounder (looks sort of like a stair with a short tread - the business end - and a very long tread - the handle). And my very sharp, thin-bladed Chinese vegetable knife (cleaver-shaped). And my piston-style garlic press that came with a doohicky that matches the holes (used to clear them of smushed garlic).

                                                  1. I use my pizza wheel for cutting things other than pizza so don't consider it a OTP. My meat mallet can become a kitchen hammer at times when I don't want to go dig into my husband's toolbox.

                                                    I think the things I have that are truly OTP are:
                                                    Pepper seeder that we use when making stuffed jalapenos, but when cleaning a 4 dozen, it is needed.
                                                    I thought I'd use my ricer for more than potatoes a few times a year, but I don't so its an OTP.
                                                    Pie crust shields
                                                    Candy thermometer that I only use for candy making

                                                    1. I have two that I scoffed at until I got it and now I love them. I have one of those thingies that you use to crack the shells open of soft boiled eggs. You rest it on top and pull up this spring loaded ball which then shoots down and cuts a perfect circle top off. Its completely not useful for anything else yet every time I have a soft boiled egg (about twice a month) I am very happy to have it around. The second might be more than just a "gadget" depending on how you look at it. Its the Zoku popsicle maker. It makes only 1. Its tiny enough to leave in the freezer all the time and not mind. I've stopped buying popsicles!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: foxspirit

                                                        I remember seeing that egg thing ages ago on Martha Stewart. Considered getting it but turns out it cost around $100, which was out of the question. If it's a unitasker, it had better be cheap and small. In general I eschew them in favor of making other gadgets into multi-taskers; e.g., drop a cherry into a kitchen funnel set over a jar, and punch out the pit with a chopstick.

                                                      2. Due to space limitations I don't have many unitaskers in my kitchen. For a gadget to earn drawer space it has to be really something special.

                                                        One such object is my long handled scraper/spatula, used only for cleaning out jars and bottles. I have found nothing else that does the job cleaning the last remnants of whatever was in the jar.


                                                        DW loves her bagel guillotine, similar to this one:

                                                        I'm not sure if the egg slicer counts, because I use it to slice strawberries and mushrooms, but, oddly, never eggs in the 25 years or so I've owned it it.

                                                        Our ice cream scoops are only used to scoop ice cream, but for hard ice cream nothing really works as well.

                                                        And last but not least, my handcranked apple peeler/slicer/corer. Though I may only use it once a year (or even less), when I have a bunch of apples to prepare, whether it be for sauce, pies, or dehydrating, this thing really makes the job go faster. (While the box says I can also use it to peel potatoes, it really doesn't do as good a job. Besides, I almost never peel potatoes.



                                                        1. It's interesting to see multiple fans of the thread title, because I actually don't like it! WTF is OTP? But I do like the idea.

                                                          Rice maker
                                                          Garlic press
                                                          Chinois (although I also use it to rinse rice, so that's two-trick pony)
                                                          Nutmeg grater
                                                          Food Mill also, maybe, but I'm really not sure any other device does do exactly what it can do (separating pulpy matter from various degrees of solid skin, seeds, etc.)

                                                          1. You can also get the x- thing from Pampered Chef.

                                                            1. Reason to have OTPs is that they do the job for which they are specifically designed so very well - and maybe other similar jobs. As a hobby I used to work on cars and many things in my tool box are OTPs, but they are there because they do their ONE job so much more easily than doing it any other way.

                                                              I love Alton Brown but that does not mean I always agree with him ;-)

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: rich in stl

                                                                In fairness, I'm really tempted by the pineapple corer-slicer in the latest product review. I eat a lot of pineapples, and would probably get my money's worth out of it.


                                                                1. re: JonParker

                                                                  That's probably one of the better examples of a OTP I've seen, since at least that kind of coring and spiraling is difficult to do with a knife (though simply cutting up a pineapple isn't particularly). OTOH, I don't eat enough pineapples to justify the purchase.

                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                    A long time ago (in a relationship far, far away), we had one of those (not that brand, but same concept/design). It does work very well; while it leaves a thin layer of flesh on the inside of the rind, it had us buying and eating more whole pineapples because it was so quick, simple, and effective.

