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13 of the Most Extraordinarily Useless Food Inventions of 2013

Phaedrus Dec 29, 2013 07:06 AM


2 and 5 are extremely useful. 3 is just pathetic.

  1. d
    donovt Dec 29, 2013 09:17 AM

    Agreed. I also would use numbers 1,4, and 8.

    1. h
      HillJ Dec 29, 2013 09:32 AM

      None of these products have crossed my path in 2013. Can't miss what you never knew existed.

      1. Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2013 09:35 AM

        I find most of them pretty useless.

        I find Hydro Flask Insulated Growler (item 2) not useful for beer, but can be useful for many other drinks that need to be kept cold for hours. For example, during a long road trip on a hot summer day. It is a bit expensive though, which begs the question if it is really better than other insulated bottles.

        I find "Press Art Lemon and Lime Squeezer" (item 12) may be useful for a certain party setting.

        Item 3 and 11 are probably the least useful in my eyes.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          SmartCookie Dec 29, 2013 09:58 AM

          Wouldn't the small cake sampler in the Mini Me pan just burn as it's 1/50 the size of the larger cake?

          1. re: SmartCookie
            Caroline1 Dec 31, 2013 09:29 AM

            Of course it would! But that's just proof positive of one more cooking gadget by someone who has never ever cooked! '-)

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics
            gaffk Dec 29, 2013 03:59 PM

            I don't think the lemon and lime squeezer are new to 2013. My mom has used a bird-shaped lemon squeezer for her tea for years now (it has a trap at the front to ensure no seeds slip through and it's apparently easier on her arthritic hands).

            Regarding the mini me pan: it looks like a silicon cup slips into the larger pan. So I'd guess you would just put the small pan in much later than the large pan. (Still seems like a waste . . .if you're so desperate for a nibble, just put in a cupcake along with your cake. That's essentially what this is.)

            1. re: gaffk
              Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2013 04:10 PM

              Agree. Now, that you mentioned it, I am pretty sure I have seen a lime/lemon squeezer years ago.

              So which look the least and most useful for you?

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                gaffk Dec 29, 2013 05:32 PM

                The finger tongs are ridiculous (though I do own finger oven mitts for the toaster oven ;) Either pick up the wings and make a mess or get the boneless wings.

                The 2-in1 glass is also questionable. I prefer to taste my beers one at a time.

                3, 4, 6 and 8 are non-starters.

                The roll on olive oil is strangely intriguing--a nice coating without dunking. (Full disclosure: I own a Mist-O for the same purpose.)

                I hate to admit it, but chopstick straws are oddly attractive: eat the noodles and drink the broth without the slurping.

                I think I'd like the twist on/off cork.

                1. re: gaffk
                  tardigrade Dec 29, 2013 06:02 PM

                  I like the idea of the chopstick straws: those of us who are on the rather convex side have problems slurping our soup without getting it on the protruding parts.

                  I'm still trying to figure out the two beers at once one.

                  1. re: tardigrade
                    Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2013 06:16 PM

                    Really? :) I have the opposite opinion of you two. While I don't see the lemon/lime squeeze very useful on a daily basis, it seems very for presentation.

                    I don't see the chopstick straws for neither.

                    As for the two beer thing, the picture looks great. I was going to praise it until I looked at the photo closer. It may be messy to use.

                    1. re: tardigrade
                      melpy Jan 10, 2014 04:43 AM

                      Being buxom I'd buy a pair :)

                    2. re: gaffk
                      lagatta Jan 3, 2014 07:30 AM

                      A silicone brush is also fine for dabbing on a bit of olive oil - that is what one uses it for in a pan, after all. An old-fashioned pastry brush is too, but harder to keep clean.

                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                  Sandwich_Sister Jan 5, 2014 10:57 AM

                  We have 2 of the flask insulated growlers and they are extremely useful if you are a home brewer and want to bring some of you beer to a tailgate, especially here in Florida in summer.

                  They are also good to use or buy while traveling if you go to a brewery and want to take your beer to your hotel room.

                  It's very specific but it can be useful for beer.

