Kitchen gadgets I don’t regret
Is there any richer mine of innovation than the kitchen? Is there any more prodigious fount of useless stuff than a kitchen gadget blog?
And why do I have to have it all?
In the spirit of giving, I present some purchases that actually worked out:
I’ve tried everything. Then at the local Cash & Carry I found the Browne-Halco (1777WP) Heavy-Duty Garlic Press. Huge capacity, plenty of leverage, and the self-cleaning works. Yes, it’s bulky, but it just works, and handles almost any recipe in one press. Under $10. (Just don’t put it in the dishwasher. The aluminum turns nasty.)
I used to hate sharpening my knives. I didn’t have the confidence to do it manually (maintaining a perfect angle), and my electric sharpener was heavy and bulky and a pain to get out. So I kept looking for knives that held an edge. My favorite solution was a Kyocera ceramic knife. It stayed sharp, but the fine ceramic edge needed to be protected in a case, and I only used it for delicate slicing.
Then my dad put me on to the inexpensive Forschner (by Victorinox) knives, also at the local Cash & Carry, and Amazon. An 8-inch chef’s knife for $21.99. It’s not heavy, it’s not fancy, and it’s not even forged. But this stamped blade will serve you well for almost everything if you keep it sharp. Which I was too lazy to do until I got a Fiskars Knife Sharpener. No fussy angles, no heavy equipment. Just run the blade though a few times, straight up and down. (I then wipe it with a damp paper towel to remove fine metal dust.) It’s light weight and tiny.
While on my ceramic sharpening kick I found the $6.99 Wüsthof Pocket Sharpener. The small size makes it possible to sharpen the blades on my Swiss Army knife.
Yes, I can juice a lemon by hand. But when I’m facing a whole bag of citrus (fresh limeade!), it’s worth pulling out the Black & Decker CitrusMate Plus. Easy to use, easy to clean, and ingenious right down to the way you can wrap the cord right into the base. At $18, I haven’t regretted it once.
Even after both my parents and my in-laws got a Vita-Mix, I couldn’t understand why anyone would spend $400 on a blender. “It doesn’t matter how great a blender it is, I just don’t blend enough to be worth it.”
Turns out I didn’t blend much because I had a stirrer, not a blender. Once I succumbed and bought the Vita-Mix, everything changed. Expensive, yes. Regrets, none.
I had to get a deal on something at the Linens-N-Things bankruptcy. The super-thin prongs make it easy to spear a pickle, and having the fork on the jar with its own drip-catcher promotes pickles from a “needs utensils and cleanup” snack to an “eat standing at the fridge” snack. A surprisingly important distinction.