                                                                    1. re: JonParker

                                                                      Whether it's an apple corer or a pineapple corer, unless the fruit is the perfect shape the gadget wastes a lot of usable fruit. Pineapples are simple to butcher.

                                                                    2. re: rich in stl

                                                                      I agree with you Rich. I, too, have a lot of OTPs in my toolbox as well. They may only be used for one purpose, but oftentimes nothing else will do what you need to get done.

                                                                    3. These two immediately came to mind.

                                                                      Corkscrew. Need I say more?

                                                                      The plastic boiled egg sensor. You would put this into the water with your eggs and it would change color at the same rate that the egg would cook. Perfect soft boiled, coddled, and hard boiled every time.

                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                        <Corkscrew. Need I say more?>

                                                                        We've got 4, although one isn't a true OTP, as it also opens bottles. The other 3 are a rabbit type, a silly vacuum thingy, and my personal fave, the Butler's Friend. It's simple design has never let me down.


                                                                        1. re: DuffyH

                                                                          I first purchased a Butler's Friend in 1976. I succeeded in pushing too many corks into the bottle. Even got one on one instruction from a delightful lady at Tabor Hill Winery.

                                                                          Not the only failure in my life.

                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                            I've had a Butler's Friend since the early 1980s, and for me it was the most successful way to remove the cork from a wine bottle. I always manage to shred the corks when using a real corkscrew.

                                                                            However, with the recent plethora of artificial corks this type of puller is somewhat less effective. They tend to slip more when you try to extract the cork and more often than not the cork will be part way out and there is no way to grab it. (Fortunately, DW is more proficient with a corkscrew than I and we can usually get it out with one of those.)

                                                                            1. re: al b. darned

                                                                              al b.,

                                                                              Love your name! Do you twist the BF? After it's inserted into the bottle, I use a slow twist-and-pull motion that seems to work on every cork.

                                                                              I'm a notorious shredder with a screw. Mostly, if I'm honest, I hand the bottle to my son. He used to tend bar and is a pro at opening (and flipping) bottles of all kinds.

                                                                          2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                            I wouldn't consider a corkscrew to be a true OTP, at least according to the definition I used, since there's really no other good way to open a wine bottle. Yeah, it only does one thing, but if you want to do that one thing, that's the tool you need.

                                                                            1. re: JonParker

                                                                              A sharp sword will do the trick quite handily and can be used for many other things, too. If you don't have a sword, a shoe will do.


                                                                              But blood makes me queasy and I usually wear flip-flops, so it's best I stick with my cork puller.

                                                                              1. re: JonParker

                                                                                Right Jon, that "it only does one thing, but if you want to do that one thing, that's the tool you need." is the criteria for a OTP worth keeping 8)

                                                                            2. So where do you buy this X mixer?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. Not sure what the difference would be between breaking up ground meat in a pan or a bowl w/a potato masher or an 'x-thingy'. Potato masher not only allows for "smashed potatoes" that a ricer won't get 'ya, but for burger/meatloaf blending or breaking up ground meat in the pan (even non-stick) turns the masher from uni to multi. N'est-ce pas?

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: seedyone

                                                                                  You're absolutely right, which is why I pointed out that it was a gift and not something I would have bought myself. Once I owned it though, it did turn out to be useful.

                                                                                  As for meatloaf blending, the best tool for that is a pair of clean hands, IMO.

                                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                                    Agreed that hands can be very 'handy', as it were, but my understanding is warmth will compromise the result as some of the fat melts & coat the muscle fibers creating a more compacted burger/meatloaf, etc. The same applies to not using a food processor, even with the kneading attachment.

                                                                                    One exception I saw was Jacques Pepin (a hero of mine) throwing in a few ice cubes in a processor w/some salmon to make burgers. His explanation was the ice would negate the temperature rise that could start the fish to cooking & the added water was necessary anyway.

                                                                                    Thanks for the informative thread.

                                                                                  2. re: seedyone

                                                                                    I got mine as a gift too, and it's the best for breaking down beef for tacos, along with anything else that needs a good smash. I would have never bought one myself, but now that I have one, I use it all the time. Great for guacamole. Still leaves nice chunks.

