Kitchen Gadgets: Useless vs. Useful

It’s easy to be seduced by a new kitchen gadget. It’s also easy to get carried away and end up with kitchen drawers filled with crap you don’t need. We both recently Kondo-ed our respective condos and were ruthless about what stayed and what got tossed (RIP Vegetti spiralizer; you never really worked, but I had high hopes!). As a rule, we stay away from unitaskers, those gadgets that only do one specific thing (and usually not really well). There are some exceptions, but before shelling out for a new tool assess whether it can be used enough to justify the purchase, and valuable drawer real estate.

Useless Crap

Slicers: Egg slicers, banana slicers, avocado slicers, corn slicers...if you can slice it, there’s probably a useless unitasker gadget for it. You know what else can slice things? A knife! The same goes for a strawberry huller...that's a job for a trusty paring knife with a curved tip.

Flour sifter: They make a creepy scraping noise and are impossible to clean. They are also totally unnecessary. A good whisk will get the job done, and a fine mesh strainer can help break up any lumps your flour.

Herb Strippers/Scissors: These useless tools are destined to get lost in the murky depths of your kitchen drawers. Instead of the bulky multi-blade tool, we rely on a good pair of kitchen shears that can tackle anything, and are way easier to clean.

Garlic Press: Hard to clean, and you’ll never miss it. A knife or microplane can get this, and many other jobs done in a snap.

Egg Cooker, Separator, Sheller, Poacher: Eggs should be easy, they don’t need tools of their very own. You know what’s great at separating egg yolks and shelling your hardboileds? Your hands. Just be sure to wash them well after!

Most Silicone Baking Molds: If you grease your loaf pan or use muffin liners, getting your baked goods out of their pans shouldn’t be a huge problem. We’re not sure why silicone has invaded the world of baking, but every time we’ve used them has resulted in disaster. The saddest banana bread that ever existed was one we baked in a silicone loaf mold; we had to use a traditional sheet pan to hold the silicone pan from flopping all over, the heat wasn’t evenly conducted leaving the bottom hard and crunchy, and did not retain its loafy shape. Pans work, just spray them with Baker’s Joy, or butter and flour before filling with batter.

Bread Machine: Your oven is a “bread machine”. The greatest trick the bread machine ever pulled was convincing the world he needed to exist.

Ride or Die Gadgets

Microplane: We’re not brand snobs, but in the world of zesting, you gotta go Micro. Anything can be grated with this tool; citrus, ginger, garlic, cheese, chocolate, even whole spices like nutmeg! It’s takes up a minimal amount of space, but it’s a real workhorse in the kitchen.

Ice Cream Scoop: Despite the name, this tool can tackle more than just Ben & Jerry’s. We use ours for cookie dough, muffin and cupcake batter, meatballs, the list goes on. If you want evenly sized treats, the scoop is the way to go...we like the ones with a mechanical release trigger.

Ball Whisk: Getting batter off the end of a traditional whisk is a real pain, one we never have to suffer through again, thanks to the ball whisk. Easy to clean, easy to use, you will truly be whisked away by this guy!

Citrus Hand Juicer: We had tried a lot of different juicers, but none match up to the Chef’n Fresh Force Juicer. After making tons of fresh lemonade to serve at out last Don’t Ask, Do event, we were reminded of how awesome this tool is. When life gives you lemons, get this juicer.

Vegetable Peeler: Yup, just a simple vegetable can take on most challenges. It's great for shaved veggie salads, cocktail garnishes, chocolate curls, parmesan cheese, and more. And no, you don’t need all the crazy ones that peel into weird shapes...a sturdy, old-school VP always has a spot in our kitchen drawer.

Immersion Blender: We’re still discovering new things to make with this tool. Whipped cream, pesto, soup, raspberry sauce...this tool can do it all without taking up much space in your kitchen cabinet. It can take on a big job like blending up a soup in a pot on the stove, or a small task like chopping up herbs in a measuring cup.

Silpat: It’s reusable and indispensable. Your cookies will never stick to the pan again! But beyond that, the silpat is great for anything sticky. They're great for kneading dough, making cheese crisps, brittles, and more. This sustainable alternative to parchment paper has a permanent place on our sheet pans.


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