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10 Silly Kitchen Gadgets (Justified)

9th Sep 2014

For someone who lives in a modest Brooklyn apartment, I collect cooking implements as if I own Martha Stewart’s personal kitchen. Of course I’ve never seen Martha’s digs, but I imagine her cooking nook is as large as my entire abode.

Some of my doodads do elicit appropriate ooohs and aaahs of admiration, but many have been denied the respect that they so rightly deserve. Which is to say, I’ve been mocked mercilessly (often by my own partner) for owning not simply “unnecessary,” but “ridiculous” gadgets. Here are ten maligned items that I will shamelessly defend.

cucumber

Cucumber end saver

Homemade hummus is my go-to snack, and seedless cucumber is my favorite delivery system from bowl to mouth. However, since I rarely eat an entire cuke in one sitting, my options are:

  1. Lose one perfectly good slice every time because the end withers up
  2. Pull out pain-in-the ass cling wrap
  3. Just snap this lovely little clip on and off as needed

I think the correct answer is obvious.

banana

Banana slicer

It’s easy to dismiss this as a silly item when bananas are so easy to cut and knives are the perfect tool for that. However, if you’re looking to put banana on a sandwich or need perfectly identically-sized cuts for food art purposes, this little guy gives you that in one fell slice.

corn

Corn plates

They look like quirky cute yet extraneous items, but these little guys serve two excellent purposes. First, slap the butter onto the plate,  then sprinkle some salt on top of it. Finally, stick the corn holders into the cob and spin. Voila! Evenly coated buttered and salted corn on the cob. Second, said melted butter can’t seep into any of the other food on the dinner plate.

strawberry

Strawberry huller

This was handed to me by a coworker who received it as swag. I’ll admit, I thought it was funny… until the day I was making cheesecake stuffed fried strawberries. Simply digging in at the top and ripping out a perfect cave made the prep process so much easier! Love this little guy!

pepper

Pepper corer

Admittedly, the bell pepper corer isn’t necessary. I actually like cutting the top off with the stem, ripping the guts out and just rinsing the seeds away. Leaves me with that top to nibble on as I chop. The jalepeno corer, however, is the the real gem in the set. The smartest way to seed a jalepeno pepper is to slice it down the center, but if you want cute little discs that aren’t overly mouth-melting, you’ve got to dig into that little guy. Awkward, typically, but not with this.

apple

Apple slicer

Anyone who’s used one knows that the two-in-one time-saving motion of getting rid of the core and getting the entire apple sliced in one push is worth it. Here’s where perhaps I’ve gone overboard: I have three of these in two versions. First I got a standard one for my kitchen. Then I got a second standard one to keep in my desk at work… because slicing an apple at your desk quickly and efficiently is the mark of a productive worker (and it looks a lot less ominous than being the employee with the big knife.) But then I discovered the (drumroll) adjustable version. I can make the apple slices thin or wide! Oh happy day!!!!

orange

Orange peeler

I’m old-school with this one. We had this exact same kind of peeler when I was growing up and, again, I keep one at home and one in my desk drawer at work. I don’t like those newfangled finger ring styles. What’s great about the stick is that on the one end you’ve got the peel piercing slicer, on the other you’ve got the wedge to take the membrane bits off. No orange stains beneath the nails!

garlic

Garlic Zoom

Fresh garlic is a staple in my cooking, and yet, dicing cloves is probably my least favorite thing to do. It’s so time-consuming, the little pieces fly everywhere and, without fail, at some point I will slice into what little fingernail I’ve managed to grow on at least one finger. This, on the other hand, lets you load the peeled cloves in, wander around rolling the wheels in your palm absent-mindedly as you watch TV or the water boil or whatever.

funnel

Collapsible funnel

Point of fact, I’m a klutz (see slicing fingernails above). So allowing me to pour anything from a large opening into a narrow one (like from an economy size olive oil bottle into our lovely stove-side bottle) is asking for disaster. And yet, another point of fact, funnels are among the most awkward items to store… that is, unless they collapse and lie flat. Behold! P.S. Let this serve as a single line item that also represents my collapsible measuring cups, colander, scraper and salad spinner. I’m a sucker for space-savers.

pickle

Condiment fork

At first glance, this is the most difficult to explain. After all, a common eating fork or spoon can just as easily free slippery pickles, olives, etc. from narrow jars. I cite the following as evidence of this item’s worth.

  1. This hangs right on the side of the jar for convenience
  2. The tines leave less of a mark on food, piercing it just enough for a good grip
  3. No drips on the table or in the fridge or wherever.

 

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