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You down with OTP? Yeah you know me!

JonParker Jul 31, 2013 02:05 AM

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. mels RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 05:49 AM

    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. Chemicalkinetics RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 06:32 AM

      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
        JonParker RE: Chemicalkinetics Jul 31, 2013 09:24 AM

        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. BiscuitBoy RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 06:41 AM

        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
          Pwmfan RE: BiscuitBoy Jul 31, 2013 07:05 AM

          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
            dkenworthy RE: Pwmfan Aug 2, 2013 06:55 AM

            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. pinehurst RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 07:28 AM

          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. s
            sedimental RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 07:46 AM

            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
              suzigirl RE: sedimental Jul 31, 2013 10:02 AM

              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
                suzigirl RE: suzigirl Jul 31, 2013 10:06 AM

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

                1. re: suzigirl
                  nofunlatte RE: suzigirl Jul 31, 2013 10:23 AM

                  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
                    suzigirl RE: nofunlatte Jul 31, 2013 10:35 AM

                    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
                  pinehurst RE: suzigirl Jul 31, 2013 10:59 AM

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

                3. re: sedimental
                  EWSflash RE: sedimental Aug 16, 2013 07:41 PM

                  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. cowboyardee RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 08:23 AM

                  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
                    BiscuitBoy RE: cowboyardee Jul 31, 2013 08:41 AM

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

                    1. re: BiscuitBoy
                      cowboyardee RE: BiscuitBoy Jul 31, 2013 08:53 AM

                      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
                        Chemicalkinetics RE: cowboyardee Jul 31, 2013 09:26 AM

                        <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
                          cowboyardee RE: Chemicalkinetics Jul 31, 2013 09:31 AM

                          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
                            Chemicalkinetics RE: cowboyardee Jul 31, 2013 10:14 AM

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


                    2. re: cowboyardee
                      EWSflash RE: cowboyardee Aug 16, 2013 07:44 PM

                      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. tcamp RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 08:29 AM

                      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. a
                        Augieang RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 09:45 AM

                        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
                          BiscuitBoy RE: Augieang Aug 2, 2013 08:05 AM

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

                          1. re: BiscuitBoy
                            JonParker RE: BiscuitBoy Aug 2, 2013 08:14 AM

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

                            1. re: JonParker
                              BiscuitBoy RE: JonParker Aug 2, 2013 09:04 AM

                              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
                                tcamp RE: JonParker Aug 2, 2013 02:00 PM

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

                                1. re: JonParker
                                  firecooked RE: JonParker Aug 3, 2013 09:35 PM

                                  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
                                    JonParker RE: firecooked Aug 3, 2013 09:36 PM

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

                                  2. re: JonParker
                                    Breadcrumbs RE: JonParker Aug 4, 2013 05:13 AM

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

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                      CindyJ RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 4, 2013 07:29 AM

                                      What's that called?

                                      1. re: CindyJ
                                        Breadcrumbs RE: CindyJ Aug 4, 2013 07:58 AM

                                        It's called the: Chopstir Nylon Chopper


                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                          CindyJ RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 4, 2013 09:12 AM

                                          Thanks! What a handy gizmo for meat sauces.

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs
                                            firecooked RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 4, 2013 10:17 AM

                                            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
                                              Jeri L RE: firecooked Aug 16, 2013 07:52 PM

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

                                      2. re: JonParker
                                        Dirtywextraolives RE: JonParker Aug 11, 2013 09:00 PM

                                        I just use my potato masher.

                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                          firecooked RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 23, 2013 02:55 PM

                                          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
                                            DuffyH RE: firecooked Aug 23, 2013 03:40 PM

                                            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
                                              travel61888 RE: DuffyH Aug 23, 2013 04:57 PM

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

                                      3. re: BiscuitBoy
                                        travel61888 RE: BiscuitBoy Aug 16, 2013 09:06 AM

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

                                        1. re: travel61888
                                          katz66 RE: travel61888 Aug 16, 2013 09:14 AM

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

                                          1. re: katz66
                                            travel61888 RE: katz66 Aug 16, 2013 03:34 PM

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

                                      4. re: Augieang
                                        Breadcrumbs RE: Augieang Aug 17, 2013 06:05 AM

                                        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
                                          DuffyH RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 17, 2013 06:24 AM


                                          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
                                            JonParker RE: DuffyH Aug 17, 2013 06:55 AM

                                            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
                                              Breadcrumbs RE: DuffyH Aug 17, 2013 07:01 AM

                                              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
                                                DuffyH RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 17, 2013 10:02 PM


                                                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
                                                  greygarious RE: DuffyH Aug 18, 2013 01:46 PM

                                                  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
                                                    DuffyH RE: greygarious Aug 23, 2013 03:42 PM

                                                    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
                                                    Breadcrumbs RE: DuffyH Aug 23, 2013 09:59 AM

                                                    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
                                                Augieang RE: Breadcrumbs Aug 17, 2013 07:17 AM

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

                                                1. re: Augieang
                                                  Breadcrumbs RE: Augieang Aug 17, 2013 07:33 AM

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

                                            2. nofunlatte RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 10:25 AM

                                              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. Gio RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                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. PinchOfSalt RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                  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. p
                                                    pyescamilla RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                    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. f
                                                      foxspirit RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 01:22 PM

                                                      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
                                                        greygarious RE: foxspirit Aug 17, 2013 08:45 PM

                                                        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. al b. darned RE: JonParker Jul 31, 2013 02:29 PM

                                                        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. Bada Bing RE: JonParker Aug 1, 2013 07:54 PM