                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister
                    Chemicalkinetics Jan 5, 2014 11:31 AM

                    <It's very specific but it can be useful for beer>

                    But do these growlers have advantages over the typical insulated bottles?



                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                      Sandwich_Sister Jan 5, 2014 11:40 AM

                      We have two, The first one we bought from Northern Brewer:
                      64 oz and BPA free - http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/br...

                      It keeps it cooler than any thermos I've ever had.

                      The other we bought at Hess Brewing same type but different company plus the price included the beer. With San Diego going through a heat wave at the time it was a great purchase and we still use them often

                3. s
                  small h Dec 29, 2013 04:42 PM

                  I have a special place in my heart (if not necessarily on my counters) for single-use items. I own corn stabbers. And a garlic press. And I've always secretly coveted this, even though I'm allergic to bananas and thus have even less use for it than the average Jane:

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: small h
                    CanadaGirl Dec 29, 2013 06:59 PM

                    I swear by my banana hanger. It makes the banana last longer than they do sitting on their bottom.

                    1. re: CanadaGirl
                      globocity Dec 29, 2013 08:23 PM

                      I like to think of the double entendre for "banana hanger."

                    2. re: small h
                      Kontxesi Dec 31, 2013 05:34 AM

                      I didn't learn that there are people in this world who eat corn with their bare hands until I was about 22. Corn skewers were ALWAYS in my house.

                      1. re: Kontxesi
                        small h Dec 31, 2013 09:06 AM

                        You were raised classy!

                        1. re: Kontxesi
                          Sooeygun Jan 3, 2014 05:56 AM

                          Corn skewers were for kids in our house. Once you were old enough to not make so much of a mess and better tolerate a hot corn cob, you got to graduate to hands only.

                          1. re: Sooeygun
                            Caroline1 Jan 7, 2014 06:57 PM

                            Or my mom just let the corn on the cob to cool enough that it would still melt butter but not hot enough to burn anyone's hands! And the ears were served WHOLE! When I get those half-ear pieces in restaurants or frozen, I get this resentful feeling of being cheated! Then I taste it and the flavor is nothing even close to freshly shucked ears of just picked corn and I end up feeling grateful I only have to endure half an ear!

                            1. re: Caroline1
                              Sooeygun Jan 8, 2014 08:50 AM

                              I have been called a 'corn snob'. I grew up next to a vegetable farm. The corn field was right next to our house. We would pop over and pick our own while with pot of water was heating up. At the end of the season, my dad would try and pay our farmer friend for what we have picked. Usually ended up paying him with baked goods instead, because he would refuse the money.

                              So my idea of fresh corn on the cob is a little skewed. I buy it at the farmer's market or road side stand, but never at the grocery store and don't eat it in restaurants.

                              1. re: Sooeygun
                                rainey Jan 8, 2014 10:05 AM

                                I used to live by a farm too. Not so close as lucky you, but close. ;>

                                They picked hourly. There were lines at the top of the hour waiting for the tractor to come in with the fresh stuff. Nothing like it!

                        2. re: small h
                          DuchessNukem Dec 31, 2013 07:31 AM

                          Bar near us serves a giant hot soft pretzel hanging from one of these. Maybe you could justify with that use? (Psssstt... found pre-cooked soft pretzels in freezer section a couple of years ago, was so happy.)

                          1. re: DuchessNukem
                            small h Dec 31, 2013 09:07 AM

                            Hmm. Not a big pretzel eater, but maybe I could come up with some other food that benefits from being suspended. Tomatoes on the vine?

                            1. re: small h
                              DuchessNukem Dec 31, 2013 10:15 AM


                              Tiny salamis?

                              Dry-aging a sparrow?

                              1. re: small h
                                CanadaGirl Jan 2, 2014 08:43 AM

                                The tomatoes will drop from the vine as the vine dries.

                                1. re: CanadaGirl
                                  small h Jan 2, 2014 01:28 PM

                                  What a lovely, bleak sentence that is. It's like summer's end in eleven words.

                          2. f
                            foodieX2 Dec 29, 2013 07:10 PM

                            Hah! I wish I had seen those finger tongs before Christmas! My son LOVES wings but suffers from a skin condition so the franks really burm/irritate his skin. He goes thru a ton of napkins when he eats them. Those would have been a great (joke) stocking stuffer.