                                                                                  3. Such a great look-back-at-your-life question! My #1 vote goes for those flexible cutting sheets that have the durability
                                                                                    of rigid cutting boards, take up way less space, can be cleaned/sanitized/dishwashed in almost no time, and if they ever have to be replaced, it's for pennies compared to how much use you get for a product that was inexpensive to start with. Best of all: you cut, slice or chop on the sheet, then make a shallow funnel out of it and just dump the results into your pan or bowl. (Then, shove it in with your next dishwasher load or just clean w/hot water to resanitize.) My grannie would have killed for one of these.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: emerita

                                                                                      I definitly agree with you Emerita. I bought mine at the Dollar Store. There were 4 various coloured coded plastic sheets in each package. Green for vegetables, red for meat, yellow for fruit and of course blue for fish. Also you would never get them mixed up because they have a picture printed on them for each subject. For 1 dollar for 4 which I felt was very cheap for the size and excellent quality I just had to buy 6 packages because I have found over 60 years that great products are here today and gone tomorrow or changed to something greatly inferior. You lucked in as the saying goes.

                                                                                      1. re: Chefwannabe2012

                                                                                        Curious about these. I have never seen one that I am aware of. I have a vision of something being lightweight and rolling up while I was trying to use it. Is this a problem?

                                                                                        1. re: travel61888

                                                                                          Nope, what I'm describing is, I guess "stiffishly flexible" thin but tough sheets, often about the size of a place mat, and made of some sort of plastic that withstands cuts from sharp knives. Mine are semi-transparent and will bend to collect and transfer sliced or chopped food, but return to their original shape when you let go. I really wouldn't use a wooden or other traditional chopping surface after adopting these years ago. I'm fairly sure any cookware store would recognize what I'm trying to describe here! They're cheap,
                                                                                          durable, and so thin they store in no space at all.

                                                                                          1. re: travel61888

                                                                                            Mine you couldn't roll up, but store flat with other boards.

                                                                                            1. re: travel61888

                                                                                              No problem at all rolling up when in use on a flat surface. To get it to roll up you need both hands because they are stiff and a little textured too. Mostly you just want a bent curve to scoop or transfer your food. You can also bring the plate or bowl you're using to the mat and push the food onto it or whatever. One example is when I have a lot of cut cherry tomatoes and chopped cuccumber pieces for a salad I bring the bowl to the mat. (I have tremors and have difficulty moving anything without spilling or dropping them.) Hope this helps.

                                                                                              p.s. We have different Dollar stores, Buck or Two stores and Walmart stores in Ontario, Canada. Sometimes it pays to ask one of the employees.

                                                                                          2. Realized last night making hard boiling eggs that I have used a OTP to pierce a hole in one end of the egg to prevent cracking and make peeling easier. Always works like a charm and is small and easy to store. I got mine probably 25 years ago as a gift.


                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                                                              I have one and have never used it! How lame is that? Guess I was always afraid it would make the egg leak out into the water.... Does it really work and help with peeling, Cuz that's a bitch!

                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                I've found that, after draining the hot water from the egg pan, if you shake the pan, slamming the eggs against the sides of the pan, they get nicely cracked. When you add ice water, it seeps into the cracks, making the eggs much easier to peel.

                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                  I am definitely going to try this! I use farm fresh eggs & I have a hell of a time peeling the hard boiled. Thank you for your tip.

                                                                                                  1. re: bevwinchester

                                                                                                    Try using the oldest as ultra fresh resist peeling.

                                                                                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                  Give it a try. No, the egg does not leak out, you don't get cracks, and some water seems to seep in under the shell to make peeling easy. This time of year, I am exclusively using fresh farm eggs from my CSA and they're peeling nicely. The slamming technique may work too. My kids would enjoy that.

                                                                                                3. re: tcamp

                                                                                                  Thumb tack. I've had mine for 25 years too,

                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                    I'm confuzzled. Are you suggesting a garden-variety thumb tack to pierce the egg, or is the OTP gadget called a Thumb Tack?

                                                                                                    1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                      I've used a plain ole' from-the-desk-drawer-thumb-tack. Worked fine.

                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                        Yes, a simple thumbtack. It lives on a small corkboard mounted on a kitchen cabinet.

                                                                                                  2. I have found that the single most handy tool in my kitchen would be my biscuit cutter! I use it to chop up eggs, meat, celery, streusel, or whatever needs dicing in a flash!!! It also helps to mix a potato salad with the dressing at the same time you are dicing the potatoes! I use this tool so much , it's home is in the dishwasher instead of the drawer!