                                                          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. a
                                                            Augieang RE: JonParker Aug 4, 2013 05:22 PM

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

                                                            1. r
                                                              rich in stl RE: JonParker Aug 11, 2013 11:01 AM

                                                              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
                                                                JonParker RE: rich in stl Aug 11, 2013 11:21 AM

                                                                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
                                                                  cowboyardee RE: JonParker Aug 11, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                    Caitlin McGrath RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 03:08 PM

                                                                    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
                                                                      greygarious RE: JonParker Aug 17, 2013 08:47 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                      al b. darned RE: rich in stl Aug 16, 2013 12:37 PM

                                                                      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. i
                                                                      INDIANRIVERFL RE: JonParker Aug 11, 2013 12:44 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                        DuffyH RE: INDIANRIVERFL Aug 11, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                                        <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
                                                                          INDIANRIVERFL RE: DuffyH Aug 12, 2013 07:36 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            al b. darned RE: DuffyH Aug 16, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                                            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
                                                                              DuffyH RE: al b. darned Aug 16, 2013 03:33 PM

                                                                              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
                                                                            JonParker RE: INDIANRIVERFL Aug 11, 2013 10:29 PM

                                                                            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
                                                                              DuffyH RE: JonParker Aug 11, 2013 10:38 PM

                                                                              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: DuffyH
                                                                                tcamp RE: DuffyH Aug 17, 2013 07:42 AM

                                                                                I'd hate to be his landlady.

                                                                              2. re: JonParker
                                                                                rich in stl RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 06:38 AM

                                                                                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. katz66 RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 04:49 AM

                                                                              So where do you buy this X mixer?

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: katz66
                                                                                JonParker RE: katz66 Aug 16, 2013 06:07 AM


                                                                                1. re: JonParker
                                                                                  katz66 RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 08:39 AM


                                                                              2. seedyone RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 06:22 AM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  JonParker RE: seedyone Aug 16, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    seedyone RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                    Augieang RE: seedyone Aug 16, 2013 06:34 AM

                                                                                    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. e
                                                                                    emerita RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 09:57 AM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      Chefwannabe2012 RE: emerita Aug 16, 2013 07:38 PM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        travel61888 RE: Chefwannabe2012 Aug 16, 2013 07:48 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          emerita RE: travel61888 Aug 16, 2013 08:58 PM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            Dirtywextraolives RE: travel61888 Aug 16, 2013 09:38 PM

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

                                                                                            1. re: travel61888
                                                                                              Chefwannabe2012 RE: travel61888 Aug 17, 2013 07:14 PM

                                                                                              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. re: Chefwannabe2012
                                                                                              Dirtywextraolives RE: Chefwannabe2012 Aug 16, 2013 09:36 PM

                                                                                              Mine was yellow for poultry.....

                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                                travel61888 RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 16, 2013 09:59 PM

                                                                                                Thank you to all! I will look for them.

                                                                                          2. tcamp RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                                                            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
                                                                                              Dirtywextraolives RE: tcamp Aug 16, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                DuffyH RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 16, 2013 03:37 PM

                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  bevwinchester RE: DuffyH Aug 16, 2013 10:11 PM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                    seedyone RE: bevwinchester Aug 16, 2013 10:45 PM

                                                                                                    Try using the oldest as ultra fresh resist peeling.

                                                                                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                                  tcamp RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 17, 2013 07:38 AM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                  greygarious RE: tcamp Aug 17, 2013 08:52 PM

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

                                                                                                  1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                    DuffyH RE: greygarious Aug 17, 2013 10:06 PM

                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                      pine time RE: DuffyH Aug 18, 2013 01:17 PM

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

                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH
                                                                                                        greygarious RE: DuffyH Aug 18, 2013 01:47 PM

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

                                                                                                        1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                          DuffyH RE: greygarious Aug 18, 2013 02:31 PM

                                                                                                          Ah! Light dawns. :)

                                                                                                  2. d
                                                                                                    Dartagnon RE: JonParker Aug 16, 2013 04:32 PM

                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                      pine time RE: Dartagnon Aug 18, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                        greygarious RE: pine time Aug 18, 2013 01:57 PM

                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                          pine time RE: greygarious Aug 22, 2013 08:27 AM

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

                                                                                                      2. re: Dartagnon
                                                                                                        emerita RE: Dartagnon Aug 18, 2013 06:21 PM

                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                          Dirtywextraolives RE: emerita Aug 18, 2013 08:22 PM

                                                                                                          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. j
                                                                                                        jlhinwa RE: JonParker Aug 18, 2013 02:55 PM

                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                          emerita RE: jlhinwa Aug 18, 2013 05:42 PM

                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                            pine time RE: emerita Aug 22, 2013 08:29 AM

                                                                                                            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: pine time
                                                                                                              512window RE: pine time Aug 24, 2013 01:41 PM

                                                                                                              I use mine to crack crab legs.

                                                                                                              1. re: 512window
                                                                                                                DuffyH RE: 512window Aug 24, 2013 09:26 PM

                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                  divadmas RE: DuffyH Jan 8, 2014 08:22 PM

                                                                                                                  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. j
                                                                                                          JoeBabbitt RE: JonParker Jan 9, 2014 07:36 PM

                                                                                                          A Stilton Spoon. Sterling of course....

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

                                                                                                          1. mizmaven RE: JonParker Jan 13, 2014 06:35 AM

                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                              DuffyH RE: mizmaven Jan 13, 2014 06:59 AM

                                                                                                              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.

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