                            1. r
                              roux42 Dec 29, 2013 07:10 PM

                              The roll on olive oil gadget is pretty cool and would greatly limit the amount of olive my husband sops up with his bread. I cannot find it for sale online though.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: roux42
                                Chemicalkinetics Dec 29, 2013 07:25 PM

                                It is still not ready to launch. It is only on its concept phrase.

                                "[…] Oil-On is still in the concept phase but long story short allows you to avoid soggy bread and put your […]"


                                "While the Oil-On might make a great holiday gift for those kitchen-inclined folks who already have everything, the product isn't yet on the market."


                                How about using something like this for now. :P


                                1. re: roux42
                                  Scrofula Dec 29, 2013 07:39 PM

                                  That's a neat idea, but I'd be concerned that I might absent-mindedly rub it on my armpit.

                                  1. re: roux42
                                    tcamp Dec 31, 2013 07:29 AM

                                    I'd buy one of those.

                                  2. ipsedixit Dec 29, 2013 07:32 PM

                                    I just placed an order for #5.

                                    1. globocity Dec 29, 2013 08:21 PM

                                      I would use the "beer growler" in my hot yoga classes.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: globocity
                                        ratgirlagogo Jan 1, 2014 12:02 PM

                                        I kind of love the idea of the beer growler thermos.

                                      2. k
                                        Kontxesi Dec 31, 2013 05:36 AM

                                        #5 would be PERFECT for my step-dad. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "[redacted] blew up a soda in the freezer again...." At Christmas when I was filling the glasses with ice, CHUNKS OF FROZEN PEPSI came out of the dispenser.

                                        I'm sure it costs way more than I'm willing to spend on him, though.

                                        1. grampart Dec 31, 2013 05:41 AM

                                          The finger tongs have been around for at least 5 years. Folks thought they were pretty dumb then, too.

                                          1. tcamp Dec 31, 2013 07:38 AM

                                            I would buy the laser pizza cutter as a usable gag gift for my spouse and sons, who love pizza. And laser things.

                                            I am also amused by the lonely bowls. I'd never use one but I know plenty of people who eat their cereal while checking their devices. I could buy a dozen and check off gift list for all high school and college age nieces and nephews.

                                            The olive oil roller, I'd probably use for oiling up toast.

                                            1. i
                                              INDIANRIVERFL Dec 31, 2013 08:05 AM

                                              Are any of these "As Seen On TV'? Oh wait, doesn't matter to me, I don't own one!!

                                              Have no desire for any of them.

                                              1. o
                                                OliviaH Dec 31, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                # 10 is for black and tans.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: OliviaH
                                                  tcamp Dec 31, 2013 08:41 AM

                                                  But....I like 'em mixed up.

                                                  1. re: OliviaH
                                                    rainey Jan 1, 2014 12:14 PM

                                                    I was wondering why anyone would like to drink 2 different beers at the same time but admiring it as an object.

                                                    It seemed to me it could be a different and interesting way to do a bicerin. It couldn't taste any different but a good piece of the pleasure is in the visual and this glass would make it easier than trying to float layers one atop the other. Plus, it's just cool.

                                                    Fortunately, the $35 price tag will prevent me -- kitchen toy whore that I am -- from buying any. But I love the name! ;>

                                                  2. Caroline1 Dec 31, 2013 09:26 AM

                                                    I love #10! It's a molecular gastronomy dream come true! Hot and cold drinks out of the same glass, but in this case you don't have to drive yourself nuts doing the pousse cafe layering stuff. Heston Blumenthal, eat your heart out! And where can I order them?

                                                    I'm pretty sure I've seen #6, the OCD laser pizza cutter before.... hmmm... Where could it have been? OH! I remember! Tim Allen had one on TOOL TIME...!!!

                                                    1. C. Hamster Jan 2, 2014 07:19 PM

                                                      My Korean inlaws set their table with just a long soup spoon and chop sticks.

                                                      Theoretically the chop stick straw would make life easier ...

                                                      Doubt they'd go for it, but I might.

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