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Dartagnon

                                                                                                      Sounds like what you're describing is a pie dough cutter, or truly a round biscuit cutter? I use my pie dough cutter for all the tasks you write about.

                                                                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                                                                        What you are calling a pie dough cutter and Dartagnon is calling a biscuit cutter is usually called a pastry blender, as pictured.

                                                                                                        I think of a biscuit cutter as like a cookie cutter, usually round but sometimes square. I have seen rotary things that resemble pizza-cutter wheels that are called pie dough/pastry cutters.

                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                          Good clarification. Yup, I use what you've pictured, whatever we call it!

                                                                                                      2. re: Dartagnon

                                                                                                        I'm with "Gregarious", that this is what, e.g., Joy Of Cooking calls a pastry "blender". Meaning, it deals with flour, fat and ice water in a mixing bowl, has a curved bladed bottom, and hand-blends the main ingredients quickly to the even sizing needed for pie crust, biscuits, or other baking. Cookie and biscuit "cutters" stamp out the blended dough into shapes.
                                                                                                        That said ... who knew what else a pastry blender can do to save time without an off-the-shelf food chopper? My camping and boating friends are getting this post.

                                                                                                        1. re: emerita

                                                                                                          Pastry blenders are great little tools.... But I certainly wouldn't try to "chop" anything with it. The tines are not sharp. It would be like trying to chop something with a fork. Which, by chance, also happens to work well as a pastry blender. My Nana used a fork and she had the best pie crust around.

                                                                                                      3. I have the Pampered Chef version of the x tool and love it. The height of the "x" makes it much more effective at dealing with ground meat than a potato masher (which is what I used before).

                                                                                                        Other OTP's:
                                                                                                        Garlic press
                                                                                                        Lefse stick
                                                                                                        Rice cooker
                                                                                                        Pie maker (don't judge me...it was a gift but I love it!)
                                                                                                        Cake pop maker (another gift)
                                                                                                        I'm sure there are more...

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                          You mentioned a garlic press as an OTP. Hey, it's at least a Two Trick Pony. My faithful metal Zyliss garlic press is the ideal juicer for Key limes or other half-sized limes that are otherwise such a pain to juice. Cut in half, each half fits perfectly in the Zyliss cavity, & one press totally extracts juice, plus just enough oil from the peel to add an extra something. If the Z wasn't so easily cleaned, I'd have one apiece for garlic and limes. Excellent to just add those little squeezes to 1-2 drinks too.

                                                                                                          1. re: emerita

                                                                                                            Before I got a small spice grinder, I used my garlic press to break up cinnamon sticks and peppercorns and sundry other smallish items.

                                                                                                              1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                This is what I love about Chowhound. The following showed up in my email inbox:

                                                                                                                "I use mine to crack crab legs."

                                                                                                                I simply HAD to go see what that was all about. :)))

                                                                                                                1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                  i have been using flexible sheet plastic cutting boards. they are cheap at ikea and last a fair time. makes it easy to move cut up items. easier to clean than wood.
                                                                                                                  i used the x smasher from that home party outfit. it works really well on ground beef and does mashed potatoes well.
                                                                                                                  by the way chuck roast was just on sale and they ground it for me free. it was much better than pregound.

                                                                                                        2. A Stilton Spoon. Sterling of course....

                                                                                                          Maybe that's not really a kitchen gadget though....

                                                                                                          1. Two comments on the thread suggestions...
                                                                                                            The plastic sheet cutting boards are fabulous. I buy several packs every year at a local flea market from the guy who sells new "do dahs"
                                                                                                            And for breaking up ground beef in the fry pan I use my spaghetti grabber thingy...it's plastic so it doesn't scratch my coated pans and the longer handle cuts down on splatter burns!

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: mizmaven

                                                                                                              I bought a set of sheet cutting boards from SLT and can't say i'm sold. I loved them at first, but lately have noticed that my knife strokes don't feel as soft and fluid as on my maple island or my acacia cutting board.

                                                                                                              At the end of a stroke, there's a clunk type of sound and an abrupt stop (I can feel it in the handle) that's not there on wood or my old nylon boards. It's like there's no 'give' in them, despite showing knife marks. I've stopped using them because they just feel weird.